We’ve just finished our 3-week birding trip to Uganda and wow what a trip!
Our journey took us from Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria west to the Mabamba Wetland and Lake Mburo NP and on to Bwindi Impenetrable NP for the Albertine Rift endemics, restricted species from the Congo forest. We then birded north to Queen Elizabeth NP, on to Kibale Forest NP and then to the Semliki Valley on the border with the Congo for the Guinea-Congo biome species. Then north-east to bird the Budongo Forest and on to Murchison Falls NP before completing the loop back to Entebbe. This route took us to the richest bird areas in Uganda covering a multitude of habitats from lush rainforest to wild savannahs, wetlands and swamps.
We managed 521 species of which 289 were new for us having birded 7 other African countries but all of them (apart from Morocco) further south.
There were many highlights:
Paddling through the channels of the Mabamba-Kamengo wetlands by canoe for Shoebill and finding this extraordinary iconic bird.
Being in the Kibale Forest at dawn listening to the forest come alive and watching Chimpanzees wander by as we waited at a nest for Green-breasted Pitta.
Waiting for dusk out on the savannah in Murchison Falls NP and then spotlighting for Nightjars and watching a lioness hunt Oribi. It was incredible to be out there in the wilderness watching all of the game prepare for nightfall. The game drives in Africa are incredible and none more so than here with the diversity of wildlife.
The non-avian highlight was Mountain Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable NP and then spending part of the morning just a few yards from these awesome primates and watching all of the interactions between the Silver-back male and family members as they went about their daily activities – a bucket list experience for sure and one we will never forget. We also went Chimpanzee tracking which was equally amazing.
Our guide Crammy Wanyama was the best guide we have birded with anywhere in the world and having seriously birded 37 countries we know we are not easy to please! He is a superb guide and such a nice guy.
Uganda is spectacular not just for its birds but for its wildlife and friendly people and a very high recommend for any serious world birder.
As always, Carol will add this trip to the itineraries on her website (www.canbirdtours.com) shortly. Meanwhile, if anyone would like details of our trip including route, guide and accommodations let me know and I will happily pass it along.
Lots of photos to follow!
It was a pleasure. 21 Days - August 5 to 25, 2017
Derek and Carol Matthews. Vancouver Canada
22 Days July 17 to August 7, 2017 Trip Report
This 22 day Uganda birding and Nature trip was a customized for three. We covered a multitude of habitats Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” is gifted with. We birded inland fresh water shower lines & and rivers, woodlands, bushes and thickets, true Savanna, from Montane to mid elevation and down to lowland forests. Covering the African continent’s most important birdlife biomes – Albertine Rift Montane Forest, East Sudanian Savannah, Northern Acacia-Commiphora Bushlands and thickets, Northern Congolian Forest-Savanna Mosaic, Victoria Basin Forest-Savannah Mosaic, and Zambezian Flooded Grasslands, among others. We did well with local specialties; getting some of Africa’s most sought-after species- Shoebill, Grauer’s Broadbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Eastern Mountain Gorilla and Common Chimpanzee. Well favoured by weather, generally. Some evening showers were well appreciated for cooler mornings. The country was generally green which is normally the case during and after the rain seasons, and probably best times for breeding resident species and both wildlife & scenic photography. A few parts like Lake Mburo and Ishasha the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park needed some rain, the later happening to be the driest during the trip, most of the grass here was golden brown.
With Andre Weiss, Hans Sigg and Dominik Pfister. Winterthur, Switzerland
We grew to expect something astounding, not because this was our first trip to Africa, but because Crammy put us in position to be totally surprised. The world of red dirt Africa whizzed by our comfortable A/C vehicle as we went from game park to game park, stopping at selected locations where dancing Gray-Crowned Cranes performed, or weaver nests galore decorated the acacia trees. We always got the best rooms at the best places, like when a herd of 25 elephants materialized right in front and below our cabin near Queen Elizabeth National Park, or where Ankola cattle with those enormous horns grazed and pesky baboons perched around and near our rock cabin (or banda).
Here are 600 of my favorite photos. http://rauzon.zenfolio.com/p1009494848/slideshow#h907ab7af
Click Here To View Report 22 Days June 15 to July 6, 2017 Trip Report.
With Mark J. Rauzon and Suzanne M. Rauzon. Oakland, U.S.A
22 Days December 26 2016 to January 16, 2017 Trip Report by William Young, Author of The Fascination of Birds: From the Albatross to the Yellowthroat.
William Young. Pennslyvania. U.S.A
Thank You so much for this unforgettable tour!
