From migratory birds, endemic, near endemic, forest, savanna, aquatic to coastal birds, the 35 days East Africa birding safari is truly a complete birding adventure. Explore key and Important Bird Areas in Uganda (with bird species record of 1080), Rwanda (700 bird species), Kenya (over 1000 bird species) and Tanzania (1156 bird species). Enjoy great bird sightings, including flamingos, kingfishers, ostriches, pelicans, turacos, cuckoos, finfoots and more.
Day 1: Arrival & relax at the hotel, Nairobi city
Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, meet your driver guide who will introduce himself and brief you about the birding adventure in East Africa for 35 days. Transfer to the hotel in Nairobi for relaxation, refreshment and wait to drive to your first birding destination the following day.
Day 2: Lake Nakuru NP birding
Start your birding expedition from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park, 88kms drive journey with stopover to be made at Thomson Falls and also enjoy amazing rift valley views. The Park is found in the Eastern rift valley area, and its eco-system is truly endowed with over 500 bird species. By mid-morning, you will be at Lake Nakuru for a short game drive through the park to identify lots of birds and wildlife.
Birding in Lake Nakuru NP involves sighting birds such as bateleur, white backed vulture, lappet faced vultures, lesser flamingos, Abyssinian thrush, gray crowned cranes, crowned eagle, sooty falcons, greater spotted eagle, white headed vultures, black tailed godwit, ducks, etc.
Day 3: Lake Naivasha -Birding
Over 400 bird species reside within Lake Naivasha and on birding expedition, the birds to come across include kingfishers, African fish eagles, pelicans, great cormorants, red billed ducks, Northern pintail, Maccoa duck, Egyptian goose, coqui francolin, helmeted guineafowl, red chested cuckoo, white browed coucal and more.
Day 4: Masai Mara birding
Visit the Masai Mara National Reserve, a popular wildebeest migration destination and also an outstanding birding paradise. Over 500 bird species live in the Maasai Mara with likely birds to sight include ostriches, Kori bustards, secretary bird, grey heron, great white egret, rufous bellied herons, pygmy kingfishers, ross’s turacos, giant kingfishers, Schawlow’s turacos, etc.
Day 5-6: Birding & game sighting -Maasai Mara
Two special days are set for you to have the most of Maasai Mara National Reserve birding adventure. Explore a huge number of birds which total up to 500 and reside in Maasai Mara including ostriches, giant kingfishers, Kori bustards, great white egrets, giant kingfishers, rufous bellied heron, secretary bird and others.
Day 7 -To Serengeti National Park
Today, you will transfer to Serengeti National Park Tanzania’s premier safari destination with more than 500 birds. The birds of interest in Serengeti include African fish eagle, Kori bustards, white faced whistling duck, grey crested helmet shrike, rufous tailed weaver bird, grey throated spurfowl, red throated tit, etc. Arrive early for lunch and have an afternoon birding expedition inclusive of animal viewing.
Day 8: Full day birding in Serengeti
Leave the lodge with packed lunch and set off for a whole day birding safari in Serengeti National Park, Northern Tanzania. Enjoy great sight of savanna birds, migratory, resident and endemic to near endemic birds. A picnic lunch be enjoyed at savanna grassland and you continue with bird sighting as you head back to the lodge.
Day 9: Ngorongoro Crater/Conservation Area
After breakfast, expect to check out and be driven to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Crater Lake. A huge concentration of both birds and animals will be at your display on birding expedition in this Protected Area.
Day 10: Entire day enjoying bird watching
Have breakfast, after start your Ngorongoro Crater birding adventure with expected bird sightings such as European swallow, European roller, lesser kestrel, Northern wheatear, Caspian lapwing, sandy grounds nestling bird, pigeons, eagles, bee-eaters, secretary birds and more.
Day 11: Lake Manyara National Park, afternoon game drive with birding
Transfer to Lake Manyara National Park your next birding spot in Tanzania. The park hosts about 400 bird species, most of which will be spotted during the afternoon game drive. The birds of Lake Manyara NP include pelicans, pink hued flamingos, cormorants, storks, etc.
Day 12: To Tarangire National Park birding
Leave Lake Manyara NP with exiting game drive inclusive of bird sightings and drive to Tarangire National Park. Arrive early at Tarangire and set off for an afternoon game drive to see not only the big game but diverse bird species. Tarangire hosts over 500 bird species, including the Northern pied babblers, yellow collared lovebird, vulturine guineafowl, yellow collared lovebird, Mouse colored penduline, great white pelicans, bare faced go-away bird, African grey flycatcher, etc.
