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Two male Wood Sandpipers fighting over one female which is flown a way. Covered from Kidepo Valley National Park - Uganda

DEPARTURE DATES 

January 28, 2018 to February 16, 2018 (Maximum 6) Space Available

June 15, 2018 to July 04, 2018 (Maximum 6) Space Available

 

From the source of the mighty river Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Range, the montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes, harboring some of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas, to the extensive savannas around the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing contrasts. No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats, and this richness is reflected in its incredible bird list of over 1050 species. Amongst these are many highly sought-after birds, such as the unique and elusive Shoebill and the numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley. The huge bird list is all the more remarkable given the small size of the country (approximately of Great Britain or state of Oregon in USA), making it, arguably the richest African birding destination.

Day 1: Arrival for Uganda Birding and Wildlife Photography Tour

Arrival in the morning and later may have optional birding in afternoon at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the Entebbe Botanical Gardens are virtually on the Equator, and covers an area of 40.7hectares. The gardens house a collection of species of plants of the tropical, sub-tropical and temperate zones, besides several shrubs and other plants which regenerated naturally over the years. The habitat has attracted a diverse array of birds (206 species) and monkeys. We shall look out for Orange weaver, Golden and Yellow-backed Weavers, Superb Sunbird, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Ross’s and Great blue Turacco, etc.

Overnight at Entebbe Travellers Inn (Full Board) http://entebbetravellersinn.com/

Day 2: Bird Photography Tour to Mabamba for Shoebill and Mpanga forest in the Afternoon

After an early breakfast, we bird to Mabamba Wetlands about 50km west of Entebbe area on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the few remaining swamps in Uganda protected by the local communities - an extensive papyrus swamp, classified Ramsar Site and IBA (Important Bird Area) and home to several pairs of Shoebills, most probably Africa’s most sought after bird. This charismatic species, the only representative in its family, is certainly amongst the most sought-after birds in Africa and we will make special efforts today to find it by paddling through the channels by boat. There will of course be a good selection of classic East African water birds: Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, African Fish-Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, Yellow-billed Duck, African Water Rail, Allen's Gallinule, and Malachite Kingfisher along with slightly more local species such as Long-toed Plover, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Swamp Flycatcher, White-winged & Papyrus Yellow Warblers.

Overnight Entebbe Travellers Inn (Full Board) http://entebbetravellersinn.com/

Day 3 Uganda Birding Adventure to Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast, we will depart for Murchison Falls National Park via Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for the White Rhino, lunch enroute. Murchison falls National Park is one of the most popular of our Uganda national parks. We will drive through the beautiful country side arriving in the evening. Special birds along the way may include Cliff Chat, Yellow Fronted Tinkerbird, Gray-headed Bush Shrike, Singing Cisticola, African Fin foot, Namaqua dove, Green-winged Pytilia, Red Backed Shrike, Crested Francolin, Black Headed Bush Shrike, Northern and Black-winged Red Bishops, Black-bellied Firefinch, Black-faced Waxbill, Lesser Blue-eared Starling and March Tchagra. 

Overnight at Paraa Lodge (Full Board) http://www.paraalodge.com 

Day 4: Whole day birding and Wildlife Photography Adventure in the park

Start early for birding on a game drive, search for special of savannah biome and palearctic migrants. in the afternoon we take a launch cruise on the mighty river Nile to the bottom of the falls while viewing game at close quarters. In the lush Borassus grassland, you may be able to encounter African Lion, Leopard, African Savannah Elephant, African buffalo, Rothschild giraffe, a variety of antelope and much more game. You will be dazzled with a variety of waterfowl which may include species like the Secretary Bird, Abyssinian Roller and Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Senegal Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Black-headed Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Little Bittern, Osprey, Red-necked Falcon, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Vinaceous Dove and Grosbeak Weaver. Other specialties include Buff-bellied Warbler, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Marabou Stork, Red-throated Bee-eater, Silver bird, Beautiful Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Golden-backed Weaver, White-rumped Seedeater, Pels Fishing Owl, White Crested Turacco, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver, Carmine Bee-eater, Pennant-winged and Standard-winged Nightjars, White-rumped Canary and many more.

Overnight at Paraa Lodge (Full Board) http://www.paraalodge.com 

Day 5: Uganda Birdwatching Tour to Budongo Forest  

The tour continues to Budongo arriving. We bird via the top of the stunning Murchison Falls and depending on the road condition we bird through the escarpment or Kanio Pabidi a section of Budongo forest. The escarpment area is well known for its panoramic view of Lake Albert and the Rift Valley, and also being an open area it has quite a number of bird species. Kanio Pabide forest section is well known for its rare bird species including the Puvell’s Illadopsis. Budongo forest is the largest natural forest area in East Africa. We can expect to find a wide range of other bird species such as the crested guineafowl, White Crested Turacco, Chestnut Crowned Eremomela, Yellow and Gray Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Little Green Sunbird, and Red-headed Blue Bill among others. There are also many other special birds with a West African origin: White-thighed Hornbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Blue-breasted, Dwarf & Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Yellow-crested & Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Yellow Bill, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted & Yellow-billed Barbets, Green Hylia, Buff-throated, Black-throated & Black-capped Apalis, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, the elusive Lemon-bellied Crombec, Crested & Red-headed Malimbe and also various forest starlings among others. We will also be in a prime area for a wide range of primates such as Blue & Red-tailed Monkeys and Black and white Colobus and Chimpanzees. There is also a wide variety of butterfly species in the forest. Budongo forest has recorded over 200 butterfly species among which include endemics and globally threatened.

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board) www.masindihotel.com

Day 6: Whole Day Bird Watching the Royal Mile - Take bird Photographs

This is Uganda's historically known leisure spot for the traditional King, hence the name Royal Mile. Here the forest has been cut back a few meters along the sides of the main trail, which makes it a particularly good viewing area in this excellent forest.
Special Bird species here include White-thighed and Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Yellow-spotted and Yellow billed Barbets, Western Black-headed Oriole, along with Red-tailed and Blue Monkeys. Overhead, Sabine's and sometimes Cassin's Spine tails soar over the clearings. As we walk quietly along the trail, Red-tailed Ant-Thrushes skulk in the shadows, as do Red-tailed Bristle bill, Scaly-breasted, Pale-breasted and Brown Illadopsis. Greenbuls are always a challenge and include Cameroon Sombre, Slender-billed, Honey guide and Spotted Greenbul, whilst other regular species are Speckled Tinker bird, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, and both White-breasted and Grey-headed Negro finches. Lower down we should see Chocolate-backed and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-spotted Fluff tails and the elusive Nahan's Francolin, believed to be one of the most handsome of all Ugandan birds. Other possibilities here are Great Sparrowhawk, Cassin's Hawk-eagle, Crested Guinea fowl, Tambourine Dove, Grey Parrot, African Emerald and Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoos, Yellow bill, White-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-throated Tinker bird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Dusky Tit, Western Nicator, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Forest Robin, Black-throated and Black-capped Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Sabine's and Cassin's Spine tails, Wilcock's Honey guide, Yellow and Grey Long bills, Jameson's Wattle-eye, Blue-throated Brown and Little Green Sunbirds, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, the Uganda Woodland Warbler and the Ituri Batis which range-restricted to this site in the whole of East Africa.

