& Fauna Field Tours
July 25 - August 8, 2010
|The East African country of Uganda offer some of the most exceptional wildlife experiences in Africa. From Mountain Gorillas in the famous Bwindi National Park and Chimpanzees in the luscious Kibale forest, to Shoebill and a myriad other birds, this tour certainly packs a significant punch!|
|One of the major highlights in
Uganda will be our close encounters with one of the
world’s greatest mammals, Mountain Gorilla. Although the gorilla trek can be strenuous, staring
into the eyes of a Mountain Gorilla from a few feet away is
nothing short of a life-changing experience. A single Mountain
Gorilla survives per 10 million people and to have the
opportunity to meet these gentle giants and be part of their
family group for an hour is a rare privilege indeed, rated by
many to be the greatest wildlife experience on the planet
! Another great highlight in Uganda is the fact that
it boasts a
remarkable bird list of over 1000 species, all this in a country
approximately the size of Great Britain, making it arguably, the
richest African birding destination.
We start the Uganda tour in the mystical Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Home to gorillas and 23 Albertine Rift Endemics, this incredible place offers superb birding in an idyllic setting. Hunting for Albertine Rift endemics will take centre stage here, and will make for an interesting time in this fantastic forest! One of the star birds in this park is the sought after Grauer’s Broadbill, a little green gem that worldwide is only accessible in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Next, we move on to the vast Queen Elizabeth NP. Straddling the Equator, this park boasts impressive crater lake scenery, expansive grasslands and forests, huge herds of Elephant and Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and a diverse array of birds. The famous boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes George and Edward, is one of the most productive birding excursions on the planet!
Further north we will spend time in the towering riches of Kibale Forest, this reserve protects a diverse array of primates from the minuscule, nocturnal Demidoff’s Galago to our closest living relative, the Chimpanzee, not forgetting the outstanding Green-breasted Pitta! We will take expeditions to observe both these and many other species of primates and birds. As we near the end of this amazing exploration we will visit the incredible Murchison Falls, where the Nile is forced through a six metre gap, forming the most powerful water surge on the planet. Boat cruises on the calmer stretches will allow us to watch and photograph the birds and animals which throng the banks, and here, we can expect to find one of the world’s most wanted birds, the bizarre Shoebill. We will spend the balance of our time exploring the park’s broadleaved woodlands, dry grasslands and forests, including nocturnal expeditions to find the incomparable Pennant-winged Nightjar!
This tour provides a superb mix
of Uganda, staying at some of Africa’s top lodges,
Day 1, 25th July: Flight to Entebbe, Uganda. Transfer to Central Inn for overnight stay.
Day 2, 26th July: After breakfast, we drive to Mabamba Wetlands, where you will be paddled in a canoe through the swamp, searching for the mighty Shoebill and other birds such as Lesser Jacana, Long-toed Plover, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-Eater, and many others. After passing through the swamp, we will look for the beautiful Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, Weyn's and Northern Brown-throated Weavers. Lunch enroute. Dinner and overnight at Mihingo Lodge.
Day 3, 27th July: Today we depart after early morning birding and drive to our destination the seldom-visited
higher camp in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The ranger station at Ruhija is situated at an altitude of 7500 feet, with breathtaking views over steep,
forested valleys toward the distant Virunga Volcanoes.
Our accommodation for the next three nights is at the Buhoma Community Camp. This is a tented camp with beautiful tents that are self contained with hot running water and ensuite bathrooms.
Day 4, 28th July: Bwindi Impenetrable NP. We will concentrate after breakfast on a trek to find Gorillas. We will visit the highest elevation forest to find endemic birds as well as the Gorillas. Gorillas are often watched from just a few feet away.
other target species include Mountain and Augur Buzzards, Rufous-breasted
the furtive Handsome Francolin, African Olive Pigeon, Cape Parrot, Black-billed Turaco,
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Western Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker,
Thick-billed, Least, and the elusive Dwarf Honeyguides, Black Saw-wing, Grey Cuckooshrike,
Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Olive Thrush, White-starred Robin, Archer's Ground
Robin, Stripe-breasted Tit, the beautiful Grey-chested Babbler (Illadopsis), Mountain
Illadopsis, African Hill Babbler (the local form often treated as a full species, Rwenzori Hill Babbler),
Mountain Masked, Rwenzori, and Chestnut-throated Apalises, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Mountain
Yellow Warbler Red-faced Woodland Warbler, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-eyed Black
Rwenzori Batis, Mountain Sooty Boubou, the rare Lagden’s
Bushshrike, Sharpe’s Starling, Mountain Oriole, Strange
Weaver, and Oriole Finch. Flowering trees attract the incredible
breasted Sunbird as well as Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, all three being extremely beautiful
Albertine Rift Endemics. Dusky, Red-faced and the elusive Shelley’s Crimsonwings, amongst the most
beautiful and sought-after of African seedeaters, are possible at Ruhija. At night we will set out to
search for Rwenzori Nightjar, African Wood-Owl and Spectacled Galago. If we are very fortunate,
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl may be seen.
