Day 1: Mon 12 February 2024 - Departure
After relaxing in our complimentary airport lounge, we board our overnight flight from London to Entebbe.
Day 2: Tue 13 February - Arrival
We arrive at Entebbe International Airport, where we will be met by our Driver and local Guide, then we proceed to our accommodation located just a few minutes away. Overnight for two nights at Boma Hotel, Entebbe.
Day 3: Wed 14 February - Mabamba Wetlands
We take an early breakfast and then head to the Mabamba Wetlands, a great spot for picking up some superb birds on our very first morning. We take to boats here to go through channels in the swamp, looking for the mighty, iconic, Shoebill! Other birds on this first full day should include Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Yellow-billed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Long-toed Plover, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, and many more.
We then bird our way back to Entebbe looking for birds including African Open-billed Stork, Grey Kestrel, African Green Pigeon, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Red-headed Lovebird, Broad-billed Roller, and various swifts, sunbirds, weavers and finches among others.
Day 4: Thurs 15 February - Travel Day: Birding on the way to Kibale
After breakfast, we drive south to Kibale in the Toro Kingdom. We will be birding en-route, looking out for birds such as Western Banded Snake Eagle, Striped Kingfisher, Great Blue Turaco, Lizard Buzzard, Lesser Striped Swallow, Joyful Greenbul, Chubb’s Cisticola, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, African Stonechat, Green-headed Sunbird, Northern Fiscal among many others. We will pass through some typical lowland habitats and landscapes and opportunities for photography, as throughout the tour, will be very good. Dinner and overnight for two nights at Kibala Guest Cottages.
Day 5: Fri 16 February - Birds and Primates in Kibale NP
After an early breakfast, we start to bird the forest with our excellent local guide, looking out for the spectacular Green-breasted Pitta and other species like Yellow-billed Barbet, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Sabine’s Spinetail, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Narrow-tailed Starling and more.
Kibale is one of the major rain forests in Uganda, home to 13 species of primate, making it perhaps the most important protected area on the African continent. These include Chimpanzee, Red Colobus, Black and White Colobus, Red-tailed Monkey, and Grey-cheeked Mangabey among others. In addition, it is home to 325 species of birds including Red-chested Owlet, Green-breasted Pitta, and White-spotted Flufftail. Chimpanzee watching is a major attraction of the park, and after lunch we head to Kanyanchu to look for them, hoping for excellent views. We search for Chimps on foot with a tracker/ranger, in flat terrain, or gentle hill country, depending on their recent movements; the animals are quite mobile as they search for food. While it isn't possible to say exactly how far we might walk, we might even locate them by the roadside.
Day 6: Sat 17 February- Bigodi and transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP
After breakfast, we head to Bigodi for a wetland walk coming back in time for lunch. Later, we move on towards Queen Elizabeth National Park driving along the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and crossing the Equator, where we stop for photographs. The park, named after our own Queen who visited in 1954, is the second largest national park in Uganda, and ranks highest in terms of overall diversity, with a bird species list exceeding 600. The park has a mosaic of habitats from moist forest at Imarabigambo, to wild savannah excellent for Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Hyenas, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Baboons, Giant Forest Hog, and Warthog among others. We will also look out for various herons, raptors, kingfishers, larks, pipits, babblers, swallow, cisticolas, shrikes, starlings, widowbirds, and many more wonderful birds. Dinner and overnight for two nights at Park View Lodge.
Day 7: Sun 18 February - Birding Queen Elizabeth National Park
After breakfast, we leave with a packed lunch for a mammal and bird safari. In the afternoon, we take a two-hour boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, to see a rich variety of wildlife, including hundreds of hippos, crocodiles and superb wetland birds, like pelicans, Green-backed Heron, storks, African Spoonbill, Martial Eagle, plovers, lapwings, larks, Yellow-throated Longclaw, babblers, sunbirds, weavers, and widowbirds. Photographic opportunities will be excellent throughout the day. We will no doubt also see mammals like Uganda Kob, Bushbuck, Defassa Waterbuck, Buffalo, Elephant, Warthog, and with a little luck Leopard, Spotted Hyena and Lion among others.