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board) www.masindihotel.com

Day 7: Birding Uganda to Kibale Forest

After breakfast, the tour continues to Kibale forest arriving in Fort Portal in the late afternoon. Kibale forest national park is the best tour destination for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa. It contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of all tropical forests in Uganda. It hosts 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee (Man’s closest relatives- sharing over 98% DNA with man). It has 1450 chimpanzees and these represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. It is also home to the rare L’hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus monkey. Other primates that you may see include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked Mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and pottos.  Kibale forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park. Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip which stands at 1590m above sea level. The park also boasts 325 bird species, including the Green-breasted Pitta (Africa’s enigma), African pitta, Black Bee-eater, yellow-spotted Nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little Greenbul, black eared ground thrush, brown chested Alethe, blue breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian ground thrush, and the African Crowned Eagle.

Overnight at Kibale Guest Cottages (Full Board)

Day 8: Chimpanzee Tracking and Photography in the Forest

After an early breakfast we drive to Kibale National Park visitor center for briefing before the Chimpanzee tracking experience. The activity may last from a few hours to several hours.
Birding in the afternoon along the main road may be productive. Kibale National Park is a good site for a number of birds that are hard to find elsewhere including Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis's Greenbul and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Fluff tail, Dusky and Olive Long tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honey guide, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, White-chinned Prinia, Grey Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera and White-collared Olive back.

In the afternoon, take a swamp board walk in Bigodi wetland. This is one of Uganda's most successful community eco-tourism projects. The walk can be well paying with a variety of swamp and riverine forest specialities along with up to six primates.

If the weather is good, we do a nocturnal primate walk in the evening for Pottos, Galago and Bush babies.

Overnight at Kibale Guest Cottages (Full Board)

Day 9: The Search for the Green-breasted Pitta in the Morning and Transfer to Fort Portal for Birding Semuliki Forest.

Overnight at Mountains of The Moon Hotel (Full Board) http://www.mountainsofthemoon.co.ug

Day 10: Birding Semuliki Forest

Early in the morning, we take on to the Kirumia trail for whole day birding experience. We look out for a number of predominantly Central African species which cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa yet are some of the continent's most spectacular and sought-after birds such as; Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, the Nkulengu Rail, and other species; Blue Swallow, White-throated Swallow, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Spotted Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Lowland Akalat, Red-throated Alethe, Fire-crested Alethe, Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Red-eyed Puffback, White-tailed Robin-Chat, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Capped Wheatear, Common Stonechat, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, Oberlaender's Ground-Thrush, Grey Ground-Thrush, Little Grey Greenbul, Toro Olive Greenbul, Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-throated Nicator, Western Nicator, just to mention but a few. There is a single, unconfirmed report of the globally threatened Lesser Kestrel.

Overnight at Mountains of The Moon Hotel (Full Board) http://www.mountainsofthemoon.co.ug

Day 11: Birdwatching to Queen Elizabeth National Park and Afternoon Launch Cruise 

The Park which is named after the Queen of England who visited it in 1954 is the second largest national park in Uganda. In terms of diversity this park ranks among the best birding destinations in Uganda with over 610 species recorded, and a one day record of 296 species. Hard-core birders might nail special birds including; Harlequin Quail, Blue Quail, Common Buttonquail, African Crake, White winged Warbler, Martial Eagle, African Skimmer, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Papyrus Gonolek, Amur Falcon, Ovampo Sparrowhawk, Lowland Akalat, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Caruthers's Cisticola, Terek Sandpiper, and Temminck's Courser.

Mammals may include; African Elephant, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, African Lion, Uganda Kobs, Side-striped Jackal, Baboons, Chimpanzees, Bush and Water Bucks, Warthogs, Giant Forest Hogs to mention but a few.

Overnight at Ihamba Lake Side Safari Lodge (Full Board) http://ihambasafarilodge.com  

Day 12: Bird and other Wildlife Photography on Game Drive in the Park

After breakfast, we will have a morning game drive around the park. The fact that Queen Elizabeth national park has got a diverse eco system of savannah to rain forest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward is a major contribution to the fact that it is on the top list of World biosphere sites rating of game parks or reserves in the world. Therefore, while on the game drive, with the massive Rwenzoris as a backdrop, you will have excellent opportunities to see African Lion, Leopard, Giant forest hog, Cape buffalo, African Elephant, Deffassa waterbuck, Uganda Kob, Topi, and much more. After lunch, we will visit Lake Katwe where salt is mined and the Kasenyi landing site on the shores of Lake George.

BateleurBateleur

Overnight at Ihamba Lake Side Safari Lodge (Full Board) http://ihambasafarilodge.com 

Day 13: Birdwatching to Bwindi National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today we head further South to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Depending on the season we may choose to go through the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, where there are chances of encountering the Tree-climbing Lions at Ishasha sector. Packed lunch will be arranged in advance to enjoy later as we travel. Depending on the time of arrival, we may enjoy birding on the self-guided Munyaga trail. Forest Birding at Bwindi provides some of the best bird watching in Uganda and Africa as well, having been voted as the Number One Birding spot in Africa by African Bird Club Members. It is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics.

