Birding through Uganda (22 days)
Our 22-day trip brings you the best of the birdlife in Uganda.
Uganda has a variety of landscapes and over 1000 bird species! This trip brings you to the most important birding sites in Uganda. Habitats to be seen: Forest, Lowland jungle, Swamps, Canals and Lakes, Mountains and Savannahs.
Expect to see over 400 bird species and also the large animals of the savannahs (lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, leopard) and up to 16 primate species, including gorillas and chimps!!!
Birding sites to be seen: Mabamba Swamp, Entebbe Botanical Gardens, Mabira Forest, The Nile in Jinja, Kaniyo Pabidi (Budongo Forest), Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Bigodi Swamps, Semuliki National Park, Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kazinga Channel, Bwindi National Park, Mubwindi Swamp, Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mburo National Park.
- See the Shoebill Stork in Mabamba Swamp, Semliki Wildlife Reserve or Murchison Falls National Park
- Game drives (safaris) on the savannahs of Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park, with chances of seeing the birds and wildlife from close quarters
- Boattrip on the Nile to the Murchison Falls, where the Nile is forced through a gorge and drops 60 meters. The boat is the perfect platform to make photos of the birds.
- Spectacular bird and wildlife viewing from the boat on the Nile where it reaches the delta into Lake Albert
- See the chimpanzees and 12 other monkey species in Kibale Forest
- See the unique Bigodi Swamps with spectacular birdlife
- Experience the spectacular hot springs and birds in Semuliki National Park. This is the only Lowland jungle in East Africa!
- Boattrip on the Kazinga Channel with the biggest concentration of hippos and spectacular birds
- Meet the Mountain Gorillas and endemic birds in Bwindi National Park
- Enjoy the silence and beautiful landscape in Uganda’s most beautiful lake, Lake Bunyonyi
Day to day program
Arrive at Entebbe airport. Your guide will be there waiting for you. Pick up and proceed to your accommodation.
Entebbe - Mabamba - Entebbe
Early breakfast and transfer to Mabamba Swamp, a large and accessible wetland on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the best places to see the Shoebill Stork. In the afternoon we visit the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe to see many beautiful bird species.
Entebbe - Mabira Forest - Jinja - Kampala
Transfer to Mabira Forest, 65km east of Kampala. We spend the rest of the day birding in the Mabira forest, pausing for lunch at Jinja and visiting the source of the Nile. Transfer to Kampala afterwards.
Kampala - Murchison Falls National Park
Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park. Birding in Kaniyo Pabidi (Budongo Forest) in the afternoon. Afterwards we proceed to Murchison falls and spend the night on the shores of the Nile.
Murchison Falls is one of the most beautiful national parks of Uganda. One of the main attractions is the Nile, with the spectacular Murchison Falls, where the whole Nile is forced through a narrow gorge and falls 60 meters. Expect to see elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and maybe leopards.
Murchison Falls National Park
Early game drive in the morning to see the large animals of Africa and also for birding. In the afternoon we make a boat trip on the Victoria Nile up to the bottom of the falls. The boat is an ideal platform to make photos of the birds.
Murchison Falls National Park
Early morning adventure on the Nile on a private boat trip to the delta. Game drive in the afternoon or visit the top of the Falls.
Murchison Falls National Park- Hoima
Early transfer to Budongo forest. Birding through the jungle. In the afternoon we drive to Hoima Town were we spend the night. Budongo Forest is also home of many butterflies and chimpanzees.
Hoima - Kibale Forest
After breakfast we drive to Kibale Forest. You can make a walk through the forest around the lodge in the afternoon. It is also possible to make a night walk through the forest to see the animals of the night, like bush babies (both activities optional).
Kibale Forest is a spectacular jungle, with 13 primate species! Including chimps, baboons, black and white colobus, red colobus, grey cheeked mangabey and L'Hoest monkey.
Chimpanzee tracking in the morning or in the afternoon. Birding in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. It is also possible to visit the local people or the crater lakes (optional).
Kibale Forest - Semuliki National Park
Transfer to Semuliki National Park. Visit the Sempaya Hot Springs and make a walk through the jungle for birding.
Semuliki is a unique place and the only lowland jungle in East Africa, part of the Congo eco system.
