Enjoy 14 days Uganda and Rwanda birding safari to identify diversity of world’s most sought for bird species in the two great East African destinations. The long birding tour introduces you to Mabamba wetland for astonishing shoebill watching, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park to sight diverse savanna birds, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park to look out for endemic rift valley birds. Your birding tour starts from Entebbe/Kampala in Uganda and ends in Kigali city in Rwanda.
Day 1: To Mabamba Wetland -shoebill stork watching
Located 50kms away from Kampala, Mabamba Swamp is a rich swamp with birdlife and today, you will identify several of them on a canoe ride with a local guide. The birds of special interest for you to keep an eye include the shoebill stork, Western banded snake eagle, papyrus gonoleks, rufous bellied herons, purple gallinule, white shouldered tit, blue swallow, pallid harrier, etc.
After 2-3 hours of birding in Mabamba Wetland, return and meet your driver guide who will connect you to Budongo Forest. This natural forest lies South-east of Murchison Falls National Park and it can easily be accessed via Kichumbanyobo gate, 4-5 hours’ drive from Kampala. Over 360 bird species reside in Budongo, including residential and migratory birds.
Day 2: Budongo Forest birding
After breakfast, leave your accommodation for long day birding in Budongo Forest to look out for variety of birds including yellow browed camaroptera, African emerald cuckoo, lemon bellied crombec, black headed flycatchers, forest robin, puvels illadopsis, chocolate backed kingfishers, black capped apalis, grey throated, Sabine’s spine tail, graceful Cassin’s spine tail, and others. Return from birding experience, enjoy lunch and drive to the Northern section of Murchison Falls NP.
Day 3: Full day birding tour in Murchison
Set off for a game drive early morning which combines birding via the Northern game tracks of Murchison. This will be 2-4 hours of birding and game viewing, with expected bird sightings of diverse birds such as shoebill stork, the red throated, secretary birds, yellow fronted tinker birds, African jacana and more.
Retreat from birding and have lunch, then join a 2:00pm-5:00pm boat cruise to enjoy not only sight of crocodiles, hippos but also diversity of aquatic birds such as giant heron, malachite kingfishers, pied kingfishers, weaver birds, sunbirds, bee-eaters, etc.
Day 4: Birding trip to Kibale via Fort Portal
An early morning breakfast, followed by check out and you drive to Kibale your next birding destination which is found in Western Uganda. More than 375 bird species call Kibale a home, inclusive of the green breasted pitta, Cassin’s spine tail, Nahan’s francolin, grey parrot, crowned eagle, blue headed bee-eaters, blue breasted kingfishers, black eared ground thrush, red chested owlet, scaly breasted illadopsis, Rwenzori apalis, red faced woodland warblers, masked apalis, purple breasted sunbird, brown chested alethe, white napped pigeon, yellow rumped tinkerbird, etc.
Day 5: Kibale birding
Meet your bird guide for briefing about your birding expedition and then set off for a search for the rare African green breasted pitta plus other birds that live in Kibale National Park. Other birds in Kibale include African shrike flycatchers, blue shouldered robin chat, black crowned tchagra, little greenbul,
African pied wagtail, African emerald cuckoo, black billed weaver, Ash flycatchers, Cameroon sombre greenbul, papyrus gonoleks, African green pigeon, Chubb’s cisticola, collared apalis, dusky crimson wing, Nahan’s francolins and many more. Next birding expedition will be in Bigodi Swamp a renowned spot for watching the Great Blue turacos.
Day 6: Birding tour Queen Elizabeth NP
A hefty breakfast, after transfer to the next birding location- Queen Elizabeth National Park a 1978sq.kms park and a home to all 620 birds, inclusive of residential and migratory birds. Queen Elizabeth National Park is a special birding spot in Uganda to see shoebill storks, pelicans, flamingos and others.
Day 7: Queen Elizabeth birding
Drive through the Kasenyi track in a 4x4 safari vehicle with a guide and expect to sight a range of birds including bateleur, Ruppel’s griffon vulture, palm nut vulture, brown snake eagle, African white backed vultures, long created eagle, lappet faced vulture, grey kestrel, red throated spur fowls, grey crown cranes, yellow throated long crow.
