The Rift Valley Birding & Chimpanzee Adventure - Uganda

riftvalley shoebill

A 9-day Birding photography trip covering Mabamba Swamp famous for “her” majestic shoebill stock that lingers in the marshy section of Lake Victoria, Semuliki Valley National Park boosting of over 441 bird species which is about 40% of the total bird species in Uganda. Kibale Forest National Park, a bird-watcher's paradise where more than 370 species have been recorded and many are forest specials, including the sought-after African pitta.

ITINERARY.

Day 1: Arrival Entebbe International airport

On arrival, Adventure Consults’ airport staff will meet you right on tarmac before entering the airport building, assist through customs, get your camera gear cleared. Pick your other luggage and transfer to the hotel. Depending on arrival time, you may have a briefing on your safari today/tonight or opt to have it in the morning after some hours of relaxation.

If arrived early afternoon, you have an option to go Birding at the nearby Entebbe Botanical Gardens or do Birding photography around the lodge/hotel gardens. Accommodation on Bed and Breakfast included.

Day 2: Birding at Mabamba Swamp.

Mabamba Bay Ecotourism site is one of the Important Bird Areas (RAMSER sites) in the world popularly known for being home for shoebill stork. It’s an extensive marsh stretching through a narrow and long bay fringed with papyrus towards the main body of Lake Victoria - the only swamp close to Kampala and Entebbe where one can easily find the globally-threatened Shoebill stork (Balaeniceps rex).

Adventure Consults’ Birding guide will pick you from the hotel, take a drive to the lake, drop off at the pier in time for your speedboat ride to Mabamba swamp. The ride will take about an hour, before changing boats on to the traditional motorized canoe/s. The canoes can easily manoeuvre through papyrus swamps for a close encounter, giving you the best opp. for photography Sometimes the shoebill can be far or close, but you will have an amazing birding experience as the swamp hosts so many other rare bird species. Spending time with the Birders’ ‘Gentle Shoebill stork’ is an amazing experience.

The wetland supports close to 300 bird species and is part of the wetland system which hosts approximately 38% of the global population of the Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea), as well as the globally-threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler and other birds of global conservation concern.

While at the swamp, you have high chances of spotting the swamp flycatcher, African purple swamp hen, African water rail, Pallid Harrier, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and the Blue Swallow Common moorhen, lesser jacana, African jacana, African pygym Goose, White-faced whistling duck, Squacco heron, Blue Breasted Bee-eater, Winding cisticola, Goliath Heron and many others.

PS – Just like any wildlife viewing, Adventure Consults cannot guarantee quality of shoebill viewing. They can sometimes be elusive but chances of seeing the shoebill are very high.

You will later return to Entebbe in the afternoon or evening, drop off at the hotel. Accommodation on Bed and Breakfast included.

Day 3: Entebbe – Kibale Forest National Park Approx. 5 hrs

Adventure Consults’ guide will give you a detailed briefing for the day, and start your journey to the west via Kampala. Drive through the green tea plantations and the evergreen Kibale forest, arriving Fort-portal in time for Lunch. Proceed to the Lodge driving through the shadow of the fabled "Mountains of the Moon", with ever green farmlands and African homesteads.

Afternoon Birding walk and photography around the Lodge. Meals and overnight accommodation included

Day 4:  Chimpanzee Trekking and Bigodi Walk.

Unlike other days, today you have a different and unique experience – Chimpanzee tracking.

After Breakfast, you will be transferred to Kanyanchu park Headquarters in time for a briefing and head out to the forest in search for man’s closest relative. The guide will provide detailed explanations on not only primates, but also on all the forest's fauna and flora, ensuring that your walk is both informative and enjoyable. This walk is excellent for viewing bird life and primates in close quarters.

Your walk is not only limited to Primates but also lots of Birds. Kibale Forest Boasts more than 375 species of birds , and among others, include the African Pitta, green – breasted pitta, Afep pigeon, White napped Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red -chested Owlet, Black Bee eater, western Nicator, Yellow -Rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Brown Chested Alethe, Blue-Breasted Kingfisher, African Gyre Parrot, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Brown Illadopsis, Black – Capped Apalis, Dusky Crimson wing, purple Breasted sunbird, Red-faced woodland Warbler, Yellow  Spotted Nicator, Little Green Bul, Black -eared Ground Thrush and the Abyssinian Ground-Thrush.

After lunch, go for a Swamp walk in Bigodi - an eco-tourism site with over 200 bird species, 6 of which are endemic to the area, Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a Birders’ paradise. In addition to the resident and the Signature great blue turaco, you will have an opportunity to see a number of other birds, among others; breasted sunbird, African pitta, Abyssinian ground thrush, Collared Apalis, Black capped apalis, Crowned eagle, Green breasted pitta, Kingfishers, Weavers, Cuckoos, Hornbills, Papyrus Gonoleks, Flycatchers, Black bee eater, Little greenbul, Brown chested alethe, Blue breasted kingfisher, Yellow rumpled tinker bird, Dusky crimson wing, Black bishop, Western nictor, Spotted bardet, Brown throated wattle eye, white-spotted fluff tail, weaver birds and purple breasted sunbird.