Semuliki National Park - Semliki Wildlife Reserve - Fort Portal
Transfer to Semuliki Wildlife Reserve for a Boat trip on Lake Albert. Transfer to Fort Portal afterwards.
Semuliki is an interesting area, partly forested and partly savannah. The shores of Lake Albert are well known to see the Shoebill Stork.
Fort Portal - Queen Elizabeth National Park
Transfer to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. On our way we pass the equator where we will make a stop. Game drive for birding or optional guided walk on the Mweya Peninsula in the afternoon.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places in Uganda to see lions. Expect to see elephants, lions, many hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and maybe leopards.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drive in the morning, boat trip on the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon. The boat is an ideal platform to make photos of the birds.
The Kazinga Channel is one of the highlights of Uganda and has the highest concentration of hippos in the world.
Queen Elizabeth National Park - Bwindi Impenetrable
Birding through the park, leading to Maramagambo Forest. Transfer to Buhoma, Bwindi, in the afternoon.
Bwindi Impenetrable is a unique jungle, with many monkey species. Bwindi is one of the 2 places in the world where you can find Mountain Gorillas!
Birding through the Neck area of Bwindi. It is also possible to do a gorilla tracking (optional).
Transfer to Ruhija. Birding in this unique area, with a lot of Albertine endemics.
Bwindi Impenetrable - Lake Bunyonyi
Birding in Mubwindi Swamp and after transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, the deepest and most beautiful lake of Uganda. We sleep on one of the beautiful islands. Possible activities: make a nature walk, go for a birding walk, go for canoeing, take a swim or visit the local community (all activities optional).
Birding on the island and along the lake shores. Optional boat trip on the lake.
Lake Bunyonyi - Lake Mburo National Park
After breakfast we drive to Lake Mburo. Boat trip for birding on the lake in the afternoon. It is possible to do a night game drive with high chances of seeing leopards and nocturnal birds (optional activity).
Lake Mburo is one of the 2 national parks with zebras and the only national park with impalas in Uganda. There are no elephants and lions, so walking safaris are possible.
Legend: BB = Bed and Breakfast / HB = Half Board / FB = Full Board
Prices per person, in USD, based on double/twin sharing
|Based on private group of 6 persons||3.745|
|Based on private group of 4-5 persons||4.235|
|Based on private group of 2-3 persons||5.450|
|Gorilla Tracking||Low Season
|Gorilla Permit per person||450||600|
|Single room Supplement||625|
|Upgrade to Full Board per person per day||30|
- Some lodges may ask for seasonal surcharges for the Easter and Christmas Holidays
- Airport transfers
- Accommodations with meals mentioned
- Bottled drinking water
- 4x4 custom built safari vehicle with knowledgeable driver/guide and fuel
- Entrance fees to the included National Parks
- The following activities: bird watching, game drives, chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest, 2 boat trips on the Nile, boat trip in Semliki, boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, boat trip on Lake Mburo, game walk in Lake Mburo
- International flights
- Visa for Uganda
- All optional activities
- Meals not mentioned and beverages
- Tips and personal expenses such as laundry and communication
The Government of Uganda requires mandatory proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination for travelers 1 year of age and above. Travelers should possess a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate (vaccine received at least 10 days ago) prior to entry into Uganda. Travelers who do not meet this requirement must be vaccinated at the Airport (with possibility of isolation as determined by the Aiport health authority) prior to entry into Uganda at the travelers own costs.
Furthermore all required inoculations must be recorded by your health practitioner on a valid vaccination certificate. You must carry this document with you throughout the tour. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. We also advise that you bring a mosquito repellent with you. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for up to date requirements, inoculations and personal recommendations!
Normally you need the following vaccinations (but please always consult a doctor):
- Yellow Fever
For Malaria you need to take tablets, Malarone or Lariam. Malarone is mostly used (please always consult a doctor).
Hygiene is not at the same standard as in your home country, so we advise you to bring a disinfectant cream with you. Always drink bottled water instead of tap water.
On arrival on the airport our guide will be there waiting for you. During safari we use custom made safari vehicles, custom made for an optimal view of the wildlife. Safari vehicles (and small aircrafts) provide limited space for luggage. It is therefore recommended to travel with light bags since bulky suitcases will overload and might be difficult to be taken on board.
