Uganda 2023: Shoebills, Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees & more

November 1 – 13, 2023

Tour Length: 13 days
Est. Spaces Left: Spaces available!

Our trip to Uganda is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Spend an hour with a family group of the endangered Mountain Gorilla; search for the elusive, prehistoric-looking Shoebill; and follow a troop of Chimpanzees through the thickest of forests. Uganda, though one of the smaller African nations, has a bird list of more than 1000 species. In addition, it is home to many of Africa’s iconic mammals, including Lion, Leopard, Water Buffalo, Elephants, and many others. The tourist infrastructure is first-rate and Uganda’s people are extremely welcoming. The National Park system is vast and well-protected by a cadre of highly-motivated park rangers. The habitat is diverse with savanna, tropical rainforest, and high mountain peaks. Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile River and the largest lake in Africa, is one of many lakes dotting the landscape. High Lonesome guide, Stephan Lorenz, will co-lead with Johnny Kamugisha—an outstanding Uganda guide with 16 years of experience leading birding trips in his home country.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz

Focus

Birds, Mammals, Photography

Price

Double Accommodation: $9300/person
Single Supplement: + $1000
Deposit: $1000

Max. Group Size

6 with High Lonesome & local leader

Pace

Easy to Moderate ; Mostly driving and riding in boats with some easy walks. One potentially intense walk in search of the gorillas.

Future Departures

September 2024

Tour Descriptions

Birding and Gorillas Uganda  November 1st to 13th 2023 
Bird Mabamba, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Lake Mburo National Parks, and Botanical Gardens.
 
Day 1: Nov 1st, 2023: Arrival
Arrive at Entebbe International Airport, meet & greet your driver/guide and proceed to accommodation which is 7 minutes away. The Boma.
 
Day 2: Nov 2nd, 2023: Bird Mabamba
Early breakfast and then with packed lunch proceed to Mabamba Wetlands, get onto a motorized boat, and commence birding. Look out for birds like the mighty Shoebill and other birds like Long-tailed Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Long-toed Plover, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater. Head to the lodge for lunch then continue birding around when the sun has gone down. Dinner and Overnight at Nkima Lodge.
 
Day 3: Nov 3rd, 2023:  Bird to Kibale
After breakfast, start your drive as we bird westwards getting to Fort Portal in time for lunch. After lunch, proceed for the drive to accommodation. This is a very good area for photography with lots of plants and flowers within the compound. Look out for birds like Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Eastern Plantain Eater, Double-toothed Barbet, Tropical Boubou, Tinkerbirds, Cardinal Woodpecker, White-browed Robin-Chat, African Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Bronze Sunbird, Copper Sunbird, Green-headed Sunbird, Village Weaver, Vieillot’s Weaver, Brimstone Canary among others. As a warm shower, a checklist and dinner await.
Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Guest House.
 
Day 4: Nov 4th, 2023: Bird Kibale National Park
Early breakfast and then proceed to bird Kibale Forest which is the best place in Uganda to see Chimps and other primates. A morning walk through the forest combines chimp trekking with a selection of forest birds. Look out for birds like Narina Trogon, African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Sabine’s Spinetail, Black-billed Turaco, Yellow-billed Barbet, Red-tailed Ant Thrush among other birds and Primates like Blue Monkey, Black and white Colobus, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon, Varvet Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, L’Hoest’s Monkey among others. Note that those who want to do the chimp walk as others are looking for birds will need to book in advance. Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Guest House. 
 
Day 5: Nov 5th, 2023: Bird Bigodi and then head QENP
After breakfast, proceed to bird the Bigodi area coming back in time for lunch. After lunch, head for the drive along the foothills of the mountains of the Moon (Rwenzori Mountains) by Kasese, and crossing the Equator as you get close to Lake Kikorongo, birding en-route to the Enganzi lodge where you will spend two nights. Look out for birds like Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Red-necked Spurfowl, Great blue Turaco, Barbets, Tinkerbirds, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Cuckoos, Lesser Striped Swallows, Black-lored babbler, Grey-backed Shrike, Sunbirds among other birds. Dinner and Overnight at Enganzi Lodge.
 
Day 6: Nov 6th, 2023: Bird Queen Elizabeth NP and Boat Ride
After breakfast a morning game drive/birding. Lunch at the Lodge and in the afternoon go looking for birds on launch (boat) cruise on the Kazinga Channel, to see a variety of wildlife like, hippos, crocodiles, and bird life from a boat for two hours. Look out for birds like Yellow-billed Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, Raptors, Plovers, White-browed Robin-chat, Rufous napped Lark, Red-chested Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Shrikes, Weavers, Finches, among other birds. Also, look out for mammals like Uganda Kob, Bushbuck, Defassa Waterbuck, Buffaloes, Elephants, and Warthog among others. Dinner and Overnight at Enganzi Lodge.
 
Day 7: Nov 7th, 2023:  Bird your way to Bwindi
With your picnic lunch bird your way to Bwindi. Look out for birds like Martial Eagle, Francolins, Barbets, Chats, Cuckooshrikes, Sunbirds, Fork-tailed Drongo, Larks, Pipits, Weavers, Widowbirds, and Bishops among other birds. You will look out for mammals like Topi, Uganda Kob, Water Buck, Buffaloes, Elephants, Baboons, and others. Dinner and Overnight at Engagi Lodge.
 
