This itinerary outlines the ideal Uganda birding tour. From your arrival in Kampala to Lake Victoria, Mabamba Wetlands and Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest, the sheer number of bird species alone in Uganda is enough to test even the most devoted bird-watcher, not to mention the stray lion or leapord one might run into.
Day 1 - Kampala Arrival - Lake Victoria
Upon arrival in Entebbe International Airport, have a morning birding venture in Entebbe area and its environs. The nearby botanical gardens on the shore of Lake Victoria offers a possibility to find Pink-backed Pelican, Gray Kestrel, Green Pigeon, African Open-billed Stork, Great Blue Turaco, Ross's Turaco, and Malachite Kingfisher. Sometimes you may see the Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Orange Weaver and Blackcrowned Waxbill. In the afternoon, birds tend to hide looking for shade, so you will relax at the hotel. In the evening, head out for more Lake Victoria birding spots.
Overnight: Lake Victoria Serena Resort
Day 2 - Mabamba Wetlands And Lake Mburo
After breakfast we’ll head towards the Mabamba Wetlands. This area is southwest of Kampala along the shore of Lake Victoria. There will be birding stops along the way. Arriving at Mabamba, we’ll spot birds at the boat dock. Then we will begin our search for the Shoebill by canoe. Besides the Shoebill Stork, there are possibilities of seeing the Long-tailed Cormorant, Pink-backed Pelican, Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, African Open-billed Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, and Long-toed Plover. You may also see the Blue-headed Coucal and Blue-breasted Bee-eater in the area. The best way to find these birds is by canoe. You will have a picnic lunch or proceed to the equator for a warm lunch. Start for Lake Mburo where you will have an opportunity to see birds like Bateleur, Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-naped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Tit, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Fork tailed Drongo, Black-crowned Waxbill, and Black- headed Waxbill among others.
Overnight: Mihingo Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 3 - Lake Mburo National Park
Early morning birding along the park trails with an escorted ranger, picnic breakfast, then proceed for a game and birding drive, which will give you more opportunities for mammal and bird viewing. Lunch at the lodge. In the evening, go for another game drive. Walks and drives today will most likely give you an encounter with many bird species: Red Faced Barbet, Coqui Francolin, Brown Chested Plover, Tabora Cisticola, Lesser Blue Eared Starling, Buff Bellied Warbler, Red Headed Weaver, Black Shouldered Cuckoo Shrike, Sulpher Breasted Bush-shrike, Green Capped Eremomela, Bare faced Go-away-bird, Red Billed Wood Hope and more acacia associated birds.
Overnight: Mihingo Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Days 6 - 8 - Queen Elizabeth National Park
After a morning walk looking for more species, have breakfast and start for Queen Elizabeth National Park. You will have birding breaks en-route based upon what birds your guide might hear.
You will have three nights in this large savanna park, which has a diverse ecosystem. Lakes Edward & George joined by Kazinga Channel, plus more crater lakes and the Rwenzori mountains in the background, have made the park a habitat for the 619 bird species that have been recorded to date. QENP has been designated an IBA by Birdlife International. You will have early mornings, late afternoons/evening looking for Grey Kestrel, African Green-Pigeon, Great Blue Turaco, Ross's Turaco, Angola Swallow, Splendid Starling, Black-headed Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Slenderbilled Weaver, White-rumped Swift, Little Swift, African Palm Swift, and Red-billed Firefinch. You will have to look for the beautiful Sunbird family members (including the Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Red-chested Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, and Green-headed Sunbird). During your birding in Queen Elizabeth, you also might have an encounter with species like Western banded Snake Eagle, Woodland Kingfisher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Red-chested Cuckoo, Great blue Turaco, Lizard Buzzard, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Lesser striped and Red- breasted Swallows, Joyful Greenbul, Masked Apalis, Whinchat, Stonechat, Green-headed Sunbird, Zitting Cisiticola, Grey-backed Fiscal, Common Fiscal, Wattled Starling, Sharpe’s Starling, Baglafecht Weaver, and Fan-tailed Widowbird among others. Your birding experience in this park will be interrupted with large mammals/game while on a drive or boat ride on the Kazinga channel.
Overnight: Mweya Safari Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Days 8 - 9 - Kibale Forest And Bigodi Swamp
After breakfast, drive to Fort Portal with birding stops en-route. Proceed to Kibale Forest known for over 13 primate species as well as home to many bird species. During your two nights stay, explore birdlife of the natural forest around Kanyanchu area, visit the Bigodi swamp for a possibility to see the Red-winged Francolin, Red-chested Flufftail, White-naped pigeon, Green-breasted Pitta, Africa Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Grey throated Flycatcher. White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Masked and Black-capped Apalises, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Chestnut-winged Starling, Grey-headed Olive-back. The best forest birding is along the Kanyanchu Visitor Center to the bridge. This quiet road runs through beautiful rainforest allowing good views into the canopy and understory. Before you enter the forest, check the scrubby fringes of the overgrown cultivation for Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, the scarce Grey-headed Olive-back and host of seed eaters. Bigodi Sanctuary gives you an opportunity for an observation tower and a boardwalk that traverses the papyrus beds. The walk is about 4km length and the path and boardwalk may be flooded and muddy after heavy rain.
Kibale is also a good site for Joyful Greybull, reasonably common and conspicuous here, but inexplicably scarce elsewhere in Uganda. Search the green developed canopy and mid-storey flocks for White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Black-capped Apalis, Petit’s Cuckoos-shrike, Superb Green-throated and Green-headed Sunbirds.
Overnight: Ndali Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 9 - Kibale - Kampala Departure
After breakfast and a morning of birding, start for Kampala with stops for possible bird viewing opportunities in the tea plantations and the green forest en-route. Lunch in Kampala. Either proceed to the airport for your return flight or drop off at your residence/hotel in Kampala.
Lake Victoria Serena Resort
Styled to replicate the lines of a classically rustic Roman villa, which might just as easily stand amid the sunflowers of the Tuscan Hills as on the shores of Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria Serena Resort is the latest addition to the Serena East Africa Portfolio.
Rising above white-terraced rose gardens, which descend through water cascades and fountains almost to the shores of Lake Victoria, this tranquil resort has been positioned so as to offer both a contrast and an extension to the 5-star profile of the flagship Kampala Serena Hotel, thus ensuring that the Serena portfolio embraces all aspects of Uganda's social and corporate life.
Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park . It features ten rooms which are built on wooden platforms with stilts and covered by a thatched roof. Suspended under the thatched roof is a spacious and comfortable tent equipped with en-suite bathrooms with stunning views, including hot and cold running water, showers, and toilets.
Each luxury tented room is nestled on a private piece of the lodge's property, enabling guests to enjoy the tranquil environment in complete seclusion. Placed in varied settings, some rooms are situated in a forest, some with a lake view, and some on rocky outcrops.
Mweya Safari Lodge
Mweya Safari Lodge offers visitors an unforgettable experience. Located on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge is surrounded by the magical Rwenzori Mountains aptly described as the 'Mountains of the Moon'.
Each room at Mweya Safari Lodge has a breathtaking view of the Kazinga channel. You can watch the forest hogs grazing the grass outside, as well as the odd curious hippo!
Ndali Lodge is set stunningly amidst the Bunyaruguru crater lake region of Western Uganda, 26 kilometers south of Fort Portal and lies at the center of 1000 acres of privately owned fertile farmland still cultivated in a traditional style.