The Government of Uganda has introduced the online visa application system with effect from 01 July 2016.
When you are visiting Uganda you must apply for a visa online:
- Go to the website https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
- Please make sure you have the following documents in .pdf, .jpeg, .png or .bmp format: a copy of your passport, copy of recent passport size photograph and a vaccination certificate (Yellow Fever)
- Fill in the form (normally you need an “ordinary” visa, single entry)
- When you send the form you will immediately receive a tracking code. This code helps you to keep track of how far your application has progressed. You can check its status from this webpage
- The Ugandan authorities will send you a letter in the email after they have approved your application (please check you SPAM folder too)
- Print this letter and bring it with you when you arrive at the overland border or at Entebbe International Airport. You need this letter to be allowed to purchase the entree visa there for USD 50.
Some nationalities do not require a visa, please check this in advance.
In most of the cities it is possible to withdraw money from an ATM. Travelers Cheques are not widely accepted and it is very difficult or impossible to pay by credit card outside the cities. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference. We advise to bring some Dollars for daily expenses and tips.
Dollar bills should not be older than 10 years.
The unit of currency is the Ugandan Shilling. Please check the latest exchange rates before you go to your destination. This will be a guideline. Please note you will get a better exchange rate in the bigger cities.
We advise you to apply for a Flying Doctors membership. The membership provides a quick and reliable air evacuation and medical care if needed.
AMREF Flying Doctors offers 2 covers (Annual and Tourist). You can choose between the Maisha Silver (Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar), Maisha Gold (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) or Maisha Platinum (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia).
Please check out the AMREF Flying Doctors website for more information and to become a member.
Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English, which is the official language in Uganda. Next to English there are about 30- plus different indigenous languages.
Uganda is a tropical country, with higher temperatures at lower altitudes (Kampala, Murchison Falls, Kidepo and Bundibugyo).
Areas around Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Lake Bunyonyi are generally cooler.
Uganda can be visited at any time throughout the year. But please keep in mind that mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rainy seasons (March - May and October - November).
For birders the rainy season is considered to be the best time to visit Uganda.
Rainy season means it rains more often, but not every day and not the whole day.
Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes (areas around Bwindi, Mgahinga, Lake Bunyonyi and Kabale) so carry a couple of sweaters too.
Those who intend to do mountain hiking will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Do not forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a waterproof jacket.
During safaris we advise to avoid black and dark blue clothes (because they can attract tsetse flies).
If you are planning on doing a community walk or visit the local people, we advise you to wear appropriate clothing. For example women putting on long skirts and a top that covers the shoulders
A valid passport is mandatory (passport must be valid for at least 3 months after re-entry) and visa requirements for all countries you are planning to visit should be checked before you travel.
To make the most of your visit to the game reserves and national parks, we advise you to carry binoculars and field guides.
Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or more). Please make sure to carry enough memory cards with you. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
A torch (flashlight) can proof to be very useful
We advise you to take an international adapter with you for your electric equipment. The system used in Uganda is the British system. In most lodges it is possible to charge your batteries.
Driving in Uganda is on the left-hand side.
Visitors without experience of African roads are advised to travel with a 4x4 vehicle driven by a knowledgeable driver/guide, rather than self-drive.
All our guides are well trained in "Defensive Driving".
Please mind that washrooms along the road are sometimes not to European standards, for example squatting toilets, no flushing toilets or no toilet paper available. Like the locals say: T.I.A. This Is Africa.
Bathroom facilities and accommodations can be more basic when traveling on a medium to low budget. In the eco lodges mind that the water reserves are limited and in most cases there are no sockets in the room, but you can always charge your devices at the reception.
Tipping will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% in hotels and restaurants. Guides, drivers and carriers should always be tipped. Indication: for carriers USD 1-3 and for your driver/guide USD 5-15 per day, depending on the group size, number of days and your satisfaction.
The Bradt Travel Guide is the most detailed guidebook for Uganda. The Lonely Planet (East Africa), Footprint Guides and Spectrum Guides produce other guidebooks. For wildlife, the best guidebook is ‘Watching Wildlife East Africa’ from the Lonely Planet. For birding, the best guidebook is ‘birds of East Africa’. It is advisable to get the most updated copy.