Prolific Bird Life in Uganda – Africa

Bird Life in Uganda

To most people allover the world, Uganda is mostly known for inhabiting half of the world’s last remaining population of the mountain gorillas found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Records have it that, mountain gorillas are in danger of extinction with only 880 individuals left in the whole world. Half of this population is found in the Virunga chain of volcanic mountains shared amongst Uganda (Mgahinga National Park), Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National park). The other population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National park in south western Uganda. Gorilla tourism is developing on a very high rate as many people fly from different parts of the world to see this endangered specie of gorillas in Africa. Uganda and Rwanda gorilla trekking permits are on very high demand throughout the year, and those interested in taking a gorilla trip are advised to book early your gorilla permits in advance. Gorilla permits can be booked through Travel Agents or Responsible bodies like Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB). There is also a possibility of tracking gorillas twice in both countrie since the gorilla parks are not far from each other, that is to say, it takes less than 2 hours to connect from Volcanoes National park in Rwanda to Southern Bwindi National Park in Uganda.

shoebill

Today, the world should know that Uganda is not only known for mountain gorillas but also for birding adventure in Africa. The country ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world, offering an unbeatable combination of variety of birds, well developed transport systems, a user-friendly and supportive birding tourism industry.  Birders from around the world come to experience both the great variety of typically African birds, migrants, and endemics – those birds found only in Uganda. These birders enjoy excellent birding, whether they are with an organized commercial birding tour or are touring independently.

Of Over 1000 species that have been recorded in Uganda, about 80% are residents or annual visitors and 50 are near- endemic to Uganda, and can only be seen in the country.  Apart from the resident birds, Uganda hosts a number of African migrants such as cormorants, Goose and lapwings, as well as birds from the Arctic, Europe, Central Asia, China and Antarctica during the year.

The Birding Seasons in Uganda

The northern part tends to be dry over much of the country, but wet in the west along the Albertine rift.  At this time, excellent birding can be had in the Albertine rift areas of the southwest, complemented by outstanding game viewing.  Trips especially those that run out of Kampala, offer the chance to see large numbers of kingfishers, eagles, weavers and vultures.  The wet season brings the first of the breeding migrants from further north in Africa, and also heralds the start of the breeding season for the resident species. As the weavers and bishops emerge, so the cuckoos arrive from warmer parts and the breeding season bursts into action.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

With the progression of wet season in Uganda into dry, the non-breeding migrants start to arrive from distant climes, mainly from Europe. At this time of the year birding reaches its peak, with widespread breeding activity and most of the migrant species around. The summer highs continue into the New Year, until migrants start to leave during April.

Key Birding Areas

The endemics, those birds found only in Uganda, are obviously one of the major attractions for birders visiting the country. Many of these endemic species are found in the grasslands, mountains, wetlands and southwestern regions.  The following areas offer exceptional birding experiences, but really great birding can be had in many other parts of the country at any time of the year.

Mabamba Swamp: The central wetlands are a key area for birders, holding a number of special wetland species, and one of the most visited destinations in Uganda. It is located on the edge of Lake Victoria, northwest of Entebbe peninsula. Mabamba swamp is visited by most of the birding tours that come to Uganda and as a result it has well-developed facilities, including resident guides. The special birds of this area are the shoebill, the blue swallow, papyrus Gonolek, Carruthers’s Cisticola, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Northern Brown-throated Weaver and Papyrus Canary.

Mabamba Swamp Birding

Mabamba Swamp Birding

Lake Bisina: it is a freshwater lake in eastern Uganda well known for its notable birds including Shoebill, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Papyrus Canary, Fox’s Weaver and Red-chested Sunbird among others.
Lutembe Bay—located on the edge of Lake Victoria, the bay is notable for its population of white-winged tern as well as other distinguished birds including Carruthers’s Cisticola, Grey-headed Gull, Sterna nilotica, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Sharpe’s Pied-babbler, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Red-chested Sunbird and Papyrus Canary.
Musambwa Island—sited about 10 kilometers offshore from Kasensero Landing site in Sango Bay region, the island is the breeding ground for the grey headed gulls as well as other  species of birds Including the Long Tailed Cormorant, Greater Cormorant and the Little Egret.

bisinia-lake

Birding at Bisinia lake

Birding Facilities

Many of game reserves and national parks throughout Uganda provide excellent opportunities for birders of all descriptions. These facilities include trails, hides, information sheets and checklists and trained bird guides.  Local guides and birding experts can be hired in many places. Some companies offer specialist birding tours, lasting from a few hours to a couple of weeks.

