This carefully curated tour is designed for passionate birdwatchers looking 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.
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: Latitude 0 Degrees
Nestled alongside Lake Victoria, Mabamba Swamp is a haven for birdwatchers, harbouring the elusive Shoebill and over 300 other bird species. Our leisurely boat trip through the labyrinth of channels will focus on spotting notable birds like the Papyrus Gonolek, Yellow-billed Duck, Common Greenshank, White-winged Warbler, Swamp Flycatcher, African Jacana, Lesser Jacana, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Malachite Kingfisher, and Carruther’s Cisticola.
With a rewarding morning, we’ll transfer to our next destination: Lake Mburo National Park.
Where you will be staying: Rwakobo Rock
Lake Mburo National Park 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.
Where you will be staying: Rwakobo Rock
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, meet these gentle giants in their natural habitat, and see 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 of Albertine Rift endemics, which will be our target.
On our first day, we’ll embark on the Buhoma Trail, which is teeming with Albertine endemics. The following 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.
• An extension for gorilla trekking can be easily arranged. Please get in touch if this is something you’d like to add.
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 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
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.
Among the many species to anticipate are 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 adventure for avid birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Where you will be staying: Mountains of the moon
During this day, we venture deep into the Budongo Forest Reserve in pursuit of some extraordinary forest-dwelling species. Our focus is keenly fixed on seeing three of the reserve’s special forest inhabitants: the African Dwarf Kingfisher, Rufous-crowned Eramomella, and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher.
Where you will be staying: Masindi Hotel
Over the last days of the tour days, we’ll be visiting Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest. The park’s defining feature, the famous Murchison Falls, where the mighty River Nile surges through a narrow gorge, remains an awe-inspiring spectacle. Alongside its remarkable landscapes, the park boasts an abundance of exceptional big game, offering thrilling encounters for wildlife enthusiasts.
For birdwatchers, Murchison Falls National Park is a paradise, hosting a staggering 460 bird species. Among the highlights are the Red-throated Bee-eater, Eurasian Curlew, Black-billed Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Denham’s Bustard, Black-billed Barbet, Southern and Northern Carmine Bee-Eater, Rüppell’s Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Silverbird, Black-billed Wood Dove, Pallid Harrier, Egyptian Plover and Montague’s Harrier, along with many other species.
This park truly encompasses the best of both worlds, making it a fitting finale for this truly spectacular birding tour through Uganda’s natural wonders.
Where you will be staying: Murchison River Lodge
In the morning, we’ll fly back to Entebbe from Murchison Falls National Park. 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 a large count of Albertine endemics, whilst also allowing time to enjoy other localised species and wildlife that each destination offers. For a more concise Albertine endemics tour, please see our 11-Day Albertine Endemics Uganda Birding Tour.
Easy/medium – lots of on-foot birding but nothing overly strenuous. Walking boots and a light rain jacket are essential.
Best time of year to visit:
The best time for birdwatching spans from late May to September, characterised by reduced rainfall and ample food availability. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, 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 supply relatively drier conditions in Semuliki National Park, albeit uncomfortably hot in the north, including Murchison Falls National Park. December and January offer favourable conditions as the north stays moderately cool, with less rain in the south.
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.