13 Days Kidepo Valley National Park Birding Trip
Birding Eastern Uganda | Kidepo Valley National Park Bird Watching Tour | Mountain Elgon Birding Trip | Bird guide Adventure
Day 1: Arrival for Birding Kidepo Valley National Park 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 cover 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 Turaco, etc.
Day 2: Transfer to Mountain Elgon National Park
Have an early breakfast and drive east to Mountain Elgon National Park. We may do a few hours beak at Mabira Forest or along the way to get a few birds. Mountain Elgon NP harbors 43 of the 144 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and 56 of the 88 species of Afro-tropical Highland biome that occur in Uganda. With it great records, It should be a great spot to start the eastern Uganda birding circuit tour.
Day 3: Birding Mountain Elgon National Park Trails
We will have breakfast and then head into the park’s montane forests. We shall cover some of the well-established trails in search for Hunter’s Cisticola and Jackson Francolin, Moorland Francolin, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Alpine Chat, White-starred Robin, Cape Robin-Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Little Rock-Thrush, Northern Anteater Chat, Nightingale, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Mountain Yellow Warbler, African Reed Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Upcher’s Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, the Uganda and Brown Woodland Warblers, Green Hylia, White-browed Crombec, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Stout, Thrilling, and Rattling Cisticolas. Chances of seeing the Banded Prinia, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Yellow-billed Shrike, Ludher’s Bush-shrike, Cape Rock, Fan-tailed and White-napped Raven, Chestnut Sparrow, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, White-headed Buffaloe-Weaver and many more are in a great percentage here.
Day 4: Transfer to Pian Upe Game Reserve
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, although not a well-visited location by birders and other nature lovers, it is by far one of the most remarkable protected areas in Uganda. Virgin grassland and wooded habitats have created an extremely welcoming habitat for dry country birds and very cool mammals that travelers should seek. On this note, this is the only park in the country where the handsome Roan antelopes can be seen. We will search its Red acacia, Desert date, Bushwillows, Harrisonia abyssinica, and Red spike thorns as well as shrubs such as butterfly pea and wooly caper bush for several Cisticola family birds. We will observe its sky for some very cool birds of prey like the spectacular Secretary Bird, Fawny Lark, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Hartlaub’s Bustard, Jackson’s Hornbill, and east African endemics like the Karamoja Apalis.
Day 5: Whole Day Birding of Pian Upe and Surroundings
Day 6: Birding to Kidepo Valley National Park
Day 7, 8 and 9: Birding Kidepo Valley National Park
Three full days will be spent exploring Kidepo, activities will include bird watching, day and night game drives, cultural visit to the Karamajong communities for some cultural performances, game, and bird walks within the park as well as easy.
Kidepo Valley National Park is the least explored of all Uganda’s parks and yet proves to offer the best as far as ornithological trips are concerned. Kidepo has a record of up to 480 species in total, making it the second-highest after Queen Elizabeth National Park of all the protected areas in the country. Being the only IBA located entirely within the Somali– Masai biome, 28 species from the Somali-Masai and Sudan–Guinea Savanna biomes are endemic to this park in Uganda.
The Narus Valley and the Ostrich areas are amazing spots for an exceptional birding experience. The Common Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Scissor-tailed Kite, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Fox Kestrel, Stone Partridge, Clapperton's, Heuglin's, Yellow-necked Francolins, Kori, White-bellied and Hartlaub's Bustards, Violet-tipped Courser, Black-headed Lapwing, Four-banded Sand Grouse, Bruce's Green Pigeon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-crested Turaco, White-bellied Go-away bird, White-faced Scoops Owl, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars, Little Green Bee-eater, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, the Abyssinian Ground, Eastern Yellow and Jackson's Hornbills, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Singing Bush lark, Red-winged Lark, Ethiopian Swallow, Pied, Isabelline and Heuglin's Wheaters, Grayish Flycatcher, Foxy and Red pate Cisticolas, Karamoja Apalis, White-bellied Tit, Mouse-coloured Pendu Tit, Northern White-crowned and Yellow-billed Shrikes, the all black bush-shrike called Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Superb Starling, Red billed Oxpecker, Eastern Violet backed, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbirds, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Yellow-spotted Petronia, White-headed and White-billed Buffalo Weavers, White-browed and Chestnut- crowned Sparrow Weavers, Grey-capped Social and Speckle-fronted Weavers, Pytilias like Green-winged, Orange-winged and Red-winged, Black-bellied and Black-faced Waxbills, Steel-blue and Straw-tailed Whydahs, and the Brown-rumped Bunting, are just a few of the 480 bird species the Park boosts yet very likely to be seen.
Kidepo's mammal list of over 80 species includes 28 species not found in any other Ugandan National park. Amongst these are such charismatic African animals as Bat-eared Fox, Caracal, Cheetah, and Klipspringer. Unfortunately, Kidepo suffered the same fate as many other Ugandan parks during the 1970s and 1980S and is still recovering from years of poaching that left game herds depleted. Spotted Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant's gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and were presumed to be locally extinct. Other large mammals have shown a remarkable recovery and there are now healthy populations of Elephant, Common Zebra, Buffalo, Bohor Reedbuck, Waterbuck, and Kongoni. Predators are plentiful and Spotted Hyena, Leopard and Lion are frequently seen. The Oribis are abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther's Dik-Dik. The Senegal Galago and Side-striped Jackal may be found in the rest camp at night and White-tailed Mongoose is common but more likely to be found on a night drive. The park also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna.
Day 10: Bird Watching to Gulu
The drive from Kidepo Valley NP to Entebbe is very long with over 10 hours drive yet there are possible good species to pick along the way. So we bird from Kidepo Valley NP and spend a night at Gulu town