Overnight at Buhoma Heven Lodge (Full Board) http://www.buhomacommunity.com/

Day 14: Whole Day Birding Buhoma Main Trail

Overnight at Buhoma Heven Lodge (Full Board) http://www.buhomacommunity.com/

Day 15: Birding to Buhoma via "the Neck" - A popular stretch for Albertine Rift Endemics

This section of Bwindi is generally at a higher altitude (2000m to 2800m) and therefore is cooler. Temperatures range between 10 and 18 degrees centigrade. Forest birding at Bwindi ranks the best in Uganda. It is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics. Specialty birds include; Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer's Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black-flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Chapin's Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Cassin's Grey Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill-Babbler, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Mackinnon's Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Pink-footed Puffback, Doherty's Bush-shrike, White-naped Raven, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Stuhlmann's Starling, Narrow-tailed Starling, Waller's Starling, Strange Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Magpie Mannikin, Yellow-crowned Canary, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, African Green Broadbill, Shelly's Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch, Mountain Buzzard, Ayre's Hawk-eagle, Handsome Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Barred Longtailed Cuckoo, African Wood-Owl, Rwenzori Nightjar, Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, (Western) Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg's Woodpecker, Elliot's Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, Lagdens Bush Shrike, Petit's Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Archer's Ground Robin, Toro Olive-Greenbul, Ansorge's Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Robin chat, Olive Thrush, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Grauer's Rush-warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Neumann's Warbler and Red-faced Woodland Warbler

Overnight at Gorilla Mist Camp (Full Board) http://www.gorillamistcamp.com/

Day 16: Mountain Gorilla Tracking Experience  

After an early breakfast, you will report to the park headquarters for briefing prior to the gorilla tracking excursion. This activity may take anywhere between 1 hour and 8 hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required. It is a wonderful experience to stare in to the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that you must never miss. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display.

Mountain GorillaMountain Gorilla

Overnight at Gorilla Mist Camp (Full Board) http://www.gorillamistcamp.com/

Day 17: Birding to Mubwindi Swamp - Highlights today are African Green Broadbill Pseudocalyptomena Graueri and Grauer's Rush Warbler Bradypterus graueri 

Overnight at Gorilla Mist Camp (Full Board) http://www.gorillamistcamp.com/

Day 18 & 19-  Bird and Scenery Photography Tour to Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast, we will transfer to Lake Mburo arriving in the late evening. Lake Mburo National Park is 260 sq. km and it has markedly different fauna from other reserves. It is the only national park that contains an entire lake. Situated in rolling hills and open grassy valleys, the park also consists of 4 other smaller lakes.
Lake Mburo National park is covered in extensive open and wooded acacia savannah. This park is home to the largest diversity of both plant and wildlife of all Uganda’s national parks. It is also the best place to see the gigantic eland antelope as well as well as Burchell’s zebra, topi, impala, the more uncommon Klipspringer, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, and several acacia associated birds.

Activities in ake Mburo National Park, will include birding on game drive and boat on the lake in search of the African Finfoot 


Overnight at Rwakobo Rock (Full Board) 

Day 20 Drive to Entebbe for departure via a famous Equator stop for the equator experience.

After breakfast, we transfer to Entebbe arriving in good time for your departure flight if your flight is tonight. If you are staying for the night, the guide gets you to your hotel.

 

  OR send direct email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

DEPARTURE DATES 

January 03, 2018 to January 11, 2018 (Maximum 6) Space Available

May 22, 2018 to May 30, 2018 (Maximum 6) Space Available

 

Day 1: Arrival for Rwanda Birding Safari

Arrival for Tour and transfer to Akagera National Park

Akagera boosts of a rich bird Checklist of over 525 species, this reflects the extremely wide diversity of habitat. 44 species of raptor, Papyrus Gonolek, Shoebill Storkand a good number of Palearctic migrants, amongst which Lesser Kestrel, Great Snipe and Black-winged have been recorded. The park represents the northern limit of distribution of a number of Zambezian biome species, including Sauza’s Shrike, Arnot’s Chat, and Long-tailed Cisticola. One species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome, seven of the Afrotropical Highlands biome, nine of the eleven species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site.

The park also has a health mammal list of over 50 species among which include the African Elephant which was introduced to the park in 1975.

On the way, we hope to pocket African Palm Swift, Little Swift, Mottled Swift, Black-headed Waxbill, Black-crowned Waxbill, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Archer's Robin-chat, Collared Apalis, Crowned Eagle, Slender-billed Starling, Grauer's Scrub-Warbler, Common Bulbul, Village Weaver, Red-eyed Dove, and many more.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 2: Whole Day Birding Akagera National Park – Rwanda Birding Safaris

Today we look for the species listed in the over 500 species checklist known to Akagera, species will include; White-crowned Black Chat, Familiar Chat, Black-winged Bishop and Arrow-marked Babbler, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Shoebill, African Open-billed Stork, Egyptian Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, Spur-winged Plover, Black Crake, Long-tailed Cormorant, Great Cormorants, Goliath Heron, African Marsh Harrier, Bateleur, Red-faced Barbet, Long-tailed, Trilling, Tabora, Rattling and Winding Cisticolas, Miombo Wren Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Red-faced Crombec, Rueppell's Long-tailed Starling, Amethyst Starling, Senegal Lapwing, Water Dikkop, Brubru, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Brown Parrot, Red-necked Spurfowl, Broad-tailed Warbler, Bennett's Woodpecker, Sooty Chat, White-winged Black Tit, Flappet Lark, Souza's Shrike, Crested Barbet and many more. Other wildlife may include; Giraffe, African Elephant, Hippopotamus, Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Warthog, Impala, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 3: Birding to Volcanoes National Park for Mountain Gorilla Trekking

We set out in the morning, bird some birding spots along the way arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Full Board)

Day 4: Rwanda Gorilla Tracking- Volcanoes NP

The main activity today will be Mountain Gorilla Tracking. Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with an estimated population of less than 800 left in the wild of the whole world and none in zoos. The Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei), was not yet known to scientist until 1902. They are the next closest living relatives to human beings after the two chimpanzee species, sharing 97% DNA with us. Do leisurely birding in the afternoon around Volcans environs.

Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Full Board)Regal SunbirdRegal Sunbird

Day 5: Birdwatching Tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Overnight at Nyungwe Top View Lodge (Full Board)

Day 6: Birding Nyungwe Forest National Park of Rwanda – (Optional Chimpanzee Tracking)

Nyungwe forest is situated in south-west Rwanda between Lake Kivu and the international border with Burundi. Nyungwe is divided north–south by a line of mountains that reach 2,600–2,900 m and which form part of the Congo–Nile watershed. As a result, Nyungwe is composed of two areas differing in pedology, vegetation, water-flow and biodiversity.

This wonderful birding area lies west of Butare, with the Butare to Cyangugu road passing straight through the middle, providing excellent roadside birding. A total of 275 species have been recorded in Nyungwe, reflecting the wide habitat diversity and altitudinal range. These include, all the 25 species of the Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area that occur in Rwanda, Chapin’s Flycatcher and Rockefellers’ Sunbird (both globally threatened, restricted-range and biome-restricted). In addition, 11 of the 23 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and 71 of the 74 species of this biome of Afrotropical Highlands that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site. Generally, Nyungwe is certainly the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in the region.

