7 Days Bird & Wildlife Safari

Highlights (Sites):

  • Mabira Forest Reserve
  • Sezibwa & Kasenge Forest or Jinja & Source of the Nile
  • Mabamba Swampland
  • Budongo Forest & Murchison Falls National Park
  • Ziwa Rhino Sactuary

Itinerary

Day 1: Bird along the Kampala – Jinja Highway: Mabira Forest Reserve, Kasenge Forest & Sezibwa Falls

Birding in Mabira Forest Early morning birding in Mabira Forest Reserve and if time allows visit both the Sezibwa Falls and Kasenge Forest.

Mabira is good for a number of forest specials & a great start to your bird adventure. There is neat network of forest trails offering easy access into the forest & clear views into the canopy. Some of the species to look out for include: African Goshawk, Nahan’s Francolin, White-spotted Flufftail, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-throated Bee-eater, Broad-billed Roller, Green Wood-hoopoe, Blue-throated Roller, Crowned Hornbill, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Sooty Boubou, Weyns’s Weaver, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Jackson’s Wattle-eye, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike. More than 300 species have recorded here. Other possible wildlife encounters include squirrel, monkeys, bush babies, snakes, and about 218 species of butterflies have been recorded. You could spend up to half a day in Mabira.

Other interesting spots along the Kampala – Jinja highway worth a birder’s visit include the Sezibwa Falls & Kasenge Forest. Kasenge in particular offers some excellent forest specials, and the surroundings pull in some garden & aquatic species. A good number of birds u would have anticipated at Mabira but missed could be easily found here. At the moment over 200 species have been recorded. Some of the common birds include Woodland Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Great Blue Turaco, Little Sparrowhawk, African Pied Hornbill, and African Grey Parrot.

Sezibwa Falls on the other side offers a good mix of garden, forest & aquatic species as it shares all these habitats. Possible birds include Woodland Kingfisher, Olive Sunbird, Singing Cisticola, Red-eyed Dove, Green-headed Sunbird, Compact Weaver, White-throated Bee-eater, Little Green Sunbird, Striped Kingfisher, and Spectacled Weaver. The beautiful scenery & cultural experience at this site are the other interesting staff to look toward to.

** Alternatively after birding in Mabira you could choose to proceed to Jinja & the source the of the Nile and consider either Kasenge Forest or Sezibwa if time allows.

Day 2: Early birding at Mabamba & transfer to Murchison

Mabamba Swampland has become a must visit for any birder, especially that it almost guarantees the Shoebill & some good swamp specials. More than 260 species of birds have been recorded here. The site is also easily accessible and would take you about 30mins of drive from Kampala. Set out on a canoe and hunt for the Shoebill along with other species including: African Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Caruthers’ Cisticola, Greater Swamp Warbler, Swamp Flycatcher, Slender-billed Weaver, Lesser Jacana, Blue Swallow, Long-toed Lapwing, Vieillot’s Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Common Waxbill, Black-and-white casqued Hornbill, Banded Martin, Malachite Kingfisher, and Pied Kingfisher. You could sight over 50 species in just 3 hours after which you depart for Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls National Park. You’ll have lunch en-route. Dinner and overnight is in Budongo Forest.

Day 3: Full day birding Royal Mile

Early morning birding in Budongo Forest along the famous “Royal Mile”. Budongo serves a good check list of forest species many of which you won’t easily find anywhere else in Uganda. You checklist could include some of the specials: Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Nahan’s Francolin, Black-colored Lovebird, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, White-spotted Flufftail, Black-shouldered and Pennant-winged Kingfisher, Ituri Batis, Forest and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Sabine’s and Cassin’s Spinetails. Over 360 species have been recorded in Budongo. You’ll carry packed lunch for the birding. Dinner and overnight is in Budongo Forest.

Day 4: Birding Kaniyo Pabidi, the southern banks, to the top of the Murchison Falls

Early birding in Budongo Forest, this time around the Kaniyo Pabidi area before proceeding through the lush grasslands & vegetation along the southern banks of the Nile and finally to the top of the enthralling Murchison Falls. Expect a huge collection of birds, along with primates, game, and breathtaking views of the world’s strongest waterfalls. Lunch is at Red Chilli Rest Camp. Dinner and overnight is at Paraa.

Day 5: Full day birding in Murchison & game viewing

Have early breakfast and set off to spend the day on the game-viewing tracks in the incredibly rich northern side of the Nile. There is plentiful of big game including Buffalos, Giraffes, Elephants, Jackson’s Hartebeests, Lions, Leopards, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Oribis, and Hyenas. The park offers a good proportion of grassland birds & aquatic birds around the delta area. Some of the specials to look out for include: Secretary Bird, Denham’s Bustard, White-crested Turaco, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Standard-winged Nightjar, and Egyptian Plover. You’ll carry packed lunch. Dinner and overnight is at Paraa.

Day 6: Morning Shoebill boat & Afternoon Launch Cruise

After breakfast you take a boat ride from Paraa downriver to the delta area. This boat ride is commonly referred to as the “Shoebill Boat” as it aims for the Shoebill at the delta area and a number of aquatic species along the Nile such as Squacco Heron, Goliath Heron, Pel’s Fishing Owl and African Skimmers. Return to Paraa for lunch. Later set out for the afternoon Launch Ride from Paraa upriver to the base of the Murchison Falls. This ride offers some of the best wildlife views in Murchison Falls National Park. Hippos wallow within meters, while crocodiles & lizards are abundant along the shores. Game such as Elephants, Antelopes, Hogs, and Lions often come to the river to drink, take a bath, and eat fresh grass. As for birds you are in for a treat! There are lots of Red-throated Bee-eaters, Skimmers, Cattle Egrets, and African Fish Eagles. Return to the lodge for dinner & overnight.

Day 7: Return to Kampala, birding Ziwa Sanctuary en-route

Early check out and depart for Kampala. You’ll make a stopover at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for a short rhino & bird adventure. Conveniently situated en-route to Murchison Fall, Ziwa a breading site of Uganda’s only wild rhinos and harbors several other wildlife including over 250 species of birds. Take a game ranger and set out on a trek into the sanctuary. White-crested Turaco, White-headed Barbet, White-crested and Helmetshrike are among some of the specials to look out for at Ziwa. Thereafter proceed, lunch en-route and transfer to Kampala.

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