Birding Specialists in Uganda

Once you choose to take a birding safari in Uganda, you are advised to book your trip with one of the credible birding companies such as Birding journeys Uganda, African Jungle Adventures, Abacus Africa Vacations, Birding in Uganda, Africa Adventures Safaris, Active African Vacations, Prime Uganda Safaris and Bird Uganda among others. The fact that Uganda is endowed with a big variety of wildlife, your birding safari will be spiced with other game viewing including the Big 5 animals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Lions, Leopards and Rhinos in Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary, not forgetting gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest or Mgahinga National Park in south western Uganda.

Short Tours in Uganda – Weekend Gataways

1 Day Royal Heritage Trail Tour

Itinerary

Your drive driver/ guide will pick you from your hotel from where you will start the drive to Bulange, then to Twekobe before driving on to the Kabaka’s Lake.

Drive on to Kasubi Tombs which is a huge dome like structure that houses the remains of four former Buganda Kings: Mutesa I, Muwanga II, Daudi Chwa II and Edward Mutesa II.

Lunch break at Ekitobero Restaurant where you will be treated to an African Buffet

Visit Namasoles place in Kanyanya before transferring to the National Museum where you will be able to see a unique collection of ethnological exhibits as well as a great collection of traditional musical instruments.

Head back to town. End of Excursion

The above Includes:

All Entry fees

Ground transportation

Services of a professional English Speaking driver / guide and his allowances

Fuel (Gas)

The above excludes:

Local & International Flights

Airport transfers

Drinks

Tips

Accommodation in Kampala (day prior & on completion of the excursion)

Souvenirs

Plus any other items of personal nature

Please note: This excursion starts and ends in Kampala. Also note that pick up from any other place can always be arranged on request.

 

Kabaka's Lake in Kampala

Kabaka’s Lake in Kampala

 

ENTEBBE CITY TOUR

Itinerary

Your driver/ guide will pick you from your hotel from where you will start the drive to

Kigungu which also happens to be the first landing spot for the church missionary fathers to Uganda

Proceed to Entebbe International Airport, then to the lake side Botanical Gardens.

Lunch break at Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel where you will have a continental or traditional Uganda style buffet

Transfer to Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC). UWEC originally started as an animal orphanage in the 1920s has gradually grown to be a show place of various flora and fauna. Flora and fauna to look out for include the lion, buffalo, rhinos, primates like colobus monkeys, baboons, chimps and many bird species.

Later head back to Kampala. End of Excursion

The above Includes:

All Entry Fees

Private Transportation as per the itinerary.

Services of a professional English Speaking driver / guide and his allowances

Fuel (Gas)

The above excludes:

Local & International Flights

Airport transfers

Drinks

Tips

Accommodation in Kampala (day prior & on completion of the excursion)

Souvenirs

Plus any other items of personal nature

Please note: This excursion starts and ends in Kampala. Also note that pick up from any other place can always be arranged on request.

uwec

 

1 Day White Water Rafting,Bungee Jumping, Kayaking, horse riding and Quad biking

This one day water rafting trip is ideal for those with a day to spare when visiting Kampala – Uganda

Early in the morning meet & greet with your driver /guide – Sheraton Hotel parking yard at 7:30 am from where you will be transferred to Jinja. You will then be given a briefing on your safety which will be followed by a practical training prior to the start of the raft. You will raft for close to 31kms.

Other activities in Jinja include Bungee Jumping, Kayaking, horse riding and Quad biking among others.

You will be dropped off at Sheraton parking yard in Kampala.

The above Includes:

1 meal (Lunch)

Rafting Fees

Transport in a Coaster bus (To & fro Kampala)

An English Speaking driver / Guide

Fuel (Gas)

The above excludes:

Local & International Flights

Airport transfers

Drinks

Tips

Accommodation in Kampala (day prior & on completion of the excursion)

Souvenirs

Plus any other items of personal nature

Please note: This excursion starts and ends in Kampala. Also note that pick up from any other place can always be arranged on request.

Must to Activities on Uganda & Rwanda Tour

What to do in Uganda?

While on safaris to Africa continent, there are activities that you want to do to enrich your experiences. Well the excellent news is that Uganda has a lot to offer to tourists and this gives reasons why one should not skip Uganda while on a safari in Africa.

White water rafting is one of the exciting adventures activities done on the River Nile. Enjoy this adventure activity and become wild while exploring beautiful longest river in the world. This is an experience you will love to take with you back home.