Day 8: Mon 19 February - Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
After breakfast, we drive to Bwindi, getting there in the early evening after making several stops looking out for raptors, bee-eaters, kingfishers, barbets, tinkerbirds, woodpeckers, apalises, Honeyguide Greenbul, swallows, larks, cisticolas, pipits, chats, shrikes, starlings, widowbirds and many more. Game includes Elephant, Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Defassa Waterbuck, and Warthog among others. Our total drive is about 190 km, and we arrive in time for dinner and overnight at Engagi Lodge, where we stay for three nights.
Day 9: Tue 20 February - Gorilla Trekking at Bwindi
Bwindi is an unspoiled National Park found in south western Uganda, covering an area of 331 sq. km, and home to half of the world's Mountain Gorillas. Indeed, the National Park is the only protected area in the world where Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees are found together. Today, after an early breakfast, we begin our gorilla trek, at about 8:00 a.m. Good walking shoes or boots will be needed, rain gear and plenty of drinking water. The trek isn't too long, but can be steep and challenging in parts, and so one must be in a reasonably fit condition. Our efforts should be worthwhile, as the thrill of seeing these very rare primates (no guarantee, of course, but chances are high as we will be with experienced trackers from the park) is simply incredible. It is no exaggeration to state that seeing these wild apes is one of the great wildlife watching experiences on the planet.
In the afternoon, there will be time to rest or enjoy a local birding foray.
Day 10: Wed 21 February - Birding Bwindi
Bwindi has a great diversity of mammals and birds and is home to some endangered species, including a special group of birds only found in the western Rift Valley in Uganda and neighbouring countries, popularly known as the 'Albertine Rift Endemics'. On this holiday we hope to see more than half of these birds, including Handsome Francolin, Dwarf Honeyguide, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird and Strange Weaver. Today we also seek Black Bee-Eater, tinkerbirds and barbets, woodpeckers, African Broadbill, greenbuls, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, starlings, sunbirds, Black-billed Weaver and Brown-capped Weaver among others. We also look out for primates including Blue Monkeys, Black and White Colobus, and Red-tailed Monkey among others.
Day 11: Thurs 22 February - Travel to Lake Mburo
After breakfast, we bird our way to the Lake Mburo, another wildlife rich National Park, looking out for birds like Bateleur, Handsome Francolin, Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Stripe-breasted Tit, Fork tailed Drongo, and various barbets, woodpeckers, apalises, flycatchers, batises and waxbills among others. Although the trip is not focused totally on wildlife photography, those with cameras should get some good shots today. Overnight at Mantana Tented Camp for two nights.
Day 12: Fri 23 February - Lake Mburo
This is one of the smaller National Parks in Uganda covering 260 sq. km but still very special in its own way. Mburo is home to over 320 bird and 68 mammal species. The park’s special birds include African Finfoot, Brown-chested Plover, Red-faced Barbet and Long-tailed Cisticola. We have a full day birding the park, including a boat ride in the afternoon. We will be looking for species such as Bateleur, Crested Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Long tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis and others.
The lake is home to Hippos and the surrounding wooded savanna is home to mammals including gorgeous Eland, Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Reedbuck, Topi, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Oribi, Bush-duiker and others. About 100 km round trip today.
Day 13: Sat 24 February - Travel day to Entebbe
After breakfast, we start heading back towards Entebbe, birding on the way, in particular stopping for any species we may have missed so far, and getting there in time for dinner. About 280 km. Overnight once more at Boma Hotel, Entebbe.
Day 14: Sun 25 February - Head to airport for flight home
After breakfast, we have a short drive to Entebbe International Airport for our departure flight.
Arrival in London Monday 26 February 2024.