This carefully curated tour is designed for passionate birdwatchers seeking to explore Uganda’s diverse bird species, notably the sought-after Albertine endemics, within a limited duration. You will visit top birding and wildlife spots across Uganda, encapsulating the essence of the ‘Pearl of Africa’. From the tranquil shores of Lake Victoria to the captivating Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda, each destination has been chosen to highlight the country’s abundant biodiversity and avian diversity. Anticipate a staggering count of bird species, along with many prized Albertine endemics.
*This tour can be organised as a private, tailor-made tour. Alternatively, please refer below for our scheduled group tour dates and associated costs.
On arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, a Sustainable Birding representative will meet you at arrivals and do a quick meet and greet, before transferring you to your hotel in Entebbe, so you can relax and get some sleep ready for a great birding adventure ahead.
Where you will be staying: Hotel No. 5
In the morning, we catch a scheduled domestic flight bound for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Upon arrival, we’ll settle into the lodge before starting our search for the distinctive Albertine endemics, unique to this magnificent park. Once prepared, we’ll delve into the park’s lush landscapes to uncover these special bird species, immersing ourselves in the rich biodiversity that defines this remarkable region.
Mgahinga was established to safeguard the critically endangered mountain gorilla, and lies amidst the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests and the Virunga Volcanoes, making it a prime location to see Albertine endemic species. Expect sightings of the Rwenzori Turaco, Dwarf Honeyguide, Kivu Ground Thrush, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Archer’s Robin-chat, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler, and the highly sought-after Shelley’s Crimsonwing, among others!
We’ll be spending maximum time here to guarantee our target species. Prepare for an unforgettable birding experience in this enchanting and magical park.
Where you will be staying: Mount Gahinga Lodge
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwestern Uganda, stands as a sanctuary for one of the most iconic and endangered species on earth – the mountain gorilla. Spanning over 300 square kilometres of dense forests and steep terrain, this biodiverse park holds roughly half of the world’s surviving mountain gorilla population. The park offers a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the lush greenery, encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat, and witness the conservation efforts dedicated to protecting these magnificent creatures and their fragile ecosystems.
Beyond its renowned gorilla trekking experiences, Bwindi’s rainforests teem with rich species diversity, hosting over 350 bird species, including large numbers Albertine Rift endemics, which will be our target.
Over the first two days, we’ll venture onto the Buhoma Trail, which is teeming with Albertine endemics. The next two days, we will traverse slowly along the Ruhija Trail and visit Mubwindi Swamp. These trails not only offer an immersive experience but also provide ample opportunities to spot our target species – a highlight of the trip, with many Albertine endemics added to our list.
Highlight species: Regal Sunbird, Gravers Broadbill, Kivu Ground Thrush Handsome Francolin, Ruwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Nightjar, Stripe-breasted Tit, Black Bee-eater, Grauer’s Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Mountane Masked Apalis, Collared Apalis, Grauer’s, Swamp Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Neumann’s Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Archer’s Robin-chat, Blue-headed Sunbird and Dwarf Honeyguide to name a few.
• An extension for gorilla trekking can be easily arranged. Please get in touch if this is something you’d like to add.
On the eighth day of our journey, we’ll transfer to Semuliki National Park, making an intriguing stopover in Ishasha within Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ishasha is renowned for its population of tree-climbing lions, an enigmatic behaviour that continues to puzzle researchers. Witnessing this unique phenomenon is truly fascinating as the reasons behind this behaviour remain a mystery. Only two lion populations worldwide exhibit this behaviour, making it an exceptional sight worth experiencing.
Moreover, its equatorial position fosters a rich bird population, boasting over a staggering 600 species, with a notable species such as Grey-backed Fiscal, Red-winged Pytilia, Short-tailed Eagle, Red-capped Lark, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Pin-tailed Whydah, Saddle-billed Stork, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Swamp Nightjar, Blue-napped Mousebird, Grey-Headed Kingfisher, Pygmy Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Red-chested Sunbird being a highlight.
Where you will be staying: Rwakobo Rock
Our next stop will take you deep into Semuliki National Park, revered as ‘The True Birders’ Haven’ within Africa’s last lowland tropical rainforest. With a staggering 441 recorded bird species, the park offers an exceptional opportunity to encounter species that cross over from the Congo and Virunga, Africa’s first national park known for its exceptional biodiversity and housing critically endangered mountain gorillas.
Of course, Albertine endemics will be our target along with many other regional species. Notably the Black-Casqued Wattled, Piping, and Red-billed Dwarf Hornbills, White-crested Hornbill, Nkulengu Rail, Blue Swallow, White-throated Blue Swallow, and an array of other captivating birds like the Swamp Palm Bulbul, Spotted Greenbul, and Abyssinian Ground Thrush, making this a thrilling destination for avid birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Where you will be staying: Mountains of the moon
In the morning, we’ll fly back to Entebbe from Semuliki. From there, you’ll have the opportunity to catch your international flight home, marking the end of this remarkable birding tour through Uganda.
Slow/medium – this tour was designed to gain an extensive count of Albertine endemics. By flying in and out to the Western range, it allows us to spend more time at each location.
Easy/medium – lots of on-foot birding but nothing overly strenuous. Walking boots and a light rain jacket are essential.
Above price based on a group of 6. Please get in touch if you would like us to make this a private tailor-made tour.
We would require a 25% deposit needed to secure a place on this tour.
Best time of year to visit:
At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Semuliki National Park, crucial for the Albertine Rift endemics, the nesting season peaks in May and June. Yet, from mid-April to mid-May, heavy rains may disrupt activities. February and early March provide relatively drier conditions in Semuliki National Park, albeit uncomfortably hot in the north. December and January offer favourable conditions as the north remains moderately cool, with less rain in the south.
At Sustainable Birding, our goal is to ensure that every birding holiday we create contributes positively to bird conservation efforts and local communities. Our determination to promote sustainable travel led us to become founding members of Tourism Declares Climate Emergency. As part of this commitment, we have established the world’s pioneering carbon scoring and offsetting framework for tailor-made holidays. Feel free to request us to carbon score your individual trip!
Bird species highlights:
This tour has been designed for people wanting to see and photograph Uganda’s most cherished and famous wildlife – birds, gorillas and chimpanzees.
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.