We have an early morning breakfast then set out to Uwinka for the Albertine Rrift endemic birds search. Among the many we look out for, include; Kivu Ground-Thrushm, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Red-chested, SunbirdRegal Sunbird, Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Mountain Masked Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Collared Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, few Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red- throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Ruwenzori Turaco, Great Blue Turaco, Handsome Francolin, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Olive Woodpecker, Mountain Greenbul, Rwenzori Hill-babbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Northern Puffback, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Variable Sunbird, Waller's Starling, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Nyungwe Top View Lodge (Full Board)

Day 7: Another Day Birdwatching Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda

We look for species probably missed the previous day, we hope to tick-off Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Batis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Sharpe's Starling, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Dusky Tit, Doherty's Bush-shrike, Siffling Cisticola, Bronze Mannikin, Golden-breasted Bunting, Neumann's Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Mountain Wagtail, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Equatorial Akalat, Black Cuckoo, Kungwe Apalis, White-bellied Robin-chat, and many more. We try our luck and listen out at night fall for the Rwenzori Nightjar (a nocturnal species), Albertine Owlet and Red-chested Owlet.

Overnight at Nyungwe Top View Lodge (Full Board)

Day 8: Transfer to Kigali for the Last Night

While birding to Kigali, we visit Murambi Genocide Memorial Museum and National Museum.

Stay at Chez Lando (Full Board)

Day 9: Departure – End of Rwanda Birdwatching Tour

 

For detailed information about this tour or customise one for you, please contact us

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DEPARTURE DATES

 

January 08, 2018 to January 26, 2018 (Maximum 6) Space Available

July 10, 2018 to July 28, 2018 (Maximum 6) Space Available

 

Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi for 19 Day Bird and Wildlife Photography Safari - Kenya

On arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Avian Safaris representative receives you for your 19 day Kenya birding and other Wildlife Safari. You will be transferred to the hotel for check in, depending on the time of arrival; we visit the National Museum Bird Gallery and later have a leisurely bird walk in the Nairobi National Museum Botanical Gardens.

Overnight at Nairobi Safari Club (Full Board)

Day 2: Whole Day Birding Tour in Nairobi National Park of Kenya – Birds of Kenya Tours

After an early morning breakfast, we go birdwatching to Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National Park has a diverse avifauna with checklist of over 520 bird species. One of the eight species of Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Areas, 27 species of the 94 Somali–Masai biome, and 25 species of the 67 African Highlands biome that occur in Kenya, have been recorded in the area. Migrating Lesser Falcons roost at the site in large numbers (Over 5,000 individuals have been recorded at a time), and the park’s substantial area of undisturbed grassland is of great importance for species such as the restricted-range Jackson’s Widowbird, which breeds here regularly after good rains. The globally threatened Corncrake, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Corncrake, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-throated Tit and the near threatened Shoebill Stork and Basra Reed Warbler have both been spotted.

We search for the African Silverbill, Red-winged Starling, Common Bulbul, Grey-headed Sparrow, Saddle-billed Stork, Little Egret, the Common Squacco, Goliath, Grey and Black Headed Herons, Red-billed and African Firefinches, the Booted, Tawny, Steppe, and Martial Eagles, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Long-tailed and Common Fiscals, Spotted and Pale Flycatchers, Common Stonechat, Blackcap, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Yellow White-Eye, White-bellied Tit, Variable Sunbird, Bronze Mannikin, Red-cheeked Cordon Blue, Streaky Seedeater, Collared Widow bird, the Zitting, Desert, Winding, Stout, Pectrol-patch, Singing and Rattling Cisticolas, Grassland Pipit, Rufouse-naped and Athi Short-toed Lark, Lesser-striped and Red-rumped and Barn Swallow, Brown Parisoma, Oliveceous Warbler, Brubru, Whinchat, the Little, White-ramped, Horus and African-palm Swifts, Quail-Finch, Common and Yellow-bellied Waxbills, African-hawk Eagle, White-headed and Spot-flanked Barbets, Baglafecht Weaver, Brown-snake Eagle, and many more; Along with a fine number of mammals among which will include; the Cape Buffalo, Burchell's Zebra, Hippopotamus, Masai Giraffe, Rhinos, Coke's Hartebeest, the Vervet and Syke's Monkey, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Nairobi Safari Club (Full Board)

Day 3: Birding To Mount Kenya National Park - Kenya Birding ToursBronze MannikinBronze Mannikin

Today we drive birding to the important bird area named after Kenya’s highest mountain.Birding Mount Kanya can be so well paying since the site has a rich montane avifauna. The park has six of the eight Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area and 54 of the 70 Afrotropical Highlands biome species that occur in Kenya. Mountain Kenya area has records of globally and regionally threatened species, some with no recent records. They include Abbott's Starling,Lesser Kestrel (a passage migrant on the moorland), Jackson's widowbird (at up to 3,000 m), Sharpe's Longclaw, Olive Ibis, Lammergeier, Ayres's hawk-eagle, African Crowned Eagle, African Grass Owl, Cape Eagle-Owl, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed widowbird, Abyssinian Owl (very rare and poorly researched), Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, and Kenrick's Starling which is confined to this area in Kenya.

We search for these specialties along with other wildlife among which will include; Black-and-white Colobus Monkey, Sykes monkey, Bushbuck, Cape Buffalo, African Elephant, Olive Baboon, Waterbuck, Black Rhino, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Genet Cat, Bush Pig, Spotted Hyena and many more.

Overnight at Mountain Lodge (Full Board)

Day 4: Whole Day Birding Mount Kenya National Park – Kenya Safaris

We look out for more species possibly missed the previous day.

Day 5: Bird Safari to Lake Naivasha Ramsar Site of Kenya

After breakfast, we bird to the shallow freshwater lake with fringing Acacia woodland- Lake Naivasha Ramsar site (the second site listed by Kenya as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention). Naivasha’s water is supplied by the permanent Malewa and Gilgil, plus the seasonal Karati rivers which all drain the Aberdare Mountains along with substantial ground-water seepage. The lake has no surface outlet. It is thought that a combination of underground outflow and sedimentation of salts keeps the lake fresh, unlike other endorheic lakes in the eastern Rift Valley.

It is the highest of the Rift Valley Lakes at 1,880 m, the second largest freshwater lake and one of the only two freshwater lakes in Kenya.

The fascinating bird life of over 350 species is supported by the availability of dense vegetation at the lake edge. Papyrus fringes the main lake’s shore and cloaks the inlets of the Gilgil and Malewa rivers.

