This tour has been designed for people wanting to see and photograph Uganda’s most cherished and famous wildlife – birds, gorillas and chimpanzees.
At the tour’s outset, you’ll fly straight to Kibale National Park in Western Uganda. Here, you’ll witness chimpanzees in their natural habitat and marvel at the diverse birdlife. Next, a visit to the renowned Queen Elizabeth National Park awaits, renowned for its extensive wildlife and a staggering 600 bird species. Our tour then continues to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, offering an intimate encounter with endangered mountain gorillas and birding for Albertine endemics. The return trip to Entebbe includes a stop at Lake Mburo National Park, which boasts exceptional birdwatching and great photo opportunities.
*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 Kampala, 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, you’ll take to the skies on a scheduled flight to Kibale National Park, where you’ll be met by our lead bird guide who will take out birding to get a first glimpse of this magnificent park.
Kibale is renowned for its chimpanzee population, housing not only these fascinating creatures but also hosting an additional 12 species of primates. Moreover, the park boasts an impressive array of biodiversity, comprising 70 mammal species and over 375 bird species. Encompassing an area of 795 km2 this park showcases one of Uganda’s most diverse tropical forest landscapes. Its terrain spans forests, grasslands, and swamps across an elevated plateau that ascends to 1,590m. As it descends to the floor of the rift valley at 1,100m, the landscape undergoes a dramatic transition, alternating between woodland and expansive savannah plains.
The next morning, you’ll spend an indelible hour observing and capturing their daily activities—feeding, playing, grooming, nurturing their young, and expressing themselves through vocalizations—in their natural environment. It will be a beautiful experience and certainly a highlight of this trip.
Where you will be staying: Primate Lodge
Our next destination is a drive to the incredible, Queen Elizabeth National Park. Queen Elizabeth is arguably Uganda’s best game viewing park, with diverse landscapes, from expansive savannahs to lush wetlands and dense forests. Home to iconic African wildlife such as elephants, lions, leopards, and buffalo, it provides thrilling game drives.
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.
By spending two immersive days slowly traversing this vast wilderness, we’ll soak in every aspect of its unparalleled beauty.
Where you will be staying: Myeya Lodge
For the next leg of the trip, we’ll be driving to the rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Where on arrival, we’ll venture out into the park for some exceptional birding.
Bwindi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwestern Uganda and 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. Beyond its renowned gorilla trekking experiences, Bwindi’s rainforests teem with rich species diversity, hosting over 350 bird species, including large numbers of Albertine Rift endemics, which will be our target.
On our seventh day, we’ll get the opportunity to see mountain gorillas. Although the immense size of the silverbacks might be overwhelming, these 400-pound creatures are accommodating to human presence in their family. The guides might even teach you a few words in ‘Gorilla’ so you can greet them and show that you are, in fact, friendly! The day of the trek usually begins with an early start at your hotel and then a drive to park headquarters. Here, park officials assign you to a gorilla family and you meet your gorilla guides. After being briefed on protocols, you head over to the specific starting point, where teams of porters are available for hire. The trek itself can vary in duration and difficulty, as it depends on the location of the gorilla group, but it typically involves hiking through dense undergrowth, traversing steep terrain, and crossing streams. However, the effort is well worth it when you come face-to-face with these majestic creatures. Once you locate a gorilla family, you’ll be allowed to spend a precious hour in their presence, observing their natural behaviours, and interactions, and perhaps even witnessing the nurturing of young gorillas.
On our eighth day, we’ll embark on the Buhoma Trail, which is teeming with Albertine endemics. On the following and final day, we will venture along the Ruhija Trail and visit Mubwindi Swamp. These trails not only offer an immersive experience but also provide many opportunities to spot our target species.
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, Mountain 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.
The next morning, we’ll drive east for a final stop at Lake Mburo National Park for some excellent birding and photography opportunities.
Lake Mburo sprawls across 370 square kilometres in western Uganda, boasting diverse habitats that support an impressive array of wildlife and birdlife. Home to over 350 bird species, notable sightings include the White-backed Night- Heron, African Finfoot, African Darter, Northern Brown-Throated Weaver, Purple Heron, Palm-nut Vulture, Black Crake, Knobbed-billed Duck, Red-faced Barbet, Black-collared Barbet, Crested Barbet, Abyssinian Ground-hornbill, among others.
A highlight will be a boat ride on Lake Mburo, where we’ll see African Fish Eagles in their element, highlighting their hunting prowess against the stunning backdrop of the lake.
On our eleventh and final day, we’ll drive to after lunch Entebbe, where you’ll get to rest before your flight back home the next day.
Slow – this tour was designed to travel at a slower pace to allow time for quality photographs.
Easy/medium – lots of on-foot birding but nothing overly strenuous. Gorilla tracking can be tough, so a good level of fitness is required. Walking boots and a light rain jacket are essential.
Price above 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:
The best times to explore Uganda fall within its two dry seasons: from December to February and from June to August. These periods offer ideal conditions for trekking to observe mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in their natural habitats.
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:
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.