Albertine Rift Endemics Birding Safari - 12 Days

OVERVIEW
This trip is one of the most interesting for our kin birding clients as most of the locations are ecological hot-spots and relatively within the wealthy Albertine Rift Valley which is not only Uganda but Africa’s richest zone for most endemic and globally threatened species of birds and other animals like the mountain gorillas.
Not only this but a host to more than 7,500 species of endemic plants and animals and approximately 35% of all biodiversity in Africa.
The tour takes us to Mgahinga, Bwindi and most especially Ruhija (the No.1 birding site in Africa), Rwenzori and finally Semliki. These are so far the best birding spots in Uganda and have different ecosystems and each attracting a species different from the other.
  • Day 1: Arrival in Kampala or Entebbe
  • Day 2: Birding in Echuya Forest and Kisoro
  • Day 3: Birding Mgahinga National Park
  • Day 4: Birding to Ruhija
  • Day 5: Birding to Mubwindi Swamp
  • Day 6: Birding to Buhoma via the Neck
  • Day 7: Birding Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Day 8: Birding to Kasese
  • Day 9: Birding the Rwenzori then transfer to Fort Portal
  • Day 10: Birding to Semliki
  • Day 11: Whole day birding Kirumia Trail
  • Day 12: Birding to Entebbe

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Kampala or Entebbe

Arrival for our Albertine Rift birding safari where we spend a night in Kampala or Entebbe.
Overnight at Papyrus Guesthouse Entebbe or Forest Cottages Kampala.

Day 2: Birdwatching in Echuya Forest

Transfer to Kisoro where we bird Echuya Forest at a later point in the day towards Kisoro.
Overnight at Rushaga Gorilla Camp.

Day 3: Birding in Mgahinga National Park

We start early after breakfast and with picnic lunch. Drive to Ntebeko Camp from where we shall start our birding as we trek to one of the most scenic areas in Uganda.
We take the gorge trail that loops halfway up Mt. Sabinyo, through a variety of montane habitats harbouring the dusky turtle dove, Rwenzori turaco, cape robin-chat, Kivu ground thrush, white-eyed slaty and white-tailed blue flycatcher, olive wood-pecker, white-starred robin, mountain yellow warbler, white-napped raven, Lagden’s bush-shrike, yellow-crowned canary, streaky and thick billed seedeater
On our birding today we shall have a bigger focus on the shy Shelly’s crimson-wing among other birds.
Dinner and overnight stay at Travelers Rest Hotel or Chameleon Hill Lodge.

Day 4: Birding to Ruhija  

After breakfast, we start our birding in the Rift Valley Area.
We will have a stopover in a nearby swamp towards Echuya forest mostly to look out for the little rush warbler plus the Grauer’s rush warbler one of the rare Bradypterus warblers within the Albertine rift zones also
Continue birding to Ruhija with numerous stopovers expecting birds like the augur and mountain buzzard, yellow bellied waxbill, dusky crimsonwing, dusky twinspot, common stonechat among others birds.
Towards the camp headquarters we look out for the handsome francolin, olive pigeon, western green tinkerbird, Archer’s robin-chat, chestnut throated apalis, white-browed crombec, stripe-breasted and dusky tit, Rwenzori batis, Doherty’s bush-shrike, black-headed waxbill and much more.
We stay at Trekker’s Tavern or Ruhija Gorilla Friends for two nights. Full board.

Day 5: Birding to Mubwindi Swamp

Today our birding will start early and our main focus will the beautiful leafy looking broadbill, Black-billed Turaco, Olive, Elliot’s and Fine-banded Woodpecker, African Hill Babbler, Mountain Illadopsis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Greenbul, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Red-faced Woodland and Mountain Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-throated Collard and Black Throated Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, African Green-Broadbill, Mountain, Shelley’s and Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Rwenzori Batis, Regal Sunbird among other birds.
We later get back to our place of stay. Full board.

Day 6: Birding to Buhoma via the Neck

After breakfast, start the drive to Buhoma in the southern part of Bwindi birding en route.
On our drive and the stopovers we make, expect to see the Black Bee-eater, calling out the Red-throated Wryneck and finding it would be a great addition, Mountain Wagtail and the Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, White-starred Robin, Olive Thrush, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, MacKinnon’s Fiscal, Collared, Mountain Masked Chestnut-throated, and Grey Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Sharpe’s Starling, the elusive Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Twinspot etc.
Dinner and overnight at The Engagi or Buhoma Community Rest camp for two nights. Full board.

Day 7: Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today we explore the Bwindi Buhoma area looking out for birds like the Pink-footed Puffbuck, Yellow Billed Barbet, Bocage’s Bush-Shrike, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black Bee-Eater, Cassin’s and Scaly throated Honey Guide, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Western Green Tinkerbird, Short Tailed Warbler, African Broadbill, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Mountain Illadopsis, Red Faced Woodland Warbler, Equatorial Akalat, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Black Faced Rufous Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Dusky Tit, Many Coloured and Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Black Billed Turaco, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Blue Throated Brown, Blue-headed, Northern Double Collard and Green Sunbird, Black-billed Weaver, Red-fronted Ant-pecker, Magpie Mannikin among others.
Full board.

Day 8: Birding to Kasese

After breakfast, with packed lunch, leave for Rwenzori National Park.
While there we look out for special birds like the purple breasted sunbird, Abyssinian, Red faced, Shelly’s and Dusky Crimson-wing, Red-bellied seed cracker, Woodhouse Antipecker, Stripe-breasted Tit, Forest Flycatcher, Grey Apalis, Ayres and Cassin’s Hawk-eagle and many others.
We stay at the basement of Mount Rwenzori.

Day 9: Birding the Rwenzori then transfer to Fort Portal  

We have another day of birding in the morning before we transfer to Fort Portal where a number of rare and highly localized birds may be found. African Long-eared Owl, sometimes considered non-specific with the Holarctic Long-eared Owl. This is one of only two sites in East Africa [the other being Mt. Kenya] where this bird has been recorded.
Similarly the Greater Double-collared Sunbird [sometimes considered a separate species, Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Sunbird] is endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains and is reportedly fairly common in areas of bamboo and heath. Rwenzori Turaco another common and easily seen here than elsewhere.
There are recent sight records of the rare Grauer’s Cuckoo-shrike we keep fingers crossed for these amazing species. Dinner and
Overnight at the Mountains of the Moon Hotel. Full board.

Day 10: Birding to Semliki

After an early breakfast, bird to Semuliki National Park getting there in time to bird the trails around the hot springs.
This gives us a great introduction to the Semliki birds like the Hornbills, Chestnut Breasted Negro Finch, Black Bellied Seed Cracker and others then transfer to Bundibugyo.
Overnight at the Rainbow or Vanilla Hotel. Full board.

Day 11: Whole Day Birding on the Kirumia Trail

After breakfast, proceed for a whole day birding on the Kirumia Trail.
Depending on the weather condition today we have some of the best birding within the East African region as many species are of West African origin.
Look out for birds like Black-casqued wattled, White thighed, Piping, Red-billed dwarf, White crested and Black dwarf Hornbill, Rufaous Sided Broadbill, Blue Billed and Crested Malimbe, Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher, Leaf Love, Swamp palm Bulbul.
Rarely seen are the Capuchin Babbler and African Piculet small bird of its own related to the woodpeckers and the Lyre Tailed Honey Guides among other birds.
Dinner and overnight as before. Full board.

Day 12: Birding to Entebbe

After breakfast, bird your way to Entebbe.
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