Overnight at Lake Naivasha Country Club (Full Board)

Day 6: Lake Naivasha Birding Tour – Birding Tours Kenya

After breakfast we still bird the lake and its surroundings, we look out for the globally threatened Grey-crested Helmeted-shrike, Basra Reed Warbler, Lesser Flamingo, along with large congregations of Red-knobbed Coot, African Spoonbill and Little Grebe. We continue for locality species among which might include; Grey-backed Fiscal, Pink-backed Pelican, Great Cormorant, Purple Heron, Red-billed Teal, Hottentot Teal, Black Crake, African Jacana, Giant and Malachite kingfishers, African Fish-Eagle, Little Grebe, Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Southern Pochard, Gray-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Long-toed Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing, Three-banded Plover, Black Heron, Lesser Moorhen, Greater Painted-Snipe, African Skimmer, Purple Heron, Little Bittern, African Rail, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Red-chested Cuckoo, Pearl-spotted Owlet, White-fronted Bee-eater, Green Wood-Hoopoe, African Gray Hornbill, Red-fronted Barbet, Black-throated Honeyguide, Gray-headed Woodpecker, Gray-backed Fiscal, Gray-headed Bushshrike, White-browed Robin-Chat, Gray-capped Warbler, Black-lored Babbler, Purple Grenadier, Pin-tailed Whydah, Spectacled Weaver, Rueppell's Griffons, Verreaux’s Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Lanner Falcon, Speckled Pigeon, Mourning Wheatear, and many more.

Overnight at Lake Naivasha Country Club (Full Board)

Day 7: Birding Kenya Safari to Lake Baringo via Lake Nakuru National Park

Superb StarlingSuperb Starling

This morning after breakfast, we bird all way to Lake Baringo Conservation Area.We have bird Lake Nakuru on our way. Lake Nakuru National Park (Ramsar Site) boost of an up to 450 species bird checklist and a 1,496,000 waterbirds record therefore we cannot afford passing without stopping to pocket some crucial species. Five globally threatened species have been recorded here, namely Madagascar Pond-Heron, Lesser Flamingo, Pallid Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike along with large congregations of Greater Flamingo, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, Black-winged Stilt, Grey-headed Gull and Gull-billed Tern.

Overnight at Soi Safari Lodge (Full Board)

Day 8 & 9: Lake Baringo Birdwatching Tour – Kenya Birding Tours

We have a whole days birding around Lake Baringo Conservation Area. Baringo is a well-known destination for birdwatchers and boosts of an up to 500 bird species Checklist. The lake used to boast a large Goliath Heronry with over 20 individuals on record, although Goliaths are still breeding around the lake, the Heronry has disappeared. However, Lake Baringo is at the southerly-easterly end of the range for the regionally threatened Jackson’s Hornbill along with their closely similar species, the Von der Decken's Hornbill.

Baringo Bird Area is not only a home to 36 of the 94 Somali-Masai biome species that occur in Kenya but also four globally threatened species namely; Madagascar Pond-Heron, Lesser Flamingo, Pallid Harrier, Lesser Kestrel. We also expect the Spur-winged Goose, Knob-billed Duck, Gabar Goshawk, Shikra, Black Crake, African Jacana, Spur-winged and Long-toed Plovers, Heuglin’s Courser, Slender-tailed Nightjar, Northern White-faced Owl, Greyish and Verreaux’s Eagle Owls, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little and Dwarf Bitterns, Green-backed, Purple and Goliath Herons, Woolly-necked and Marabou Storks, Hadada Ibis, Fulvous and White-faced Whistling Ducks, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Northern Red-billed, Eastern Yellow-billed and African Grey Hornbills, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Red-fronted and D’Arnaud’s Barbets, Lesser Honeyguide, Nubian and Bearded Woodpeckers, Sand Martin, Northern Brownbul, Brown Babbler, White-browed Robin Chat, White-browed Scrub Robin, Southern Black, African Grey and Lead-coloured Flycatchers, Purple Grenadier, Crimson-rumped and Black-cheeked Waxbills, Pin-tailed Whydah, White-bellied Canary, Somali Golden-breasted Bunting, Allen’s Gallinule, Purple Swamphen, Senegal Thick-knees, Northern Grey Tit, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Pygmy Batis, just to mention but a few

Overnight at Soi Safari Lodge (Full Board)

Day 10: Birding the Kongelai Escarpment on a Kenya Birdwatching Safari

We bird down the Kongelai Escarpment, we look out forthe Brown Snake-Eagle, Martial Eagle, Hartlaub’s Marsh Widowbird, Eastern Grey Plantain-Eater, Brown Parrot, Black-winged Red Bishop, Stripe-breasted Seedeater, and White-crested Helmet-shrike, Yellow-billed Shrike, Lesser Blue-eared Starling, White-crested Turaco, Chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Golden-breasted Bunting, Double-toothed Barbet, Northern Brownbul and many more.

Overnight at Sirikwa Cottages (Full Board)

Day 11: Birdwatching to Kakamega Forest Reserve – Kenya Birding Safaris

After an early morning breakfast, we bird to Kakamega Forest Reserve. The Forest is generally considered the eastern-most remnant of the lowland Congo rainforest of Central Africa since it is dominated by Central African species of flora and fauna.

Kakamega Forest’s avifauna is not only nationally well known, rich, unusual in its composition, fascinating and unique combination with the dominant central African lowland species alongside highland species, but also continentally. Its 194 forest dependant species which include; 40 of the 43 Guinea-Congo Forest and 33 of the 70 Afrotropical Highlands biome species that occur in Kenya, rank the highest of any Kenyan forest and it is probable that at least 45 of the birds of Kenya are confined to this area in the country.

Overnight at Rondo Retreat Centre (Full Board)

Day 12 & 13: Kakamega Forest Birding Tour – Kenya Tours

We afford spending two days at Kakamega, a Kenya birdwatchers paradise. On the want list, please include two globally threatened species- Chapin’s Flycatcher and Turner’s Eremomela, 16 regionally threatened species, and the World’s smartest bird- African Grey Parrot along which is confined to this spot in the country (Less than ten pairs are likely to existing.

We bird for Brown Illadopsis, Equatorial Akalat, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Chubb's Cisticola, Black-collared and Buff-throated Apalises, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, the Brown-eared and Yellow-crested Woodpeckers, African Blue and Dusky-crested Flycatchers, Common and Chestnut Wattle-eyes, Black-billed, Dark-backed and Brown-capped Weavers, Red-headed Malimbe, Pink-footed Puffback, Square-tailed Drongo, Stuhlmann's Starling, Bar-tailed Trogon, Luhder's Bush-shrike, Grey-green or Bocage's Bush-shrike, Green-throated and Green-headed Sunbirds, the Great Blue and Black-billed Turacos, the restricted-range Blue-headed Bee-eater, Dusky Tit, Yellowbill, Brown-chested Alethe, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Western Black-headed Oriole, White-spotted Flufftail, the Ansorge's, Slender-billed, Joyful and Shelley's Greenbuls  Red-headed Bluebill, Yellow-throated Leaf-love, Uganda Woodland Warbler, White-chinned Prinia, White-throated Bee-eater, African Crowned Eagle, Red-tailed Bristlebill, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Grey-headed Negrofinch, the Double-toothed, Yellow-spotted, Grey-throated and Yellow-billed Barbets and many more.