If we are able to return from tracking early, we will spend the remainder of the day birding. Lunch, dinner and overnight at BCRC.
Day 5, 6 : 29th/30th July: To Buhoma via “The Neck”. Although the distance is not large, we will
spend the entire day on this route due to the superb birding it provides. Cultivated areas near to Ruhija
provide feeding opportunities for many seedeaters. Our main targets here will be the highly sought-
after Dusky Twinspot and Yellow-bellied, Black-headed and Black-crowned Waxbills. Eurasian
Stonechat, Streaky and Thick-billed Seedeaters, African Citril and Yellow-crowned Canary may also
be found here. Noisy Chubb’s Cisticolas will mock us from deep within the bracken, and the beautiful
Doherty’s Bushshrike can be lured out from the dense vegetation. Mackinnon’s Shrikes survey the road
from high, exposed perches.
Further along the road, we will pass through Kitahurira or “The Neck,’ another well-known
birding locality. Here we will search for species such as Black Sparrowhawk, Western Bronze-naped
Pigeon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Cassin’s Honeybird, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, White-chinned Prinia,
the enigmatic Chapin’s Flycatcher, Mountain Wagtail, Pink-footed Puffback, the rare Tiny Sunbird and
the attractive Brown-capped Weaver.
In scrubby areas closer to Buhoma, we will search for Ross’s Turaco, Rufous-throated Wryneck,
Brown-backed Scrub Robin, Bronze, Copper and Variable Sunbirds, Baglafecht, Black-necked and
African Golden Weavers, Yellow Bishop, Village Indigobird and Black-throated Canary.
will reach the headquarters of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
at Buhoma. The Park is an UNESCO World
Heritage Site and is home to
approximately half of the world population of 600 Mountain Gorillas. This vast reserve offers arguably
the most productive montane forest birding in Africa and supports 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift
endemic bird species. Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in
neighbouring Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is now an ecological island within a sea of
human cultivation and therefore of immense conservation importance.
| Buhoma lies in the valley of the Munyaga River at
5100 feet and is flanked by
steep, forested hills. Excellent forest birding, not least the prospect of numerous rare and localised
Albertine Rift endemics, makes this a true birding Mecca.
7, 31st July: Buhoma to Queen Elizabeth NP. Finally we will bid
farewell to this magical forest and
head for the open savannas of Queen Elizabeth National Park. If conditions allow, we will drive through
the extensive southern Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth National Park en route to the spacious Hippo Hill
Lodge. Savanna bird and mammal species are likely to be seen, and we may be fortunate in sighting
Ishasha’s famous tree-climbing Lions. The elusive Scaly Francolin is another species that we hope to find
on this route.
Hippo Hill Lodge, within the park boundary, is situated on a peninsula between the Kazinga
Channel and Lake Edward. Excellent service and a wide variety of food are served in the dining area whilst one enjoys the stunning views and wildlife not far way. Birding around the lodge itself is rewarding, with resident spectacular species
including Grey-headed Kingfisher, Slender-billed and Black-headed (Yellow-backed) Weaver, Whitebrowed Robin-Chat, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-headed Gonolek and Red-chested Sunbird.
|Day 8, 1st
August: Queen Elizabeth NP. We will spend time birding in the
spectacular Crater area in
the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and the main game-viewing area along the Kasenyi track. Species
that will be the focus of our search include Rüppell's Vulture, Bateleur (one of Africa’s most spectacular
raptors), Brown Snake Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Grey Kestrel, Red-necked Spurfowl, Harlequin Quail, Kurrichane and the rarely encountered
Black-rumped Buttonquails, African Crake,
Pied Avocet, Temminck’s Courser, Senegal and Crowned Lapwings, the marsh dwelling Black Coucal,
Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Greater Honeyguide,
Flappet, Rufous-naped, Red-capped and the scarce
White-tailed Larks, Plain-backed Pipit, Fan-tailed Grassbird,
Croaking, Red-faced, and Stout
Cisticolas, Marsh Tchagra, Black-lored Babbler, Southern Red Bishop, flocks of Red-billed Quelea,
Red-billed Firefinch and Black-chinned Quailfinch.