Meals and overnight accommodation included

Day 5: Morning and Afternoon Birding - Kibale forest National Park

Today, will be dedicated to Birding, with a break during the day’s heat. Adventure Consults’ Birding expert will be your guiding hand, but please feel to share ideas if you want to change the day’s program.

Meals and overnight accommodation included

Day 6: Kibale - Semiliki National Park

You will have an early breakfast and start the journey through meandering Rwenzori ranges via Fort-portal town. Head down to Semliki valley (about 2 hours’ drive), and on straight to the National park section. The deep dark mysterious forest is the real heart of the country’s birding haven. Visit the hot springs, thick rain forest, and semiliki river fed by the icy cold streams running from the Rwenzori glaciers. 

Among other birds you will most likely be lucky with include the Congo Serpent Eagle, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Bate’s Nightjar, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Rufous-sided and Black-winged Broadbills, Black-throated Coucal, Icterine Greenbul, Nkulengu Rail, Spot-breasted Ibis, Long-tailed Hawk, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Yellow-throated and Western Nicator, Red-chested Owlet, Black-collared Lovebird, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, White-bellied Kingfisher, Zenker’s and Lyre-tailed Honey guides, White-throated Blue Swallow, Crested Malimbe, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Blue-billed Malimbe, Chestnut Bellied and Pale-fronted Negrofinch, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Piping, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, White Crested, African Piculet among other bird species.

Meals and overnight accommodation included

Day 7: Nature walk and birding in Semiliki

This morning we bird Semuliki Forest to look for some of the few Guinea-Congo forest biome. Being the only connection to Ituri forest from DR Congo makes it that spot where over thirty-five restricted-range specialties exist in East Africa.

When the resident birds are breeding, it is effortless to spot Black and Southern Red Bishops, Piapiac which is a social crow, Rattling and Whistling Cisticolas, and Mosque Swallow before entering the forest. When we get to the forest, we will work for excellent views of Piping, White-crested, Black Dwarf Hornbill, the canopy-dwelling Red-billed Dwarf and the gigantic Black Casqued Hornbills. Other good birds like Yellow-lored Bristlebill, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black-headed and African Paradise Flycatchers, Forest Robin, African Piculet, African Dwarf Kingfisher and Hartlaub’s Duck, Xavier’s Greenbul, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, Crested Malimbe, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Black-bellied Seed-cracker, Grant’s and Red-headed Bluebills, Brown Illadopsis are among others we will be looking for.

Meals and overnight accommodation included

Day 8: Boat trip on Lake Albert – Afternoon Nature walk.

Morning drive through Tooro - Semliki game reserve, keep an eye out for big game, amazing scenery and lots of savannah Bird species. You will drive to Lake Albert in time for a boat ride. Lake Albert is home to the rare and endangered Shoebill stock, African Pygmy Goose, Blue-breasted and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and Blue-headed Coucal. Lots of Bird species, and also have an encounter with the fishing community.

In afternoon, you will take a nature walk in the reserve. Tooro - Semiliki reserve is endowed with several eco-habitats including the Savannah woodlands, Riverine forests and swamps. This gives the Birders a great opportunity for viewing a variety of species.

Sundowner, late evening return to the lodge.  Meals and overnight accommodation included

Day 9: Semuliki – Entebbe via Kampala.

Morning start for Fort portal.  With Birding and stretching stops along the way, drive to Kampala for lunch. Time permitting, optional craft shopping and proceed to the airport in time for your evening return flight or drop off at your residence.

Depending on flight schedule, you may need a day room near the airport for which we shall book upon request or possibly an overnight then fly out the following day.  Check with us via sales@adventureconsults.com   for professional advice on hotels/lodges and related costs.

Accommodation: We do not restrict on where to stay. In most cases, we go with the travellers’ choice. Here are below are suggested places (among others) as we cannot list all available options. So, get in touch for more ideas.

Lion range (Luxury):

Entebbe; Hotel No.5/Protea Hotel.
Semuliki Natinal Park: Semuliki Safari Lodge.
Kibale Forest National Park: Kyaninga/Ndali/Primate lodge Kibale/Crater Lodge

Pride range (Mid-range):

Entebbe; Boma hotel/Carpediem guest house.
Kibale Forest National park: Kibale Forest camp/ Chimpanzee Guest House/Isunga Lodge/Turaco tree tops.
Semuliki National Park: Ntoroko Game Lodge.
Lake Mburo National park: Mburo Eagles Nest/Leopard Rest camp



The Rift Valley Birding & Chimpanzee Adventure - Uganda
A 9-day Birding photography trip covering Mabamba Swamp famous for “her” majestic shoebill stock that lingers in the marshy section of Lake Victoria, Read More

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