Overnight at Rondo Retreat Centre (Full Board)

Day 14: Birding Tour to Kisumu for Lake Victoria species Birdwatching experience

We have breakfast then leisurely bird to kisumu to feature the shores of Lake Victoria. At Dunga swamp Important Bird Area, we search for the globally threatened Papyrus Gonolek alongside the Parasitic Weaver, Brimstone Canary, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Red-headed Lovebird, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Bronze Mannikin, Purple-banded and Superb Sunbirds, Black-rumped and Black-faced Waxbills, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Brown-backed Scrub Robin, Green Crombec, Marsh Tchagra, Black-billed Barbet, the Little, cattle and Great Egrets, Yellow-backed Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, African Pygmy and Malachite Kingfishers, Swamp Flycatcher, Greater Swamp Warbler, White-winged Warbler, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed Stork, Pied Kingfisher, White-winged and Whiskered Terns, African Skimmer, Black-bellied Firefinch, White-crested Turaco, Dark-capped Yellow Warblers, Red-faced, Singing, Whistling, Croaking, Siffling and Zitting Cisticolas, Grey-capped Warbler, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Cardinal Quelea, Black and Black-winged Red Bishops, Hartlaub’s Marsh and Yellow-mantled Widowbirds, Red-chested and Copper Sunbirds, Shikra, African Thrush, Black-headed Gonolek, Grosbeak, Compact, Holub’s Golden, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed, Jackson’s Golden-backed Weavers, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Southern Red Bishop, Rock Pratincole, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Senegal Coucal, Village Indigobird, name it.

Olive-belied SunbirdOlive-belied Sunbird

Overnight at Kisumu Sunset Hotel (Full Board)

Day 15: Birdwatching Safari to Masai Mara National Park – (Shoebill Bird Record)

This morning, we bird all way to the famous Masai Mara National Park, a renowned home for Africa’s Big Five (African Lion, African Elephant, Leopard, Rhinocerous, and Cape Buffalo). On arrival, we go birding on an evening game drive- an opportunity to “Tick-off” some mammals and other wildlife.

Please expect a productive birding activity at this site. More than 500 bird species are known to occur, including 12 species of Cisticola and 53 birds of prey. Grassland birds are especially well represented. Large numbers of Palearctic migrants winter in the area, including Caspian PloverandWhite Stork.

There is a single record of Shoebill Stork, from the Musiara swamp.

As an endemic bird area, Masai Mara has all the three of Serengeti Plains and one of the eight species of the Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Areas that occur in Kenya. Seven globally threatened species have been recorded here; they include the Madagascar Pond-Heron, Pallid Harrier, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-throated Tit, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike, Corncrake, and Lesser Kestrel.

The Mara’s extensive grasslands are a stronghold for the threatened, migratory Corncrake and the threatened, restricted-range Jackson's widowbird. The woodlands around the reserve are probably the centre of abundance for the threatened, restricted range Grey-crested Helmet-shrike. The restricted-range Rufous-tailed Weaver has also been sighted within the reserve.

Overnight at Mara West Camp (Full Board)

Day 16 & 17: Birdwatching Kenya’s in the Masai Mara Plains

We bird the Mara plains, we search for, Usambiro Barbet, Foxy Lark, Red-throated Tit, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Swahili and Kenya Rufous Sparrows, Little Bee-eater, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, White-headed Barbet, Flappet and Rufous-naped Larks, Long-billed Pipit, Pale Wren-Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Red-tailed and Sooty Chats, Trilling, Rock and Long-tailed Cisticolas, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Variable Sunbird, Yellow Bishop, Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting, Harlequin Quail, Red-necked Spurfowl, White-bellied and Black-bellied Bustards, Senegal and Black-winged Plovers, the localized White-tailed Lark, Red-capped Lark, Fischer’s Sparrow Lark, Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Stout and Croaking Cisticolas, Northern, Pied and Isabelline Wheatears, African Quailfinch, Jackson’s, Yellow-mantled and Red-collared Widowbirds, Caspian Plovers, Banded Martin, Rufous-chested, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Black-chested Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers, Lesser Spotted, Tawny and Steppe Eagles, Grey Kestrel, and many more.

Overnight at Mara West Camp (Full Board)

Day 18: Kenya Birding Tour to Nairobi – Birdwatching Tours Kenya

Today we carry picnic breakfast and lunch then head out for a game drive. We bird for more species possibly missed the previous days. From the game drive, we proceed to Nairobi for your last night.

Overnight at Nairobi Upperhill Hotel (Full Board)

Day 19: End of 19 Day Kenya Bird Watching Tour - Departure

 

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Rwanda contains a remarkable diversity of habitat hence a prolific birdlife. Two major phytochoria occur; the Afromontane region between 1,800 m and 4,500 m and the Lake Victoria regional mosaic below 1,800 m, which, in Rwanda, includes elements of Guineo–Congolian and Sudanian vegetation. Most of Rwanda’s forests lie in the Afromontane region where they form part of the forests of the Albertine Rift, the flora and fauna of which show a high degree of endemism. Until recently, there were four main montane forests in Rwanda, Nyungwe, Gishwati, Mukura and Volcans, located in the west of the country, where they effectively form the boundary between the Guinea– Congo lowland rainforests of the DR Congo and the Lake Victoria far south-east where the vegetation is Acacia- and Combretumdominated woodland basin to the east. They are characterized by their high altitudes of 2,000 m on average, varying from 1,600 to 4,500 m and the clearings and dense under storey typical of montane forests.

The savannas of the Lake Victoria regional mosaic occur mainly in the eastern part of Rwanda and comprise five distinct natural zones, known as Mutara, Buganza, Mubari-Migogo, Gisaka and Bugesera. Levels of endemism are low, reflecting the transitional composition of the vegetation.

Wetlands occupy almost 10% of the country. It is said that Rwanda is made up of a thousand hills, and between each of these there are small rivers and wetlands. There are three extensive areas of swamp; Akanyaru on the border with Burundi, Mugesera– Rugwero in the south-east, and the Kagera swamps along the Tanzanian border in the east. Smaller swampy areas occur in the high valleys and in the form of many extensive bogs in the mountains and on the central plateau. Some 90% of the water of the country drains into the Nile Basin with only a small proportion flowing into the Congo River system. Many wetlands in Rwanda are under considerable pressure from agricultural expansion.