A highlight of the tour is the launch trip on the Kazinga Channel, which allows a close approach to African Buffalo and Hippopotamus, as well as numerous waterbirds. Amongst many others, we hope to find White-breasted Cormorant, two species of pelicans, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Glossy Ibis, African Wattled Lapwing, Water Thick-knee, several species of gulls and terns, Swamp Flycatcher and Winding Cisticola.
Mammals will also be a highlight in this area. Species we have a good chance of finding are Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyaena, African Elephant, African Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Bushbuck, Hippopotamus, Common Warthog, and the spectacular Giant Forest-Hog, the largest and undeniably ugliest pig on earth. Ov. Vanilla Lodge.
|Day 9, 2nd
August: Queen Elizabeth NP to Kibale NP. Today we depart QENP
and head for Kibale
Forest, a large forest bloc in western Uganda that is contiguous with QENP. The craters scenery and
distant Rwenzori Mountains (if visibility is good!) make for breathtaking scenery. We should arrive in
the forest in time for a visit to Bigodi Wetland, an area of swamp forest that is a good place to see
Central African Colobus and L’Hoest’s Monkey. Avian targets here include the dazzling Shining-blue
Kingfisher, Black-and-white (Shrike) Flycatcher, the miniature bantam-like White-spotted Flufftail and
Brown Illadopsis. Ov. Vanilla Lodge.
|Day 10, 03rd
August: Kibale NP. The towering Kibale Forest has the highest
and species diversity of any reserve in East Africa. Primate highlights might include sightings of
localised Central African Red Colobus, L'Hoest's Monkey (Uganda’s rarest monkey) and the scruffy
Grey-cheeked Mangabey. We will also embark on a Chimpanzee trek. Our chances of finding these,
our closest living relatives, are excellent. The birds are typical of medium-altitude forest, with excellent
mixed species flocks and specials such as Afep and the globally-threatened White-naped Pigeons, Red-
chested Owlet, Narina Trogon, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Shrike-
flycatcher, Superb and Green-headed Sunbirds, Chestnut Wattle-eye and Black-and-white Mannikin.
major target for the day will be the highly sought after
Green-breasted Pitta, a stunning and
difficult to see resident of the forest floor. Seeing one of these gems will entail a lot of hard work (and
luck!), but the reward truly is exceptional.
Later in the day, we may take a night drive through the forest that could produce Demidoff’s and
Thomas’s galagos (more commonly known as bushbabies), African Civet, and if we are very
fortunate, Potto -a primitive, slow-moving primate -the gliding Lord Derby’s Anomalure, arboreal
Servaline Genet and African Palm Civet. Ov. Tooro Lodge.
|Day 11, 04th
August: Kibale NP to Masindi. Our route now takes us north from
Kibale Forest to the
mosaic of farmland, broad-leaved and Acacia woodland and wetlands surrounding Masindi. This
morning we will stop at a patch of forest which generally provides superb birding. Our target species
will include Dusky Long-tailed and African Emerald Cuckoos (the latter particularly common and
conspicuous at this site), Joyful Greenbul, Lowland Masked Apalis, Cassin’s Flycatcher, Black-andwhite
Flycatcher, Many-colored and Lühder's Bushshrikes, Afep Pigeon, Chestnut-winged Starling,
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Dark-backed Weaver and if we are very lucky, the rare White-naped Pigeon.
en route will visit areas of papyrus swamp where we will target
papyrus specials including
Blue-headed Coucal, the stunning Papyrus Gonolek, the skulking White-winged Swamp Warbler, Greater
Swamp Warbler and Carruthers’s Cisticola. The surrounding woodlands and agricultural lands are also
rich in birdlife. Here we will look for Red-headed Lovebird, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, African Blue
Flycatcher, Compact Weaver, Brown Twinspot, and the beautiful Grey-headed and White-collared Olivebacks.
Ov. Tooro Lodge.
