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This is a 9 Day Birding and Wildlife Safari that covers the Major Birding National Park in Uganda, including Kibale National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. Other key areas will include Mabamba Swamp and Budongo Forest Royal Mile. You will meet with your professional birding guide and set off on a 6-hour drive to Kibale National Park, where over 335 rainforest species have been recorded.
Upon your arrival in Uganda through Entebbe International Airport, you will be welcome by our birding guide and transfer to the hotel in Kampala. We reserve this day for an afternoon transfer to Mabamba wetland in Mpigi famed for the famous bizarre SHOE-BILL. Sightings in the wetland may include the Gonolek, Woodland kingfisher, and groups of the shoe-bill and many more.
Have an early breakfast. Meet with your professional birding guide and set off on a 6-hour drive to Kibale National Park, where over 335 rainforest species have been recorded. In addition, Kibale harbors a remarkable 13 species of primates including the Red Colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, and red-tailed and vervet monkey.
Kibale Forest has the highest number of recorded sightings of Green-breasted pitta. Other birds you can expect to sight include African pitta, Grey-winged Robin, Red-winged Francolin, Joyful Greenbul, white pigeon, Abyssinian ground thrush, white-spotted Flufftail, White-bellied crested flycatcher, Leaf-love, African broadbill, Will cock’s honeyguide, and Scaly throated honeyguide. We organize an evening birding excursion in the rain forest. After the forest walks, check in to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
This morning after breakfast, we begin by birding in the Kibale forest following the nature walk trail. Some birds you can expect to see on this trek include the Black-throated Apalis, African Shrike-flycatcher, Brown and scaly breasted illadopsis, White-napped and Afep pigeons, red chested owlet and yellow-billed barbets. After lunch, continue your birding in the Bigodi wetland sanctuary where you might be lucky to spot the rare broad bill, also Bigodi is famed for some endemic Albertine rift valley bird species. Bird your way back to your lodge for dinner and overnight as before.
After an early breakfast, we proceed to Semliki National park birding along the way. This park represents the remainder of the Congo-basin vegetation in Uganda. It is ranked number 2 in Uganda’s birding spots. Famous species you could find here include Black-throated causal, Grey-throated rail, Nkulengu rail, long-tailed hawk, yellow-throated Nicator, Northern bearded scrub robin, Red-chested Owlet, Red-rumped tinker-bird, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Rufous-sided broad-bill, Icterine Greenbul, Pale-fronted negro finch, pip dwarf, and black dwarf. Spend the whole day in search of these birds with a break for your Picnic lunch.
We start at dawn after an early breakfast and set off with our packed lunch. We spend the whole day bird watching the Kirumya Trail or any other part of the forest depending on the reliable information from our site guides. The Forest is home to some of the Congo bio-me species. These include Red-billed, Black-wattled, Black-billed and White-crested Hornbill, African Piculet, Black-chested Cuckoo, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Nkurengu Rail, White-bellied, Dwarf, and Pygmy Kingfishers, Piping Turaco. Once again, dinner and overnight at your Lodge.
On this day, we have a morning birding session in Semliki forest for more sightings of more bird species and later; we transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park birding along the way. Evening games drive if you are up to it for chances of some wildlife including lions, elephants, buffaloes and more while birding on the way. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Early morning birding excursion after breakfast along the royal mile for sightings of more bird species including the Pin-tailed Whydah, chestnut sparrow, a variety of sunbirds and later return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, we take a two-hour boat trip on the Kazinga Channel to spot a wealth of more birds. Birding in the evening along the northern plains of the park before returning to the lodge for dinner and overnight at the night before.
After an early breakfast, we set off to Lake Mburo National Park. during Your drive to Lake Mburo, you enjoy the birding on your way and some birds that you can encounter are long-crested Eagles, Pin-tailed whydah, fiscals ring-necked doves and so many others.
After your Lunch embarks for your evening, birding in the park in search of birds and continue for your boat at 4 pm. Evening birding as you wide up to your hotel for the dinner and overnight.
