This Silverback was seen on our 2006 tour. Go to the bottom of the page to see more photos.
Africa inspired epic sagas of discovery in the Victorian Age. Livingstone and
Stanley’s quest for the Nile’s source filled newspapers. Reports of fearsome
beasts meant that only the most intrepid explorers ventured into the bush.
has changed since those times. Uganda is now enjoying unprecedented economic
growth. An excellent national park infrastructure gives economic benefits back
to the local people. The country is now reaping great rewards as the true value
of Churchill's "Pearl of Africa"
is recognised.Few African countries can match Uganda's diversity of habitats,
which are home to at least 23 Albertine Rift endemics among over one thousand
bird species in an area of similar size to the UK!
a thorough recce, all the ingredients for a wonderful trip fell into place. We
have now run two successful tours, with over 450 bird species being the
supporting cast to intimate sessions with Gorillas and Chimpanzees. The awesome
Shoebill Stork, our 2005 brochure cover bird and one of the continent's almost
mythical species played a starring role. We will visit the dancing grounds of
Grey Crowned Cranes, experience a massive bat cave and see acrobatic Black
Bee-eaters. Building on our experience, our 2007 tour is another Shoebill and
Hollywood's attempt to portray the Great Apes as monsters, Dian Fossey’s work
followed by Sir David Attenborough's TV encounter have showed a more gentle side
to the endangered Mountain Gorilla. To sit just feet from them and to see, hear
and smell them is something that words cannot convey.
On arriving in Entebbe we will
go straight to our hotel in Kampala. After freshening up we will visit Mabira
Forest for the afternoon. The next morning we will visit a site where we have
seen Shoebills in both 2005 and 2006. We will take a boat ride to see them along
with other birds that live in the papyrus beds of Lake Victoria. The boats
provide a relaxed way to look for Pygmy Goose and Long-toed Lapwing while
African Jacanas trot over lily pads. Malachite Kingfishers dart by and
Carruthers’ Cisticola, the first of several papyrus endemics, sing from the
tallest stems. Later in the day we will drive to Lake Mburu for one night.
Lake Mburu we should log
Broad-billed Rollers, Marabou Storks and Hooded Vultures, while Pied Hornbill
and Ross's Turaco are roadside birds. Wattled Plover and Red-chested Swallow
feed among Defassa Waterbuck, Tsessebe and Burchell's Zebra. Bare-faced
Go-away-birds, Nubian Woodpeckers and Black-headed Bush Shrikes are found in the
giant euphorbia. The pedigree Ankole cattle belonging to the royal family are
also found here.
next day we will take an early morning boat ride in search of African Finfoot.
This is possibly the most reliable site on the continent to find one. Hammerkop
and Papyrus Yellow Warbler are possible before we drive to Bwindi Impenetrable
Forest National Park for a three night stay.
will visit the higher elevation forest, one of the world's great natural
treasures providing home to various endemic birds. Ten species of primate occur
here including the beautiful L'Hoest's and Blue Monkeys and, of course, the
magnificent Mountain Gorilla. With a world population of just 650, Bwindi is one
of just two places where they still survive. Tourist revenue is vital to the
Gorillas’ survival. Our money provides education and medical facilities for
the locals who are proud of the park and welcome tourists. Villagers are even
giving farmland back to nature, to increase Gorilla and bird habitats. Uganda is
one of those countries where you feel that conservation is
working for both people and wildlife.
After a long hike we should
hopefully find a party of Gorillas. They can often be watched from just a few
feet away. In addition to tracking Gorillas, we will spend time searching for
birds along the trails that lead to a waterfall. We hope to see Rwenzori
Sunbird, Long-tailed Barred Cuckoo, White-starred Robin, African Blue
Flycatcher, Lhuder's Bush Shrike, and Green and African Broadbills.
AND LAKE BUNYONYI
seven we will drive to Mgahinga, the only other home of the Mountain Gorilla. We
will spend two nights in this, perhaps the most scenic part of Uganda, which is
also home to the Batwa (pygmy) tribes. We will search for more endemics at a
higher altitude in the shadow of the Virunga Volcanoes. The habitat changes to
echuya bamboo and then montane heath. Our guide is able to whistle the birds out
of the thickets and we will hope to see Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin,
Lagden’s Bush-Shrike and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird.
will then drive to Lake Bunyonyi for one night. A boat ride allows us to enter
some of the best papyrus beds in Uganda. The dazzling scarlet Papyrus Gonolek
will be a highlight along with Papyrus Canary and White-winged Warbler.
ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
day ten we transfer to Mweya Lodge overlooking the Kazinga Channel in Queen
Elizabeth NP for three nights. We can watch Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo.
Kob Antelope rut among scenic volcanic craters and in turn provide food for the
famous tree-climbing Lions. Grey Crowned Cranes have a dancing ground here,
Black-bellied Bustards rasp from termite mounds and Kurrichane Button Quail
creep through the grass. The Maramagambo Forest holds Cameroon Greenbuls,
African Emerald Cuckoo, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Blue-breasted Kingfisher and the
striking white-morph African Paradise Flycatcher. We will stand at the entrance
to a bat cave containing thousands of fruit bats.
boat trip allows us to see waterbirds at close proximity that will delight
photographers. African Skimmers flock here and waders along the shore can
include Spur-winged and Wattled Plovers. Water Dikkops roost by tree roots and
Pied Kingfishers perch on the backs of Hippos! Yellow-billed and Saddle-billed
Storks are seen along the shore, while African Fish Eagles are abundant! In
2006, we discovered the first Collared Flycatchers for Uganda.
day 13 we will drive back to Kampala, birding en route. We will spend the last
night here before our return flight.
GUIDES AND PACE
safari vehicle provides access to many difficult areas as well as insurance
against the unpredictability of Ugandan roads and weather. Our leader and a
Ugandan birdguide will be assisted by other local guides in the parks, where
specialist knowledge is essential. Daytime temperatures can be high, so early
morning excursions are made to maximise wildlife viewing opportunities. In Queen
Elizabeth NP viewing is only allowed from a vehicle, due to the presence of
large mammals. Basic fitness is all that is required. Walking will be at a
sensible pace with frequent stops to look at birds. There is some uphill walking
in hot humid conditions in the forest and it may rain and be muddy.
trekking involves a strenuous steep uphill walk in hot humid conditions,
rewarded by about one hour with the Gorillas (not guaranteed). The length of the
walk is dependent on where the animals are that day. On rare occasions Gorillas
can be seen from the lodge, so no two days are alike. Good physical fitness is
required. There is the opportunity to change your mind before trekking begins
and get part of your permit fee refunded. If you are unsure about trekking
conditions, please discuss it with us over the phone.
accommodation is provided with one night at the Hotel Africana, Kampala, one
night at Mantana Tented Camp, Lake Mburu, three nights at Gorilla Safari Camp,
Bwindi, two nights at Volcanoes Lodge, Mgahinga, one night at the Hotel Arcadia,
Lake Bunyonyi, three nights at Mweya Lodge, Queen Elizabeth NP, and the last
night at the Hotel Africana, Kampala. Hotels and lodges are all very pleasant
with comfortable rooms. At Lake Mburu, Bwindi and Mgahinga accommodation is in
comfortable permanent tented camps. All rooms and tents have en suite
facilities. Lunch is usually packed, but occasionally taken at the
accommodation, soft drinks at meal times, birdwatching excursions with expert
leader and local guide, boat trips, transport, park entrance fees, return
flights to Entebbe and airport taxes.
IS NOT INCLUDED
Our optional travel insurance,
payable at the time of booking. Visa (US$30 on arrival). Personal items,
alcoholic drinks, laundry, tips. The optional Gorilla permit must be requested
at the time of booking.
flights from London Heathrow to Entebbe, using the scheduled services of British
Airways. Outbound flight departs mid-evening, return flight arrives back
mid-afternoon. Shuttle flights are
available on this tour for £70 return (due at time of booking), from Manchester
and other regional airports.
permits sell quickly so, to guarantee one, we strongly recommend you book as
soon as possible.
13 nights including one overnight flight:
12th to 25th July 2007
Maximum group size:
10 clients with one leader and a local guide
(if you book before
29th March 2007):
at time of booking
(£80.00 for age 65 to 69)
(£116.00 for age 70 and over)
The pictures below were taken on our trips to Uganda.
African Finfoot taken on our 2006 Tour
Possibly the star bird of this tour, this Shoebill posed for us on our 2004 tour when we found five!
Red-throated Wryneck, Bwindi
Ross's Turaco, Bwindi.
Crowned Cranes near Kampala
Wattled Plovers, Lake Mburu.
African Skimmers, Queen Elizabeth Park.
Hippo on the Congo border.
Heuglin's Robin, Queen Elizabeth Park.
Giant Forest Hog, Queen Elizabeth Park.
Black-bellied Bustard, common in large grassland areas.
Ankole cattle, the pride of Uganda's farmers.
Dwarf Kingfisher can be a tricky bird to see in the forest.