Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the recognized Important Birding Areas by the Birding International and if you are looking for a place to enjoy numerous avian species, just add this Park to your bucket list and you will never regret it.

This National Park is located within western Uganda, stretches for approximately 1978 square kilometers across a number of districts that include Kasese, Bushenyi, Fortportal, Rukungiri and Kanungu, thus making it the second largest Park in the country and its confluence of forest and savannah link to the extensive forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo thus allowing tourists to sight numerous East and Central African bird species.

There are over 600 species of birds (more than half the country’s bird species) inform of forest, aquatic, woodland and various migratory species with different interesting birding spots such as the Kazinga Channel, Mweya Peninsula, Kyambura gorge, Ishasha sector, Maramagambo forest, Kasenyi Plains, the Explosion Crater Lakes and the Mweya Peninsula among others.

The Park sits at an elevation of 800 meters around Lake Edward until 1845 meters at the Peak of the western Rift Valley’s eastern Escarpment and characterized by different vegetation types and habitats including moist thickets, open grasslands, moist semi-deciduous forests, riverine bushland, permanent swamps, open woodlands and riparian forest that also offer haven to the birds species.

Therefore, the key species you are likely to spot while on Uganda tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park include the Pink backed Pelican, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Wattled Plovers, Shoebill, White-tailed Lark, Wood Sandpiper, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-chested sunbirds, Papyrus Gonolek, Martial Eagle, Egyptian Geese, Common Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Water Thick-knee, Water-Thick knee, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Red-capped Larks, Temminck’s courser, Papyrus Canary, African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron, Knob-billed Ducks, Grey-headed kingfisher, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Crake, Corncrake, African Skimmer, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmers, Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, open-billed Stork, Papyrus Canary, African Skimmer, Saddle billed Stork, White-winged Warbler, Pin-tailed Whydah, Long tailed Cormorants, the African Broadbill, Collared Pranticole, Madagascar Bee-eaters, African Mourning Doves, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Blue Breasted Bee-eaters, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, Pink-backed Pelicans, Black Bee-eater, Spur-winged Plovers, Malachite Kingfisher, Greater and Lesser Flamingos Blue breasted Bee eater, Common Squacco Heron, African Spoonbill, Hammerkop, black-ramped buttonquail, African Jacana, papyrus gonolek, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Black- rumped Buttonquail, Pied Kingfishers, Marabou Storks, White-winged Terns, Great white Pelicans, Great White Egrets, Black headed Gonolek, Eagle Owls, Yellow backed Weavers, Pied kingfishers, White-winged Warbler, thin-tailed Nightjars,

Hiking down into the lush Kyambura gorge offers opportunity of spotting diversity of forest bird species including the speckled Tinker bird, Green Hylia, Broad-tailed Warbler, Grey Wood pecker, purple-headed starling, Hairy breasted Barbet as well as black and African Emeralds Cuckoos that can also be spotted within the Maramagambo Forest within the Park. Please note, Kyambura gorge is also famous for primates tracking with species like Chimpanzees, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, Olive baboons, Black and white colobus monkeys among others.

When to go Birding in Queen Elizabeth National park?

The perfect time for bird watching within Queen Elizabeth National Park is the wet season (March to May and October to November) because it offers high chances of seeing the migrant bird species within the Explosion Crater Lakes such as within Lake Nyamunuka.

What to Carry?

This activity requires birder’s to carry pair of binoculars, camera, backpack, drinking water, long sleeved shirt and long trousers because it involves walking through different habitats and vegetation types.

Where to Stay?

  • Mweya Safari lodge
  • Katara Lodge
  • Mazike safari lodge
  • Kyambura Game Lodge
  • Ihamba safari lodge
  • Simba safari camp
  • Twin Lake Safari Lodge
  • Enganzi Lodge
  • Bush Lodge
  • Park View Safari Lodge

 

Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru Caves

Situated in Fort Portal-Toro Kingdom western Uganda, Amabere Caves and Fort Portal Crater Lake fields feature among the most incredible tourist attractions that are worth exploring while on cultural safari in Uganda. Amabere G’Nyinamwiru caves come with the old breast like features which also have cultural and geographical attachment depending which direction you will view them.

The word Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru traditionally denotes breasts of Nyinamwiru-the breasts of the legendary daughter of the self enthroned king of the Bachwezi (King Bukuku) who succeeded the throne after the disappearance of Ishaza to underground world while following the beautiful cows which were sent as traps by Nyamiyonga the king of underground.

Bukuku was previously a gate keeper and who was left as the care taker of the palace at a time Ishaza succeeded as he delayed and a fact that he knew that he wasn’t from the royal lineage and hence not supposed to take over any kingship, he became suspicious and he knew that at one point he would be overthrown.

The fortune tellers foretold him that he would be overthrown by his own grand child whom his daughter Nyinamwiru gave birth to. Due to this, he became bitter with his daughter and decided to remove one eye in that men couldn’t get attracted to her.

He also constructed a strong enclosure whose only entrance was via the house of Bukuku and this meant that no one could pass via his house to access the enclosure where Nyinamwiru was put. However, regardless of all the efforts invested, the son of Ishaza called Isimbwa came back from the foreign land where his father had disappeared from and fell in love and hence lived there to abandon his Kingship.

Isimbwa later came while looking for his father’s kingship and later arrived at the palace. He was informed about Bukuku daughter and together with his aide; they constructed a long ladder that they used to climbing over the enclosure of Nyinamwiru.

He later got into the enclosure, slept with Nyinamwiru for some days and later left her when she was pregnant. She gave birth to Ndahura although her father vowed not to allow the child to live. After some time to let the child to have milk teeth as it was abominable to kill a child who hasn’t yet grown teeth, he was put on the banks of the nearby stream to roll himself into it though fortunately the child was saved by the local porter known Rubimbwa who took care of the abandoned child up to the time when he became old and led the death of his grandfather Bukuku which made him regain his ancestral drum. Ndahura established a strong Chwezi empire which covered larger areas of the Great Lakes Africa whose archeological remains are best explored by travelers till now while on safari in Uganda.

Locals were also allowed to explore more about the Nyinamwiru’s breast like features with its milky substance dripping as she didn’t have any baby to breastfeed. This cultural treasure comes with rich history that is worth adding in your bucket list.

Geographically, Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru feature among the most remarkable natural wonders that come with stalagmites and stalactites as well as calcium carbonate dripping on the ground to make the breast like pillars that most locals regard as breasts. Apart from Amabere caves, you can as well, pay a visit to the popular Fort Portal Crater Lake field that features numerous Crater hollows most of which are covered by water to make up the Crater Lakes like Lake Bikere, Kigere and Saaka that also come with stunning sceneries. While at this area, never miss to pay a visit to the Kyegangwa hill that offers exceptional panoramic views of the Lakes and the empty hollows in and around the area as well as the legendary mountains of the moon.

For the most enjoyable hiking safaris to these caves, you will need to have long trousers, better hiking boots, long sleeved shirts/T-shirt, rain jacket, backpack, bottled water, hat, snacks and many others. The Amabere caves are situated about seven kilometers off Fort Portal town next to Kibale Forest National Park.

In conclusion, Amabere caves feature among the very few most culturally endowed sites in Uganda for visitors to explore a lot about the local cultures and legends and pay a visit to its magnificent crater Lakes. For visitors on primate safaris to Kibale Forest National Park, Amabere caves should be a must to include in your travel itinerary.