This day is reserved for international flights through Entebbe International Airport. The drive passes you on the Uganda Equator as you stand on the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. So many Birds to see on your way back to Entebbe.
You are required to purchase a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. Tourist visas can be bought in advance via the embassy or consulate in your country or simply purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Photos are not required and a single entry tourist visa costs US$ 100 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.
If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows 90-days multiple entries to Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.
A number of different vaccinations are recommended and/or required before entering Uganda. A certificate proving you have had the Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into Uganda. Immunizations against DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio) and Hepatitis A are recommended as well.
Besides bringing mosquito repellent, we also advise you to take malaria ‘prophylactics’ (prevention medication).
The following cancellation charges apply to the basic program rate:
60 days or more prior to arrival 10% charge
59 – 32 days prior to arrival 25% charge
31 – 8 days prior to arrival 50% charge
7 – 3 days prior to arrival 75% charge
48 hours or less prior to arrival 100% charge
Empathy Tours reserves the right to deduct all expenses incurred from money paid.
Gorilla & Chimpanzee permits and air tickets are 100% non-refundable.
No refunds will be made for any unused services, late arrival or no-show of any of the members of the tour.
Solo travelers are very welcome! However, to minimize your costs we would suggest joining a group. Although we can try and arrange this for you, we cannot guarantee we can find a group whose interests, budget and preferred route correspond to yours, especially during the low season.
If you would like to stay in a single room please notify us well in advance and we will try to meet your request. Please bear in mind that single rooms are not common and it is more likely that you will be offered single occupancy of a double room. A single room supplement will apply.
Once you have confirmed the final itinerary with us, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 30%. Gorilla permits must be paid for in full at the time of booking. Note that the availability of accommodation and permits is not guaranteed until officially confirmed by Empathy Tours. Accommodation, permit and activity reservations will be made as soon as payment has been received on our account.
For your convenience, the balance payment of 70% should be settled before the start of your safari. We accept payment by bank transfer in either dollar to our bank account in Uganda. Please note that all bank charges are at the expense of the client.
Accommodation falls into three categories: budget, mid-range or luxury.
Budget accommodation may be simple and basic rooms, bandas or tents, with double/twin beds and mosquito nets when necessary. Private bathrooms are not always available and you may have to share bathroom facilities.
3-star, 4-star and 5-star accommodation offer comfortable rooms or luxury furnished safari tents with a private bathroom. Flush toilets and hot and cold running water are available. Mosquito nets will be provided where necessary.
All Uganda lodges are carefully selected and frequently visited by Empathy Tours staff, to monitor quality and service levels. The majority of safari lodges and hotels are small-scale, offering a unique location and ambiance, and usually have a maximum of eight rooms.
We offer tailor-made safaris for any number of participants. There is no minimum number for a group tour, although the bigger the group, the more attractive the price will be.
Officially, Uganda’s dry seasons are from December/January through to mid-March and from June through mid-September. These dry months are the most popular with tourists, with July and August and Christmas and New Year being the peak seasons.
The most rain falls in October-November and April-May. However, this doesn’t mean that it rains all day, nor does it mean it will rain every day. Usually, there’s a tropical shower at night or a shorter shower during the day, but in Uganda, you can trust that after rain comes sunshine!
The weather is no reason to avoid traveling in the wet season – you might even consider it because of the easy availability of gorilla permits.
As in the rest of the world, the East African climate is changing, making it more difficult for us to predict the weather during your safari. However, in Uganda, the temperature is very stable and pleasant, with sunshine almost 365 days a year. During the day, the temperature averages between 23 and 27°C, although in some places it can be quite cool at night.
One remarkable aspect of Uganda safaris is: whether you travel in the dry, dusty months or in the wet season, you will never find the crowded tourism like in Kenya or Tanzania. If you spot a lion or leopard, it is very likely that you will be the only one to see it – even in peak season!