Rwanda boosts a healthy bird Checklist of up to 680 species in comparison to its size of 26,328 km². The avifauna includes 17 species of global conservation concern. Five of these are non-breeding migrants, four from the Palearctic namely; Pallid Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Great Snipe and Black-winged Pratincole while the fifth, Madagascar Squacco Heron, breeds in Madagascar. The breeding species include eight Albertine Rift endemics: Albertine Owlet, Dwarf Honeyguide, Neumann's Warbler, Kivi Ground-Thrush, Red-collared Mountain-Babbler, Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Kungwe Apalis, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, and Shelley’s Crimsonwing. Of the remainder, two are species of papyrus swamps, Papyrus Gonolek and Papyrus Yellow Warbler, while the others are Shoebill Stork and Red-faced Barbet, both of which occur in the savanna–wetlands complex of Akagera.White-tailed Blue-flycatcherWhite-tailed Blue-flycatcher

There are no birds endemic to Rwanda, but the montane forests and associated habitats hold 25 of the 37 species of Albertine Rift Mountains Endemic Bird Area. In addition, elements of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome occur at lower altitudes in forests in the west, with 23 species known from Rwanda out of the out of the 278 species restricted to the biome. Much of the east of the country falls within the Lake Victoria Basin biome and 11 of its 12 species occur nationally. The montane forests of the Congo–Nile watershed hold at least 74 species of the Afrotropical Highlands biome; the presence of a number of other species is yet to be confirmed. Approximately 280 bird species are known from these forests; the majorities are found in Nyungwe Forest, the most important site for biodiversity conservation in Rwanda.

 

UGANDA BIRD WATCHING ITINERARIES LIST

KENYA BIRD WATCHING ITINERARIES LIST

RWANDA BIRD WATCHING ITINERARIES LIST

UGANDA AND RWANDA BIRDING ITINERARIES LIST

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was the chief viewer of the hybrid eclipse episode which gathered thousands of Ugandans and international enthusiasts to Owiny Primary school in Nebbi district north western Uganda.Here below we reproduce his speech as he appeals to all Ugandans to embrace tourism as an engine of socio-economic transformation.

I warmly welcome you to Pakwach and to Uganda on this rare occasion of viewing the hybrid solar eclipse. The last eclipse of this kind in Uganda was witnessed in 1466 and the next one is forecast for 2117.  So all of us are privileged to be viewing today’s eclipse. As you will have observed on your way here, Uganda is endowed with a variety of tourism resources including stunning landscapes, beauty water bodies, unique cultures, a variety of flora and fauna and is the source of the second longest river – the Nile. Since the 2007 Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting.

About 26.4% of the country’s total area is under protected areas such as national parks, species management areas, game reserves, wilderness areas, marine reserves and Ramsar sites.  Uganda is strengthening efforts to conserve its rich biodiversity. Resulting from this, wildlife populations in all protected areas have rebounded from the dismal figures of the 1970’s and 80’s when the country was ravaged by war and political instability. Creation of the Tourism Police, increase in game rangers and strict border control have significantly reduced poaching and illegal trade in animals and their parts, all of which have also contributed to the steady increase in wildlife populations in the country.  

Further evidence of Uganda’s remarkable tourism potential is the various accolades received in the past few years.  Lonely Planet, an independent tourists’ trusted information source, named Uganda its top destination for 2011/12. In addition, Uganda also received accolades from six trusted publications including: Virungas: One of 20 Must‐See Places for 2012 by National Geographic Travel Magazine, Bwindi: Best African Birding Destination (2011) by Travel Africa Magazine and Rwenzori Mountains: One of World’s 15 Best Hikes by National Geographic in 2012.

Uganda is regaining her position as a top African destination as it was in the 1960’s. From 100,000 visitors in 1993, Uganda received 1,151,000 visitor arrivals in the year 2011 representing an increase of 34% from 2010, an indication of a growing tourism market. The industry’s total contribution to GDP amounts to over 1.5 billion dollars, representing 9% of national GDP. The sector is also one of the major employers in the country, with a total of 522,700 jobs created in 2011, representing 7.9% of the total work force in Uganda. (Figures from Uganda Tourism Sector Situational Assessment, 2012)

The tourism sector which was prioritized as a primary growth sector in the 2010/11‐2014/15 National Development Plan (NDP), once again has its own fully fledged Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to spearhead the process of harnessing Uganda’s tourism potential for economic development and social transformation.  

We believe that by promoting investment in tourism, we invariably support the whole economy through the creation of employment and additional investment opportunities. In Uganda, we have packaged attractive investment incentives ranging from profit repatriation; tax holidays, facilitating importation of special tourist vehicles and property acquisition through a one stop center, the Uganda Investment Authority. Uganda offers attractive tourism investment opportunities in accommodation, hospitality training, tour operations, and water based attraction development.

Tourism is a green economy; it aspires for social inclusiveness and equality. The beauty about the tourism industry is that it is largely a young people industry, strong on entrepreneurial skilling and has relatively low costs or barriers to entry.  Although tourism is one of the major sectors contributing to the social and economic transformation of Uganda, we should not fail to be mindful of the negative effects of the travel and tourism economy to social economic fabric of our societies, the effects of terrorism, drug trafficking, poaching, child labour and prostitutions are raw cancers perpetuated by and through this industry. We need to have in place monitoring mechanisms and sanctions to fight these evils. Parents, Schools and communities must be more vigilant against these vices. Ladies and Gentlemen, once again I am happy to be hosting you here in Pakwach today. 

As you have experienced, we are all safe and secure here today, with no threat from any form of insecurity. Previously displaced people have been successfully resettled and efforts are being put into improving their social and economic conditions. The government is constructing schools and health centers, improving access roads and funding various development initiatives for the people of Northern Uganda. Let me take this opportunity to inform you and the world at large that Uganda is safe and all parts of Uganda, including northern Uganda are safe and open for tourism. Uganda is endowed with rich cultural and natural biodiversity found nowhere else in the world. I encourage investors from within Uganda and other countries to start investing in this region because of the significant potential it has. Before I conclude, I wish to express my appreciation to all our foreign visitors who have come all the way to view the eclipse in Uganda. Finally, ladies and gentlemen, as we participate in activities to mark this unique hybrid eclipse, I invite you to explore other parts of Northern Uganda and indeed the country at large to experience more of our legendary hospitality, culture and the natural beauty of the Pearl of Africa.

I thank you for your kind attention and Happy Eclipse Viewing.

For God and My Country.