12, 05th August: Masindi to Murchison Falls NP. This morning, we
will bird Kaniyo Pabidi (a
section of the mighty Budongo Forest), situated within the southern sector of the Murchison Falls NP,
and the only known site in East Africa for Puvel’s Illadopsis. Other birds we will search for include
Brown Illadopsis, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Grey and Yellow Longbill and Nahan’s Francolin. If we
are very fortunate, we may obtain a glimpse of some rare and desirable birds that occur here,
possibilities include Green-breasted Pitta, Rufous-sided Broadbill and Black-eared Ground Thrush.
Flocks of Crested Guineafowl, sporting their “punk hair-do’s” are however, more regularly
encountered. A healthy Chimpanzee population survives, and the giant Chequered Elephant-Shrew is
our picnic lunch in the shady forest, we will drive further
north into the woodland section
of the park. Here, we will search for Vinaceous Dove, Black-billed Wood Dove, Senegal Coucal,
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Whistling Cisticola, Buff-bellied Warbler, the elegant Silverbird, Black-
headed Batis, Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bushshrikes, White-crested Helmetshrike, Western
Violet-backed and Beautiful Sunbirds and Fawn-breasted and Black-rumped Waxbills. Murchison Falls
NP is Uganda's largest national park and famous for its big game and spectacular scenery, not least the
falls for which the park was named. After checking into our lodge, we will depart for the awe inspiring
falls, a place where a good portion of the thundering Nile is forced through a six metre cleft in the rock,
with spectacular results. The vista point at the top of the waterfall offers incredible views of the
Victoria Nile boiling down the narrow gorge. Bare, rocky islets are favoured perches and breeding sites
of Rock Pratincole. We should see large numbers of these attractive waders wheeling in the spray of
the falls. Thick riverine forest in this vicinity is home to the magnificent White-crested Turaco, often
considered the most beautiful member of its striking family, Double-toothed Barbet, Yellow-throated
Leaflove, Spotted Palm Thrush, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, the localised
Red-winged Grey Warbler and Purple-banded Sunbird. As dusk approaches, a huge emergence of bats
fills the sky, and with luck might attract a Bat Hawk that sometimes puts on a phenomenal display of
flying to catch these winged mammals! Ov. Paara Lodge.
Day 13, 06th August: Murchison Falls NP. We have a full day for exploration of the park. We will take a launch trip along the Victoria Nile, to the Lake Albert Delta where the west-flowing Victoria Nile makes an abrupt turn and becomes the north-flowing Albert Nile.
A plethora of waterbirds throng the well-wooded banks of the river and today, we can expect to find the Shoebill, most birders prime attraction to Uganda! This charismatic species, the only representative in its family, is certainly amongst the most sought-after birds in the world. We will make a special effort to get close to and spend time observing the “King Whalehead.” The huge Shoebill usually stands motionless on the edge of channels waiting for a hapless catfish and sometimes allows close approach. In the heat of the day, Shoebills often soar over the Nile, an impressive sight indeed. Other water birds abound and we hope to see Darter, Yellow-billed Egret, Goliath and Purple Herons, Woolly-necked and Yellow-billed Storks, Hamerkop (near their giant stick nests), Egyptian and Spur- winged Geese, Osprey, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Swamphen, the regal Grey Crowned Crane (Uganda’s national bird), Senegal Thick-knee, Long-toed and Spur-winged Lapwings, African Jacana, flocks of African Skimmer resting on the sandbanks, Malachite and Giant Kingfishers and the dashing Wire-tailed Swallow. Burrows in the river banks represent colonies of either colourful Red- throated Bee-eater or querulous Pied Kingfisher and elegant Red-necked Falcon frequent palm trees which line the banks. In addition to the birds, large numbers of huge Nile Crocodile, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Vervet Monkey and Olive Baboon are often seen at very close range, and herds of African Elephant sometimes bath en masse in the shallows.
scenic area north of the Nile holds a number of birds typical of
dry savanna. We will search
here for Abdim’s Stork, Secretarybird, Black-chested Snake Eagle, Tawny and Martial Eagles, Shikra,
Dark Chanting Goshawk, Harlequin Quail, Heuglin's Francolin, Helmeted Guineafowl, flocks of
Collared Pratincole, Black-headed Lapwing, Swallow-tailed and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Black
Scimitarbill, Short-winged and Black-backed Cisticolas, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Great Sparrow, Bar-
breasted Firefinch and African Quail-Finch. A few birds with their ranges centred on the Sahel reach
their southern limits here: we hope to find the stately Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, gaudy Abyssinian
Roller, White-fronted Black Chat, the beautiful Pygmy Sunbird and White-rumped Seedeater.