A boat cruise along Kazinga channel in the afternoon begins at 2:00pm and it combines watching aquatic animals like hippos, crocodiles and birds. Aquatic birdlife to expect sighting on Kazinga channel launch cruise include saddle bill stork, yellow billed stork, black crake, great and long tailed cormorants, pink backed pelicans, jacanas, shoebill stork, etc.
Day 8: Ishasha tree climbing lion watching & drive to Bwindi
Ishasha sector in the Southern Queen Elizabeth National Park offers magical encounter of tree climbing lions, plus diverse birds. The birds that reside in Ishasha include lappet faced vulture, palm nut vulture, brown snake eagle, African white backed vulture and others. Continue with a game drive as you sight topis, impalas, elephants, buffaloes while you exit Queen Elizabeth NP for Bwindi.
Day 9: Birding in Ruhija
After breakfast, you will embark on a long day birding tour in Mubwindi- Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park. This sector is blessed with a range of birds including the ross’s turacos, African wood owl, helmeted guinea fowl, blue spotted wood dove, Jameson’s antpecker, African pygmy kingfishers, African olive pigeon, petit’s cuckoo shrike, white throated greenbul, regal sunbird, buff-spotted woodpecker, African olive pigeon,
Trogon, mountain wagtail, cape wagtail, dusky turtle dove, black bee-eater, brown capped weaver, purple breasted sunbird, African hawk eagle, peregrine falcon, western green tinker bird and others.
Day 10: Buhoma birding
Enjoy an early breakfast, after leave with guide for birding tour along Buhoma trail to see birds, such as barred long tailed cuckoo pink foot puff back, Wallers’s starling, crested guinea fowl, etc. In the evening, you may visit the local community of Batwa pygmies (optional).
Day 11: Bwindi to Volcanoes NP birding tour
Enjoy a hefty breakfast and after, drive to Rwanda via Katuna or Chanika to Volcanoes National Park your next birding location. About 200 bird species exist in this Rwanda safari park and they include Ruwenzori double collared sunbird, Rwenzori batis, lesser guide, grey backed fiscal, lagden’s bush shrike, etc.
Day 12: Birding in Volcanoes NP Ruhengeri & Lake Kivu
Have breakfast, meet park guide at Kinigi for briefing about your birding tour and after, leave early for actual bird sighting. Bird sightings in Volcanoes NP include bronzy sunbird, palm nut vulture, grey backed fiscal, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, weaver birds, bateleur, lesser honey guide, bat hawk, archer’s robin chat, nirana trogon, etc.
In the afternoon, return and check out of the lodge and meet the driver for transfer to Lake Kivu. Arrive early at Lake Kivu, relax then embark on a boat ride to one of the islands while enjoying the beautiful water and birds to sight are diverse especially Albertine rift endemic species and others including ruaha chat, yellow bellied waxbill, double toothed barbet and more.
Day 13: Lake Kivu to Nyungwe Forest NP
A cup of tea or coffee, after, leave Lake Kivu for Nyungwe Forest National Park in the Southern province of Rwanda. Nyungwe is where 310 bird species live, inclusive of Albertine rift endemic birds and species not found anywhere else in the eastern Albertine rift.
Enjoy a birding tour in Nyungwe a lush rainforest with important birds such as Rockefeller’s sunbird, red collared babblers, archer’s robin, buff-throated apalis, Albertine owlet, grauer’s swamp warblers, dusky crimson wing, Ruwenzori nightjars, Ruwenzori turacos, red throated alethe, handsome francolins, Shelley’s crimson wings, red collared babblers, Neumann’s warblers, Kivu ground thrush and more.
Day 14: Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Kigali via Butare with lunch en-route and you proceed to Kigali capital. Drop off at the hotel or direct to Kigali Airport for departure – marking the end of 14 Uganda and Rwanda birding safari.