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Shoebill Safaris tours

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19-Day Best Forest Birding Safari

Join us on this exciting 19 days birding luxury Safari in Uganda, combined with Gorilla Trekking in the impenetrable forests of Bwindi. An exceptional birding destination, Uganda is one of Africa’s premier birding and wildlife locations, with varied habitats protecting a plethora of quality bird and mammal species, special the Shoebill stork.

Safari tour package: A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Prices: $6999 - $8199
Includes internal flights: No
Length of safari: 19 days
Best months: All year
Countries visited: Uganda Uganda
Parks visited: Bwindi Impenetrable, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Semuliki, Murchison Falls
Activity level: Moderate - Game walks, Cultural visits
Safari type:
  • Birding
  • Boating
Join us on this exciting 19 days birding luxury Safari in Uganda, combined with Gorilla Trekking in the impenetrable forests of Bwindi. An exceptional birding destination, Uganda is one of Africa’s premier birding and wildlife locations, with varied habitats protecting a plethora of quality bird and mammal species, special the Shoebill stork.
Day 1:

Arrival at Entebbe International Airport. Meet your local smiling guide and transfer to Imperial Botanical Hotel. If you arrive early enough, you will have a welcome birding afternoon around Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Watch out for the Brown throated waver, golden backed weaver, yellow backed weaver, grey headed gull, long tailed cormorant, common squacco heron, yellow billed duck, pied kingfisher, giant kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, broad billed roller, black and white casqued hornbill, splendid glossy starling, black headed gonolek, orange weaver, red chested sunbird, slender billed weaver, Ross’s turaco, pied hornbill, crowned hornbill, open billed stork, great red warbler, sedge warbler, grey caped warbler and many other species.

Day 2:

After an early breakfast drive to Mabamba Important Bird Area with packed lunch. Mabamba is the closest and best spot to watch the majestic African shoebill in the wild. Stop over in Mpigi Swamp for papyrus rarities. Watch out for the usual papyrus gonolek, white winged warbler, yellow backed weaver, northern brown-throated weaver and blue-headed coucal. Proceed to Mabamba wetland. Most of the birding is done on the canoe. Look out for the majestic shy shoebill stork both in the sky exploring the heights and down in the marshy swamp, Watch out closely for the swamp flycatcher, African water rail, common moorhen, African jacana, African pygmy goose, white faced whistling duck, squacco heron, blue breasted bee-eater, goliath heron and many more. Afternoon transfer to Mpanga forest. This forest has a stunning patch of remnant medium altitude that is evergreen. Look out for Blue breasted kingfisher, White spotted fluftail, Grey parrot Lemon dove, woodland wabler and many more.

Day 3:

Leave for Budongo forest. Several stopovers for birds enroute. Look out for the white crested turaco, Ross’s turaco and white crested helmet shrike. Stopover for lunch at Masindi hotel. Check in Budongo Eco Lodge. Evening birding may produce bat hawks, black shouldered nightjar, white crested turaco, crowned eagle, African wood owl.

Day 4:

After an early breakfast start birding to the royal mile. This is the home to the rare Nahan’s francolin, look out for the banded snake eagle, African pied hornbill, brown backed kingfisher, white thighed hornbill, brown backed scrub robin, black bishop, brown twinspot, black belled firefinch, the chocolate backed kingfisher, yellow billed barbet, spotted greenbul, Cameroon somber greenbul, slender billed greenbul, black capped apalis, lemon bellied crombec, green hylia, pale breasted illadopsis, forest flycatcher, fire crested alethe, yellow browed camaroptera, crowned eagle, yellow footed flycatcher, African dwarf kingfisher, catch up with the Chimpanzees as they toss about from one branch to another in the forest.

Day 5:

Birding at Bisingiro sector After an early breakfast start for Bisingiro sector for a whole day birding. Look out for Ituri batis, rufous crowned eremomela, forest francolin, baboons yellow, yellow spotted barbet, red tailed antithrush, dusky long tailed cuckoo and many other forest bird species.

Day 6:

Birdwatching at Kanio Pabidi Section After rather an early breakfast, drive to Kanio Pabidi section for birding. Special birds here include the puvellis illadopsis, crowned eagle, white crested turaco, afep pigeon, yellow rumped tinkerbird, Ross’s turaco, Narina’s trogon, red tailed thrush and rufous sided broadbill. Enjoy the baboons and chimps.

Day 7:

Start off early for Kibale National Park. Kibale N.P is a rainy forest and a home to over 9 different species of primates. Some of these include chimpazees, red colobus monkeys, grey checked mangaby, red tailed monkeys and galagos. The forest is also home to scaly francolins, marsh tchagra, black bellied seed cracker, green backed twinspot, Bicoloured manikin, white napped pigeon, Afep pigeon, Narina’s trogon, joyful greenbul, olive long tailed cuckoo, the superb black bee eater and many more.

Day 8:

After breakfast, optional chimp tracking (+150 U$ p.P.) and meet the rather real cousins of humans’ beings. There is a rich bird life in this forest. If you are a keen birder you will record a reasonably high number of different bird species. Notable are various monkeys that keep tossing from one tree to another as you walk along. At afternoon nature walk at Bigodi wetland will yield species like Blue headed coucal, blue breasted kingfisher, scaly throated honey guide, black faced rufous wabler and others.

Day 9:

With packed lunch leave for Semuliki forest. This is a moist semi-ciduous forest and a home to sport breasted ibis, Northern bearded scrub robin, capuchin babbler, lyre tailed honey guide, yellow throated green cuckoo, white bellied kingfisher, Maxwell’s black weaver, black winged oriole, red eyed puff back, red bellied malimbe, brown crowned eremomela, Zenker’s honey guide, African piculet and many more species.

