21 Days Uganda to Rwanda Bird and Wildlife Photography Tour | Mj Safaris Uganda

Day 1: Arrival for Uganda and Rwanda Birding Safari

On arrival, Our MJ Safaris Uganda’s  bird guide picks you from the airport. Depending on the time of arrival, we bird Entebbe botanical gardens.

Overnight at Entebbe Traveller’s Inn | Laico Lake Victoria Hotel

Day 2: Birding Tour to Lake Mburo National Park via Mabamba

Swamps for the Shoebill birding trips Uganda Early in the morning, we bird Via Mabamba Swamps for the elusive Shoebill, Some papyrus endemics, the African and Lesser Jacanas, the White-faced and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Blue breasted bee-Eater, Carruther`s Cisticola, The Black-Chested, Brown and western Banded Snake Eagles, a number of Gull and Heron Species and other water birds species to L. Mburo National Park for our night. We have a short stop at the Equator for an informative talk, photography and the equator experience.

Overnight at Mihingo lodge | Arcadia Cottages (FB)

Day 3: Birdwatching Tour to Rwanda from Uganda

We have an early morning breakfast and with packed lunch, go for a Game drive, heading along the lakeshore towards the Kigambira Loop. We check for some papyrus specialties before heading towards Rwanda. We scan for Papyrus Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-headed Gonolek, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Northern brown-throated Weaver, Red-faced Barbet, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-winged Tit, White-headed Barbet, Coqui, and the Red-winged Francolins, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Harlequin and Blue Quails, Common Button Quail, Greenwood Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Blue-napped Mousebird, Blue-breasted and Shining-blue Kingfishers, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, the Nubian, Buff-spotted, Brown-eared, and the Grey Woodpeckers, Trilling, Stout, Tabora and Wing-snapping Cisticolas, Red-necked spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, among others. Expect big game also.

Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 4: Birding Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda

Nyungwe forest is situated in southwest 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 has 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 Rift endemic birds search. Among the many we look out for, include; Kivu Ground-Thrush, 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 Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 5: 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 Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 6: Rwanda Bird Watching Tour to Akagera National Park

Today we bird 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 Stork and 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 much more.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 7: Whole Day Birding Akagera National Park

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 8: Birding to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda

This morning we leave Rwanda for Buhoma in Bwindi National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a magical place of mists, hanging mosses and luxuriant vegetation, a true rain forest at the junction of the plain and mountain forests, spreading across valleys and over a range steep ridges forming Albertine Rift Valley eastern edge. It is one of the most biologically rich forests in Africa.

Africa’s number one birding spot Africa’s number one birding spot boosts of a 360 bird species record with 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics among which include the globally threatened African Green Broadbill and the Shelley’s Crimsonwing along with the endangered Mountain Gorillas.

Overnight at Gorilla Resort | Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 9: Mountain Gorilla Tracking and Birding in Bwindi

Mountain gorilla trekking is the main activity for you today. 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 though half of this population is in Uganda. The Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei), was not yet known to a scientist until 1902. They are the next closest living relatives to human beings after the two chimpanzee species, sharing 97% DNA with us.

Possible species to be pocketed on this day while and after Gorilla Tracking may include; White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Gray-green Bush-shrike, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Bar-tailed Trogon, Dusky Tit, Kivu Ground-Thrush, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Equatorial Akalat, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Red-throated Alethe, White-bellied Crested- Flycatcher, Black-billed Weaver, Magpie Mannikin, African Goshawk, Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Sooty Flycatcher and many more Other wildlife that we may be fortunate enough to find here include the huge Yellow-backed Duiker, Guereza Colobus, L’Hoest’s, Blue and Red-tailed monkeys, Chimpanzee and several species of squirrels including Fire-footed Rope, Carruthers’ Mountain, Ruwenzori Sun and Red-legged Sun Squirrel.

Overnight at Gorilla Resort | Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 10: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today we head to Queen Elizabeth National Park; This Uganda’s most popular game reserve and certainly one of the most scenic. It stretches from the crater dotted foothills of the Rwenzori ranges in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from open Savannah to rainforest, dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake George. These qualify it a little wonder that is the highest biodiversity conservation reserve in the world, We shall drive through Ishasha sector for the famous tree climbing lions.

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge | Simba Safari Camp (FB)

Day 11: Uganda Birdwatching Tour of Queen Elizabeth National Park

Early in the Morning we go birding for a game drive for more Savanna Species and in the afternoon we take the famous remarkable launch cruise on Kazinga Channel for waterfowl like the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, African Skimmer, Yellow-billed and the Saddle- billed storks, African Wattled Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Water Thick-knee, Collared Pratincole, the Grey-headed, Black-headed and Slender-billed Gulls, Grebes, Ducks and many more.

Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge | Simba Safari Camp (FB)

Day 12: Bird Watching Tour to Kibale Forest

After an early morning breakfast, set off for Kibale Forest National Park, along the way expect to see; the Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, the Black and Black-winged Red Bishops, the African Palm and Little Swifts, Common Bulbul, Doves, Pigeons, the Lesser-stripped and Angola Swallows among others.

Overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (FB)

Days 13: Kibale Forest Chimp Tracking – Uganda Trekking Tours

chimpanzeeThe common Chimpanzee the species found here. Chimps are man’s closest relatives in the primate world; over 600 hundred of them are home at Kibale Forest. The tracking activity starts at 0800 as you report at the ranger station for briefing. A variety of primates and other wildlife will be available for your view in the forest.

Overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (Full Board)

Day 14: Birding Kibale National Park- Uganda Rwanda Birding

We head to the forest early in the morning for Green-breasted Pitta other species will include; Brown Illadopsis, Brown-capped Weaver, Brown-chested Alethe, Black-headed Oriole, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Green-pigeon, Black-crowned Tchagra, African Wood Owl, African/Rwenzori/Abyssinian Hill-Babbler, Alpine Swift, Ashy Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Black Bee-eater, Black Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Black-and-white Mannikin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Black-billed Turaco, Black-billed Weaver, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, African Dusky Flycatcher, Black-headed Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, African/Western Citril, Black-throated Apalis, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-throated Roller, African Blue Flycatcher, Bocage’ Bush-shrike, Bronze Mannikin, Zebra Waxbill, Bronze Sunbird, and many more.

Overnight at Kibale Primate Lodge | Kibale Forest Camp (Full Board)

Day 15: Birding to Masindi

Today, we bird to Masindi the gateway to Budongo Forest which has a prolific birdlife with two species of birds confined to it in East Africa: 10 of the 22 species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome and 93 of the 144 species Guinea–Congo Forests biome that occur in Uganda.

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board)

Day 16: Birdwatching Budongo Forest

We bird the marvelous Royal mile and several other trails for the whole day. We look for the globally threatened Puvel’s Illadopsis and Nahan’s Francolin other special birds include; the Yellow-billed Barbet, Grey-throated Barbet, Honeyguide Greenbul, Chocolate–backed Kingfisher, White-headed Saw-wing, White Wagtail, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Little Crake, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, African Paradise Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Lemon-bellied Crombec, African Moustached Warbler, Green-backed Eremomela, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, African Citril, African Golden-breasted Bunting, Black-crowned Waxbill, Bronze Mannikin, Black-billed Bluebill, Black-winged Red Bishop, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Spectacled Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver, Compact Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Red-headed Weaver, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Purple Starling, Purple-headed Starling, Splendid Starling, Northern Puffback, Black-headed Gonolek, Tropical Boubou, Isabelline Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Western Violet-backed Sunbird and many more.

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board)

Day 17: Birding Tour of Budongo Forest and Kaniyo Pabidi

Overnight at Masindi Hotel (Full Board)

Day 18: Bird Watching to Murchison Falls National Park of Uganda

bird watching tours rwandaWe have breakfast and bird to Murchison Fall National Park. We look out for Yellow-rumped and Yellow-fronted Tinkerbirds, Foxy Cisticola, Black Bishop, the Northern and Black-winged Red Bishops, Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting, Tropical Boubou, the Grey-crowned and Black-crowned Tchagras, Stripped Kingfisher, White-headed Barbet, and many more as we head to the top of the Falls and latter to the Lodge.

Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge | Red Chilli Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 19: Murchison Fall National Park Bird Watching Tour

Today, we do Game drive birding in search for, The Giant, Pied, Malachite, Stripped, Chestnut-bellied, Blue-breasted, Woodland and the African Pygmy Kingfishers, House Martin, African Rock Martin, Lesser Stripped Swallow, Ethiopian Swallow, Angola Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Rufous-chested Swallow, Nightingale, Rock Thrush, Pied Wheatear, Whinchat, Common Redstart, White-fronted Black Chat, Sooty Chat, Isabelline Wheatear, Common Bulbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-throated Greenbul, the Black, White-breasted, and Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrikes, the Black and Penduline Tits, the Arrow-marked, Black-lored and Brown Babblers, Nubian Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Black Scimitarbill, Green Wood Hoopoe, a number of Buzzards, Barbets, Rollers, Harriers, Vultures, Eagles, Bee-eaters, Warblers, and so forth.

The afternoon is time for a launch cruise on Victoria Nile for waterfowl among which might include; the elusive Shoebill Stork, Little Grebe, Great White and the Pink-backed Pelicans, Red-knobbed Coot, African Water Rail, Allen’s Gallinule, Black Crake, African Crake, Black-crowned Crane, Southern Pochard, The Egyptian, African Pygmy, and the Spur-winged Gooses, Storks like; the Saddle-billed, Open-billed, Abdim’s, White, Yellow-billed, Marabou, and the Wooly-necked, the Little and Dwarf Bitterns, Night Heron, Black Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Green Backed Heron, Common Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Cormorants, the African and Eurasian Spoonbills, the Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Jacana, African Finfoot, Painted Snipe, Wattled Plover the list is very long.

Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge | Red Chilli Rest Camp (Full Board)

Day 20: Murchison Falls NP to Entebbe for the last night

Overnight at Entebbe Traveller’s Inn | Laico Lake Victoria Hotel (Full Board)

Day 21: End of Uganda and Rwanda Birding Tour – Departure