Day 8: Nov 8th, 2023: Gorilla Trekking 
Breakfast then head to the Gorilla trekking briefing point.
We recommend you to wear good walking shoes and carry good rain gear and enough drinking water. Gorilla trekking can be tough and challenging and so we trust you are in a reasonably fit condition for the Gorilla trekking levels. You will carry a picnic lunch with you into the forest but not to share with the Gorillas and you will be thrilled to have seen these Gorillas (no guarantee) and the return journey from Gorilla trekking could be easier. Dinner and Overnight at Engagi Lodge. 
 
Day 9: Nov 9th, 2023:  Bird Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Buhoma Sector)
Today we will be birding Bwindi Impenetrable forest looking for species like Bar-tailed Trogon, Black Bee-Eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Tinkerbirds and Barbets, Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, assorted Greenbuls, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Starlings, Black-billed Weaver, Brown-capped weaver among other birds. Dinner and Overnight at Engagi Lodge.
 
Day 10: Nov 10th, 2023: Bird to Lake Mburo National Park
This morning, we’ll bird eastwards through the terraced mountains of Kigezi to the open plains and rocky hillsides of Ankole. We’ll have a few stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and birds. We’ll be able to get closer views of the fabulous Ankole long-horned cattle as we drive to Mbarara and onto Lake Mburo where we’ll stay at Rwakobo Rock for the next three nights. Birding here is a delightful experience, and often one of the highlights of a birding trip to Uganda. Look out for birds like Augur Buzzard, Crested Francolin, Emerald Spotted Wood Dove, Spot flanked Barbet, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Lilac-breasted Roller, Black-headed Gonolek, Starlings among other birds. Dinner and Overnight at Kimbla Mantana Tented Camp. 
 
Day 11: Nov 11th, 2022:  Bird Lake Mburo National Park 
Whole day birding Lake Mburo National Park looking for birds like the Bateleur, Crested Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Red-faced Barbet, Spot-flanked Barbet, Larks, Pipits, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis among others birds. In the afternoon, take a boat cruise to look for the African Finfoot and other birds. Before dinner try the African Scops Owl, Swamp, Black-shouldered and Freckled Nightjars among other birds. Look out for animals like the gorgeous Eland, Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Topi, Reedbuck, Waterbuck Bushbuck, Hippos, and Bush duiker as you look for birds. Dinner and Overnight at Kimbla Mantana Tented Camp. 
Day 12: Nov 12th, 2023: Bird your way to Entebbe              
After breakfast with your bags packed, bird the area looking for Freckled Nightjar, Square-tailed Nightjar, Red-headed Lovebird, Striped Pipit, Golden-breasted Bunting, Copper Sunbird, Tropical Boubou, Black-lored Babbler, Green-winged Pytlia, among others before starting on your return journey to Entebbe. Overnight at The Boma ( Full Board)
 
Day 13: Nov 13th, 2023: Departure 
After breakfast, pack the bags, keep them with the reception and head out to bird the Botanical Gardens for late departures, and head back to accommodation for lunch. This day is set aside as a departure day.

Locations

Gallery

More Details

Trip Highlights

Top Birds

Shoebill, Green-breasted Pitta, Nahan’s Francolin, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Papyrus Gonolek, Lühder’s, Many-coloured & Bocage’s Bushshrikes, Red-throated Alethe, Ituri Batis, Great Blue Turaco, Dusky & Olive Long-tailed Cuckoos, Blue Malkoha, Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Grauer’s and Neumann’s Warblers, Fraser’s Rufous Thrush, White-tailed & Red-tailed Ant Thrushes, Lowland Masked & Mountian Masked Apalises, Afep & White-naped Pigeons, Red-chested Owlet, Grey-winged, Blue-shouldered & White-bellied Robin-Chats, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Magpie Mannikin, Kakamega and Ansorge’s Greenbuls, Jameson’s Antpecker

Top Mammals

Lion, Leopard, Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Giant Forest Hog, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Central African Red Colobus,

Other Attractions

Spectacular scenery, photography, mammal watching, African culture

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Entebbe, Uganda International Airport

Accommodations

Comfortable to upscale with en-suite bathrooms.

Included

11 nights accommodation and all meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 12. Boat excursions. Transport to and from the airport. Transport to birding locations. Services of a local guide. Tips to guides optional

Excluded

Does not include alcoholic drinks, tips to guides & boatmen (optional) laundry, or other items of a personal nature.

Habitats Covered

Wetlands, papyrus swamps, grassland & acacia savanna, montane forest, lowland rainforest

Expected Climate

Tropical; some rain; cooler in highlands

Suggested Clothing and Gear

Valid, current passport (w/ 4 blank pages)
Visa (if required)
Credit cards/cash
Binoculars
Scope and tripod (optional)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
Water bottle
Small umbrella
Small day pack/fanny pack
Small flashlight
Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
Itch relief cream
Lip screen/balm
Prescription drugs – carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
Toiletries
Small alarm clock
Cleaning fluids/cloths/drying cloths
Field guides
Hiking Boots/Shoes
Lightweight shoes/sneakers/sandals

Light-weight long pants
Light-weight long-sleeved shirts
Hat with brim/visor
Rain jacket/windbreaker
Shorts
T-shirts
Swimsuit