Day 10:

Whole day birding in the Semuliki forest. Semliki Safari Lodge is situated in the Semliki Wildlife Reserve in the heart of the Albertine Rift Valley. The reserve is bordered by the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Albert. Previously known as the Toro - Semliki Game Reserve, Semliki Wildlife Reserve is the oldest protected area in Uganda. It is unique; gifted with geographic barriers that host a magical forest, perfect for walking.

Day 11:

Morning birding in the Semuliki forest Reserve, afternoon visit to the Volcano looking Sempaya hot springs. The Sempaya Hot springs are found in Semuliki National park in western Uganda. These amazing springs have high temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius. The force, strength and hotness of this springs show the strength of the geographical forces underground. Relax as you watch water do its magic like “there is no tomorrow”.

Day 12:

At the break of the day, start off for Imaramagambo forest west of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Key species include dark capped yellow wabler, fawn breasted waxbill, black headed batis, Brubru sulphur breasted bush shrike, Eurasian golden oriole, bat hawk, red tailed bristle bill, green crombec, black and white flycatcher, brown eared wood pecker, redheaded bluebill, African hobby, African green pigeon, Ross’s turaco, African finfoot.

Day 13:

Whole day birding. At afternoon go for the launch cruise on the famous Kazinga channel where you get to the schools of Hippos, buffalos and a variety of beautiful water bird species like jacanas, fish eagles and pelicans along the channel. Kazinga channel joins Lake Edward and Lake George, which gives it a wonderful site in a lovely environment with its various beautiful water birds along the channel. After lunch go for the boat cruise on the famous Kazinga channel where you get to the schools of Hippos, buffalos and a variety of beautiful water bird species like jacanas, fish eagles and pelicans along the channel.

Day 14:

Transfer Southwards to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park the home to the forest giants that are cousins to human beings, the gorillas. This Impenetrable Forest is still one of the best virgin tropical rain forests in East Africa. Birding begins early in the morning with the early risers at the Luxury bush camp. After breakfast with our packed lunch we set off for the whole birding. This forest has over 300 bird species recorded. These include among other forest rarities, red throated alethe, equatorial akalat, forest robin, montane oriole, grey throated barbet, hairy breasted barbet, African broadbill, black bee eater, pale breasted illadopsis, Narina’s trogon, Pettit’s cuckoo shrike and black faced rufous warbler. Please note that this forest receives rainfall almost all year round, a raincoat and hiking shoes with a good tract are appropriate.

Day 15:

Many bird watchers who have been to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest before have shown interest on tracking gorillas. Have this optional day for that activity. Carry packed lunch and enjoy the giant forest primates in their jungle. Gorilla Trekking +600$ p.P.

Day 16:

Ruhija Depart at the crack of dawn for a 50km drive to the highest peak of the forest- Ruhija. Several checks at the rare bird spots may produce rare species such as white starred robin, grey cuckoo shrike, strange weaver, banded prinia, brown chested alethe, slender billed greenbull, yellow streaked greenbull, white browned crombec, mountain illadopsis, Luehder’s bush shrike, grey bush shrike, grey green bush shrike; all these and many others are among the 345 species recorded in this park. Birding to the Mubwindi swamp is very rewarding. One has to be prepared to walk on steep mountains. You drop from 2400m to 2050m above sea level. Birding in the bamboo zone is good for handsome francolin, archers robin chat, stripe breasted tit, purple breasted sunbird, mountain greenbull, duikers, wallers, chestnut winged starling, dusky crimsonwing, mountain illadopsis, mountain yellow warbler to mention a few. Birders who come with camping equipment can camp at Ruhija campground.

Day 17:

Birding at Ruhija The whole day birding. One has to be prepared to walk on steep mountains. You drop from 2400m to 2050m above sea level. Birding in the bamboo zone is good for handsome francolin, archers robin chat, stripe breasted tit, purple breasted sunbird, mountain greenbull, duikers, wallers, chestnut winged starling, dusky crimsonwing, mountain illadopsis, mountain yellow warbler to mention a few. Birders who come with camping equipment can camp at Ruhija campground.

Day 18:

After early breakfast begin your journey back to Entebbe. Stopover for lunch in Mbarara. Another Stop over at the equator for snap shots of a lifetime. Have a chance to be in the South and Northern hemispheres at the same time. Take some pictures and buy a few souvenirs.

Day 19:

You will drive to Entebbe Airport, catch your flight and head back home.

Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.

  • Imperial Botanical Hotel Mid-range hotel in or near Entebbe
  • Budongo Eco Lodge Budget lodge in or near Budongo
  • Masindi Hotel Mid-range hotel in or near Masindi
  • Ndali Lodge Luxury lodge in or near Fort Portal
  • Semliki Safari Lodge Luxury lodge inside Toro-Semliki WR
  • Mweya Safari Lodge Luxury lodge inside Queen Elizabeth NP
  • Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Luxury tented camp inside Bwindi NP
  • Agandi Lodge Mid-range lodge in or near Ruhija
  • Imperial Botanical Hotel Mid-range hotel in or near Lake Victoria
Malachite Kingfisher
Malachite Kingfisher by Shoebill Safaris
Crested Crawn
Crested Crawn by Shoebill Safaris
African fish eagle
African fish eagle by Shoebill Safaris
Shoebill stork
Shoebill stork by Shoebill Safaris

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