Day 13: Tanzania -Entebbe, Uganda
Drive to Kilimanjaro airport with exiting guided game drive and be dropped at the airport early. From JRO to EBB, a few hours’ flight and spend a night in a hotel in Entebbe or Kampala.
Day 14: To Mabamba Wetland -Budongo
Mabamba Wetland/Swamp is one of the to wetlands and also important bird areas in Uganda. Your visit to wetland will be to look for shoebill storks, plus many other birds – about 300 bird species reside here. Others include papyrus gonoleks, Northern brown throated weather, blue cheeked bee-eaters, wood sandpiper, white faced whistling duck, pin tailed whydah, woodland kingfishers, black winged stilt and more. After the shoebill expedition, return and meet your driver for transfer to Budongo Forest.
Day 15: Birding in Budongo Forest -travel to Northern section
For astonishing forest bird sightings, today you will be covered with birding tour in Budongo Forest. Over 360 bird species exist here with key interest in yellow footed flycatchers, Puvel’s illadopsis, Cassin’s spinetail, Brown twin spot, lemon bellied crombec, plain greenbul, Sabine’s spine tail and more.
Day 16: To Murchison Falls National Park-birding
Early rise for breakfast, after, leave in a 4x4 safari vehicle to Murchison Falls via Kampala-Gulu highway, grab some pineapples at Luweero. Branch off to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for rhino tracking and also bird watching to sight birds such as African crowned eagles, African black crake, Abdim’s stork, African broadbill, black headed oriole, etc.
Day 17: Full day birding adventure- Murchison Falls NP
An early breakfast, followed by morning game drive and birding via the Northern section of Murchison Falls National Park. This is the largest of the 10 parks in Uganda and hosts about 451 bird species including shoebill storks. Animal sightings will include buffaloes, hartebeests, lions, leopards, elephants, etc. The afternoon boat cruse to the base of Murchison Falls comes with sightings of malachite kingfishers, African fish eagle, yellow billed stork and basking crocodiles, plus hippos.
Day 18: To Kibale -birding
Following the morning breakfast, leave Murchison Falls National Park 7-8 hours’ drive using your 4x4 drive vehicle. Break off for lunch upon arrival at Fort Portal tourism city and make final drive to Kibale National Park to check in at the lodge.
Day 19: Birding -Kibale N/Park
375 bird species call Kibale National Park their home and today, early morning search will be targeting the green breasted pitta. Other birds to come across during your morning birding in Kibale include blue headed bee-eaters, Cassin’s spinetail, papyrus gonoleks, zebra waxbill, African emerald cuckoo, African shrike flycatchers, yellow rumped tinker bird, ash flycatcher, Africa dusky flycatcher, black crowned tchagra, etc.
After lunch, birding tour continues at Bigodi Wetland 4kms from Kibale where 138 bird species reside including the Great Blue turacos.
Day 20: To Queen Elizabeth National Park -Birding
Leave Kibale for Queen Elizabeth NP in Kasese your next birding spot with over 620 bird species. Check in at the lodge for relaxation and early lunch, then you will opt for an afternoon game drive combined with bird sighting or spend the rest of today’s evening at the lodge relaxing.
Day 21: Full day in Queen Elizabeth
Early morning breakfast, followed by a birding journey in a 4x4 safari vehicle heading via Kasenyi Plains. The birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park include migratory birds often spotted in November and April. Others include collared Pratincole, shoebill, palm nut vulture, Pel’s fishing owl, swamp flycatchers, papyrus gonoleks, spotted redshank, white winged tern, yellow bellied wattle eye, crab plover, broad billed rollers, African skimmers and more. The afternoon in Queen Elizabeth NP will include a boat cruise on Kazinga channel to enjoy sightings of aquatic birds.
Day 21: Ishasha to Bwindi
After breakfast, transfer to Ishasha in the Southern sector, also a rich spot with interesting birds. At the Ishasha swamp, shoebill storks can be spotted plus other birds and in addition, there are tree climbing lions at your exposure, watch them and enjoy a bush lunch before proceeding to Bwindi.
Day 22: Birding in Buhoma
Wake up early and proceed to Buhoma trailhead to meet bird guide in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Buhoma sector in the Northern Bwindi boasts of its enormous bird species including the grey crowned cranes, Ameson’s antpecker, Waller’s starling, white headed, pink footed puff back, barred long tailed cuckoo, etc. Return for evening relaxation or visit the Batwa pygmies in the adjacent community.