The planned launch of Oruzogo mountain gorilla group for tourism has  got  a boost following the birth of two new  babies in the family last  week.

Tibirikwata the dominant Silverback made sure his family is viable and a  formidable force in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest ahead of the  approaching season when hundreds of human friends flock to south western  Uganda to meet their closest cousins.

Information from the forest indicates that the proud mothers are the  cute adult females Birungi and Mutesi although the sex of the two babies  is yet to be established. The new babies join the posse of other  infants Buchura and Kanywani who is Kakobe’s baby.
Rangers  habituating the gorilla group have almost completed the task of naming  all the 16 individuals save for the three infants who are currently  known by their mothers’ identities like Mutesi baby or Birungi baby.
Other  individuals in the group include Busungu(Meaning short  tampered),Kashundwe, Nyakiina,Kaganga(the giant one),Otaka,Bwoba(the  coward)Karimi (tongue)Kiromba,KLatooto(the small one)Kanywani(meaning  friendly,Kakobe who looks like a monkey and Buchura referring to the  youngest or last born before the two newest babies came forth.

NatureUganda  (NU) is a proud corporate sponsor, together with the BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat (BLAPS) and  other BirdLife partners in Rwanda, Kenya and Burundi are implementing a project  on "Empowering local communities for the conservation and sustainable  development of the birds and biodiversity of the Lake Victoria Basin" funded by  AAGE V. Jensen Foundation. In Uganda, the project is being implemented through NU  Site Support Groups (SSGs) in Mabamba and Lutembe bays on Lake Victoria with  the main aim of empowering such local communities to ably conserve biodiversity  on which they highly depend for their livelihoods. This requires that the  communities are equipped with the required tools for biodiversity monitoring  and conservation. Above: Grey-headed Gulls on  Lutembe bay. Such bird congregations are a big tourism attraction for the site.             

Participation  of local communities at all stages of implementation is key if success is to be  achieved. Initial participatory community capacity assessment was conducted.  This was to identify capacity gaps that need to be strengthened. Subsequently a  community resource map was developed highlighting status of natural resources in  the community. This was highly participatory and synthesized threats,  interventions and plans to address pressing needs. These great ideas are  therefore being translated into a community action plan.

There is great enthusiasm  and zeal in the communities and hope for successful delivery of identified  milestones. There is commitment for collaboration between NatureUganda and the  community especially the leadership who pledged support to all endeavours by NatureUganda  . Many of them were quoted saying "Thank you NatureUganda for the  effort you put in to support us, we will always be indebted to you". And others  were saying "NatureUganda, you need to come and help us fight the many  investors who are finishing up the wetland. It is our livelihood and we need to  defend it". Such pleas put on your table are very difficult to ignore. But as  NatureUganda,  we can only do as much.

NU's target is to empower and equip these communities, get them organized  into recognizable groups and let them know that in such groups, they are so  much bigger than NatureUganda and they can ably defend and protect their  resources. A good example is the Mabamba SSG, which now has the capacity to  stop and report any illegal activities to the respective authorities. The LEP  project is here to make all community members able to do that kind of  monitoring and action. Through the management plans recently developed by  NatureUganda together with the communities under this project, these SSGs will  be able to sustainably conserve and develop their sites for better livelihoods

New rates for gorilla tracking permits in Uganda

  • Uganda Wildlife Authority has officially confirmed its new rates for 2014-2015. Effective 1st January 2014 the fees for gorilla permits will increase from US$500 to US$600 per permit. Any gorilla permits secured before 2014 are still sold at US$500, regardless of the tracking date.
  • Discounted rates for gorilla permits are offered during the months of April, May and November 2014 at US$350 per permit (discount of US$150 per permit!).
  • The prices for gorilla tracking permits in Parc National des Volcans (Rwanda) remain at US$750 per permit.

Allocation of gorilla families in Bwindi National Park It is no longer possible to purchase permits for a particular gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, as we were able to do in the past. Instead, gorilla permits are issued per gorilla tracking area, which is similar to the system in Rwanda. The aim of Uganda Wildlife Authority is to assign gorilla groups on the day of tracking and in this way try to match the fitness levels to the location of the particular gorilla families – but no guarantees!

There are four gorilla tracking areas in Bwindi National Park:

  1. Buhoma area (3 gorilla groups)
  2. Ruhija area (2 gorilla groups)
  3. Nkuringo area (1 gorilla group)
  4. Rushaga area (5 gorilla groups)

Recent surveys at two of Water bird counts by Nature Uganda at Musambwa Islands and Air strip ponds in Rakai district have revealed disturbing evidence of diminishing populations of some species. Often these counts can differ if different observers are involved but the counters for the past three counts have been stable. The most critical is Air Strip Ponds. This artificial wetland was formed over thirty years ago when an air strip was created and the removed muram produced seven sizeable ponds. Depending on rain fall and water levels in Lake Victoria they can be very productive for wildfowl with several interesting species noted. The count in January 2011 revealed species as diverse as Rufous-bellied Heron, Lesser Jacana, White-backed Duck and breeding Lesser Moorhen all uncommon in a Ugandan context. While other species present that day were eleven Grey-crowned Cranes and double figures of the resident aquatic Kingfishers, Malachite and Pied.

Events in this area recently have since altered and the air strip is now home to at least 10,000 displaced refugees. These people have been up-rooted from there homes in neighboring Tanzania and forced to return to Uganda where a make shift camp has been provided. Obviously the pressures on the flora and fauna have been radically affected with shrub clearance, water removal and burning of the dried ponds, while lesser threats include brick making and plastic waste. This has resulted in non of the special birds being present, Crane numbers down to two and only single figures of the fish loving kingfishers indeed only a single Malachite was recorded. Unfortunately, the problem is showing no sign of improving and probably more people are still arriving, this will eventually lead to the destruction of these ponds as the people create more farms to feed themselves and build more stable housing.

Musambwa Islands have been counted for many years and numbers of breeding Grey-headed Gulls have remained relatively stable with counts in 2011 of 89955 and 89480 in 2012 while this year’s count on 11th February 2014 revealed only 62240. The main threat to these birds has traditionally come from semi-resident fishermen who supplemented their diet with gull eggs. Judging by the drop in numbers this year and the fact that very few young birds were seen on the main Island which is where the fishermen live, then this may be continuing. The second biggest Island which has no fishermen had quite a lot of young gulls present so the population there seems relatively stable. More monitoring of these Islands will be required to prevent a crash in the population, while affording more protection to the main gull Breeding Island should be a priority.

Roger Q Skeen, NatureUganda

  1. Uganda
  2. Kenya
  3. Rwanda