Mammals are well represented here, and we may see Bushbuck, Giraffe (belonging to the endangered
form known as Rothschild’s Giraffe), African Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Oribi, Defassa Waterbuck and
with luck, the shy Patas Monkey. This is also one of the best places in Uganda to find Lion.
The moist, grassy woodland to the south of the Nile is very different from that of the North bank and
supports a host of localised birds including Brown-backed Woodpecker, Brown Babbler, Red-winged
Warbler, the unusually proportioned Purple Starling, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Black-bellied
Firefinch, Cabanis’ and Brown-rumped Buntings, and if we are fortunate, Bat Hawk, African Cuckoo-Hawk,
White-breasted Cuckooshrike and Red-winged Pytilia.
Other species which we will search for here are African Cuckoo, African Grey Hornbill, Grey
Woodpecker, Northern and Red-faced Crombecs, African Paradise Flycatcher (often of the spectacular
white morph), Northern Puffback, Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagras, Tropical Boubou and
In the evening, we will embark on a night drive in search of one of Africa’s most sought-after
birds: the Pennant-winged Nightjar. Witnessing a male Pennant-winged Nightjar fluttering up from the
track, his regal pennants trailing behind him, is likely to be a highlight of the trip. Other possibilities
include Spotted Thick-knee, Greyish Eagle-Owl, Northern White-faced Owl and Slender-tailed, Long-
tailed, Plain and Swamp Nightjars. Nocturnal mammals which we may encounter include Serval,
White-tailed Mongoose, African Civet, Crested Porcupine, Blotched and Common Genets and Uganda
Grass-Hare. Ov. Paara Lodge.
Day 14, 07th August: After final birding in Murchison Falls National Park, we will begin the drive
to Entebbe stopping en route for more birding opportunities.
Ov. Airport Road Hotel.
|Day 15, 08th August:
We will bird the Botanical Gardens today.
In the evening we will transfer to the Airport for our international flight home.
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS: The fee for the tour is US$ 3,285 per person in double occupancy from Entebbe, Uganda. This includes all meals from Lunch on day 1 to Lunch on day 14, water throughout the tour, and accommodations as stated in the itinerary, ground transportation during the tour, gorilla and chimpanzee permits, and guide services provided by the tour leader. It does not include airfare from your home to Entebbe, Uganda and return, passport and visa fees, airport departure taxes, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, phone calls, laundry, or items of a personal nature. Rates are based upon group tariffs, if the tour does not have sufficient registration, a small-party supplement may have to be The single supplement for this tour is US$ 340. You will be charged a single supplement if you desire single accommodations, or if you prefer to share but have no roommate and we cannot provide one for you. If you request single accommodations, every attempt to grant your request will be made.
NOTE: These costs are subject to major foreign exchange fluctuations and
increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result. Furthermore, we may be
forced to change or alter the itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances but please be aware that
we will attempt to stick as close to the original program as possible.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DETAILS:
This tour does not include any international airfares. On the first day of the tour we have a full day’s birding and thus it is highly recommended that you arrive before 8am on this day or the day before the tour starts. The tour will conclude in the late afternoon/early evening of day 15 at Entebbe International Airport. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance in this regard kindly contact our office.
Entebbe is the main port of entry for international flights in Uganda and is well serviced by most of the world’s major airlines. As our guests come from all over the planet we do not include international flights in our tour prices. We have the capacity to advise you on the best route according to your preferences but your local travel agent will best be able to book these flights for you. If you would like further assistance kindly contact the FFF office, we have a full-time in-house travel consultant that will happily help you plan your route. However, please DO NOT book your international flights until you have consulted the FFF office for confirmation on the status of the tour.
• In some areas, it can be quite hot. On most mornings, we will be up and out very early and the days will be long with most of the day dedicated to exploring for birds and mammals. • At times, we may be walking on narrow and/or steep forest trails (entirely optional) to find a few special birds. Our pace will, however, be slow as we bird in the forests. • This Uganda tour does not require a high level of fitness but participants should be in good general health as much of the forest birding will be done on foot and may require walking for several hours at a time. There will be a few lengthy drives and many of the days will be long with early starts. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of departure. • The gorilla trek at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest generally involves several hours of strenuous walking on steep slopes, often off-trail. The chance of finding the gorillas is very high, but on some occasions in the past the trackers have not been able to locate the mobile family groups.
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