African Elephant

African Elephant

Uganda offers diverse choices to her visitors simply because the country is blessed with diversity in attractions. Trekking down to Bwindi National Park offers surprising experience as you encounter with the Batwa community and also engaging in gorilla tracking, one of the best adventurous activities to do while on a Uganda safari. The safari offers you a Challenging but overcoming journey as you move through the Hills and Valleys to Track down this Endangered Mountain gorillas. Enjoy encountering with your one of the surviving relatives which carries a good percentage of human DNA.

Not only will you trek down the Mountain gorillas but also the Chimpanzees in different parks in Uganda. Chimpanzees also known as chimps are the closest living evolutionary families to Human beings. They shared a common ancestor with human beings about four millions years ago. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park gives you the opportunity to meet the living relatives of human being who have not yet changed and where historical nature of man is stored.

Uganda, a must visit destination sounds right. The wonders of Uganda are beyond measures. The only mountain with snow cape in the hot and dark continent is Rwenzori Mountains, also Known as Mountain of the Moon has one of the challenging and exciting adventures that enrich tourists experience while on their tours in Uganda. Climbing this mountain to the top is the most beautiful memory you will want to take home and gossip about. During mountain climbing different species of birds can also be spotted thus enriching your experience.

Safari to the savannah side of the country presents you the Africa wild games. A game drive is the only way to explore in these beautiful national Parks while on your holiay in Uganda. Among the African wild games include the Big Five. Game drive done in Kidepo national park, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo Murchison Falls National Park a gives you the chances of seeing different animal species like the African Lion, Elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes, Ostriches in Kidepo, Leopard and several antelope species such as Zebras, Oribis, Statungas and Water backs among others. In Uganda, we also have tree climbing lions found in  the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park.

Uganda is also endowed with unique cultures, friendly and welcoming people. Your holiday in Uganda can be spiced by community tours where you can visit local people in their homes, gardens or markets, interact with them and know more about their lifestyle. There is a chance to participate in local community work such as harvesting, milking cows, digging and fetching water from wells among others. It is such an exciting experience in Uganda.

What to do in Rwanda?

Rwanda is a small land locked country, located in East Africa, bordered by Tanzania in the East, Burundi in the South, Uganda in the north and Democratic Republic of Congo in the West. The country mainly has 3 national park and offering different tourism activities.

Volcanoes National Park: Is a home to one of the last remaining population of wild mountain gorillas in the world, with about 10 gorilla groups habituated for tourism purposes. Apart from gorilla trekking, other tour activities here include golden monkey tracking, visiting the tombs of the late Dian Fossey, Musanze caves exploration, nature walk the beautiful Twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo, community tours, Mountain hiking and visiting gorilla doctors. Currently there are 2 volcanic mountains open for hiking, that is, Mt. Kasirisimbi requires 2 days and 1 night camping up there, then Mt. Bishoke takes less than 7 hours to go and come back. Tourism in the area is growing at a faster rate, majority of the visitors to Rwanda visit Volcanoes National Park mainly for gorilla tracking, and this provides employment to the local community, for example, many Rwanda gorilla trekking lodges around the park and Musanze town employ local people as waiters, waitresses, Chefs, Guards, Receptionists and House keepers among others. The lodges / hotels around the park buy local produce (Greens, Food staff, etc) that are served to tourists. Therefore, this is direct provision of market to local produce.

silverback-gorilla

Silver-back Gorilla in Volcanoes National Park

Nyungwe National Park: Is the largest Mountainous forest in East and Central Africa, and a home to about 13 primate species that include Chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys, Vervets, Red-tailed monkeys, Mangabeys, L’Hoes’ts, Blue monkeys, etc. There are 2 groups of Chimpanzees habituated for tourism purposes. Here we also have huge troupes of black and white colobus monkeys also habituated for tourism. Other tour activities here apart from chimpanzee tracking include Canopy walk adventure, Colobus monkey trekking, forest walks, tea harvesting, bird watching, etc. Nyungwe National Park is located in the southwestern part of the country, about 5-6hours drive from Kigali.

Akagera National Park: Located in Eastern Rwanda near Tanzania boarder. Its famous for game viewing and boat ride on lake Ihema. While on the game driver, you may see animals like Giraffes, Zebras, Buffalo, Hippos and Elephants among others. Bird life is prolific with over 300 species.

Historical and genocide Memorials: Rwanda has many historical sites as well as genocide memorial museums such as Gisozi  museum in Kigali, Nyamata and Ntarama Churches, Bisesero genocide museum, Murambi technical school that was also reserved into a genocide museum where many people including students were massacred.

When you happen to visit Rwanda, never miss out a visit to any of the genocide museums above because, you have an opportunity to know experience what happened before, during and after the genocide in 1994 in Rwanda. Information is provided at each memorial to visitors.