Day 23: Birding in Ruhija
Have breakfast, after you will be exploring Ruhija birds. This is the Eastern region of Bwindi and it is endowed with birds such as African shrike flycatchers, cinnamon bee-eaters, African pygmy kingfisher, dwarf honeyguide, double toothed barbet, ross’s turacos, helmeted guinea fowl, purple breasted sunbird, Kivu ground thrush, etc.
Day 24: Lake Bunyonyi
Rise up for an early breakfast, after you will be heading to Lake Bunyonyi. Explore Lake Bunyonyi -the 3rd deepest Lake in Africa with 29 islands and numerous birds including African kingfishers, African harrier hawk, slender billed baglafetch, grey crowned cranes, white tailed monad and cuckoos. A boat ride to any of the island will be enjoyed in the morning and relaxation in the evening.
Day 25: Lake Bunyonyi to Mgahinga
Leave Lake Bunyonyi to the next birding destination -Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Kisoro. This protects Albertine rift endemic birds and residents, including Kivu ground thrush, black kite, white necked raven, paradise flycatcher, fire finch stonechat, paradise flycatchers, archer’s robin chat, dusky crimson wing, yellow vented bulbul, grey capped warbler, speckled mouse bird, Rwenzori turacos, Ruwenzori batis, etc.
Day 26: Birding -Mgahinga
Enjoy birding in Mgahinga National Park 33.7sq.kms park with amazing birds to keep you excited. The bird surprises to expect here today include olive pigeon, blue headed coucal, archer’s robin chat, fire finch stonechat, speckled mouse birds, olive woodpeckers, Kivu ground thrush, etc.
Day 27: Transfer to Volcanoes NP
Travel to Volcanoes National Park located in Northwestern Rwanda, a short drive via Chanika border. Over 200 bird species reside within Volcanoes National Park Ruhengeri, inclusive of 17 endemic species to Albertine rift. These include grey chested kakamega, Rwenzori turacos, bronzy sunbird, strange weaver bird, grey headed bush shrike, lagden’s bush shrike, crested barbet, Rwenzori batis, archer’s robin chat, olive bellied, Kivu ground thrush, etc.
Day 28: Birding -Volcanoes NP
Rise up for breakfast, after leave for birding in Volcanoes NP a home to 200 bird species. Expect to encounter birds such as Kivu ground thrush, red chested sunbird, lesser honeyguide, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, black cuckoo shrike, bat hawk, strange weaver, Rwenzori turacos and more.
Day 29: Volcanoes NP to Nyungwe with view of Lake Kivu
After breakfast, check out of lodge and drive to Nyungwe Forest National Park with en-route view of Lake Kivu. Nyungwe lies in the Southern Province, a home to 310 bird species including Kivu ground thrush, short tailed warblers, grauer’s swamp warblers, grey crested Kakamega, regal birds, Doherty bush shrikes, Rwenzori turacos, Congo Bay owlet, red collared mountain babblers, etc.
Day 30: Birding in Nyungwe Forest
Wake up to enjoy breakfast, after embark on any of trails for birding tour in Nyungwe for instance Gisakura trail. This trail is best to sight mountain masked apalis, Kivu ground thrush, regal sunbirds, short tailed warblers and more.
Day 31: 2nd Birding
Explore the different trail in Nyungwe to enjoy more bird sightings. After, walk back for relaxation, lunch and in the afternoon, go canopy walk to see birds, primates and scenic forest canopy of Nyungwe.
Day 32: Nyungwe to Akagera
Enjoy an early breakfast, after leave for a long road trip connecting from the Southern Province to Eastern side. This is expected to take 7-8 hours, enjoy lunch en-route and access the park early for evening relaxation.
Day 33: Full day in Akagera -Birding
Birding in Akagera National Park starts early morning via the savanna landscape as you look out for numerous birds. A record of 500 bird species are in Akagera and they include Senegal lapwing, papyrus gonoleks, giant kingfisher, African darters, African wattled plover, shoebill and more. A boat cruise will be on Lake Ihema a great birding spot of Akagera with aquatic birds.
Day 34: Akagera-Kigali, city tour
After check out of the lodge, meet your driver for transfer back to Kigali. From Kigali, you will have a city tour and if you have always wished to explore about the 1994 Rwanda genocide -what to led to it, it is today when you will find out on a visit at Kigali genocide site. In addition, visit the local markets and for lovers of fresh fruits, it will be your day then go relax at the lodge.
Day 35: Departure
Wake up to be offered a delicious breakfast, after you will be heading to Kigali airport where you will fly back home. This marks the end of the long 35 days East Africa birding safari- Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya & Tanzania.