Click Here To View 20 Days Report for January 30 - February 18, 2015
Click Here To View 28 Days Report for June 24 - July 21, 2016
Dr. Zieger Michael and Beatrice Ullrich. Germany
Crammy Wanyama is one of the best guides I've ever had. Right from the start, he customised an itinerary for us that allowed us to cover every single experience I wanted in Uganda, within three weeks and within budget: Gorillas, chimps, Mountains of the Moon’s botanical giants (unfortunately we only saw the Giant Lobelia), Big 5, chameleons, good birding (especially Shoebill), night drives/walks for nocturnal animals, Batwa pygmies etc. Other agencies I asked merely threw me their standard itinerary and hoped that I would bite. On tour, Crammy was accommodating and flexible, polite and informative, and a bird guide extraordinaire with great ID skills (song & sight), even when it came to raptors and waders. He uses site guides (multiplying the number of spotters), which is true eco-tourism as it brings income to the local community. His 10-seater van was comfortable and had a pop-up roof that was great for safaris. It also ensured that the four of us in the tour each enjoyed a window seat. Crammy also went the extra mile. When I was ill, he arranged for the hotel to make me citrus juice twice daily, which he claimed works wonders for him. It definitely perked me up too. He comes highly recommended by all four of us from Singapore.
Gloria Seow. Singapore
We really enjoyed the tour! We saw a lot of animals (birds & mammals) and Ibrahim was a really good guide. His know-how was really helpful in finding the more difficult animals (lions, hyenas, etc.). His informative knowledge on the animals, the areas, etc. was excellent. Please send him our regards and compliments! The accommodation was nice and services were nice. So again, we really enjoyed the trip.
I can't believe how much we saw on our 14 days safari of Albertine endemic birds search. The unique bird species we observed, especially the endemics and restricted range species along with the unforgettable 24 gorillas in Bwindi, was incredible. I am happy to let you know, we really appreciated your professional conduct, from the the time of answering the mails to the last day with a very knowledgeable guide. Loved the mix of things especially the local experiences. Keep up the criteria for choosing your guides.
Alex Mcgregor. Ohio, USA
You made our holiday very special. We stayed in Uganda from 27 December 2012 to 2 January 2013 and are now safely back home.
We thoroughly enjoyed birding and gorilla tracking in your beautiful country. Our bird count reached 136 in total, of which many were new to us. We appreciate your hospitality and professionalism very much.
You made our holiday very special.
Himeno Tsutomu. Japan
Birdwatching Tour Well Arranged
I just returned from my 17 Day Uganda Birding and Gorilla Tracking Tour. We ticked-off 420 species. Credits to Crammy our guide, he was very knowledgeable especially in our prime interest- the birds. You are very organised, we had everything attended to as planned. I strongly recommend.
Agapito N. Ecuador, South America
Thank you so much. We had a great birding tour, it was everything we could have asked for. Everything went very smoothly. Yes we saw the birds. We can work on getting some photos for you.
If there are any websites that you would like me to post a positive review about your company, please let me know. Emma did an excellent job and i will be happy to recommend you to anyone planning on making a Uganda or Rwanda.
Mac Daff. Chicago USA.
We are back home and working on time to sort our photos. I want to thank the staff of Avian Safaris for sincerely arranging and guiding me and my wife on our 17 days birds and wildlife photography trip in Uganda. Focusing on the region's large and interesting set of endemic species. Your flexibility and creativity fitting into my birding desires were extraordinary. I could not want more. I am impressed by the care of your organization, the effectiveness of your birding site selection, and your enthusiasm and patience. I have never had more fun birding as with your guide. Thank you very much.
We definitely will consider your company on our future trips to East African.
Theunis .K. Netherlands
Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world's most endangered apes with a population of less than 800 individuals world over- none in zoos. They are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
They share 97% DNA with human beings! They are our closest living cousins after the Chimpanzee, They have up to 25 vocalization for communication
Mountain Gorillas are shy, social and very active during day. They live in families of 8-25 members with one leading male (The Silver Back).
Gorillas have a lifespan of 50 years in the wild. They reproduce at a very slow speed with a gestation period of approximately 8.5 months and an interval of four years to the next birth.
Diet: Mainly herbivores eating fruits, herbs, leaves, stems, roots and shoots. Sometimes ingest small insects like ants and termites.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Aves, Family: Eurylaimidae, Genus: Pseudocalyptomena, Species: Pseudocalyptomena graueri
The Grauer's Broadbill or African Green Broadbill (Pseudocalyptomena graueri) is an actual broadbill, one of only a few African representatives of a primarily Asian family. It is bright green with a blue throat and vent and a small bill, quite unlike those of the other broadbills. It is endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests where it forages in canopies.
It is one of the African Big Five bird species, highly sought after by ornithologists but very elusive.
The species is both globally endangered and endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.