Uganda is famously known as the “Pearl of Africa”because it is endowed with a variety of attractions. Among these is the incredible checklist of birds with almost half of Africa’s diverse bird species. It is ranked among the best birding destinations on the continent and in the world. Whether on a very short vacation that may not allow you travel as far as the national parks for the activity, one can spot about 200 bird species in a day in the nearest areas around the capital Kampala. On this 5 Days Birding Safari in Uganda, we explore some of the popular birding areas in Entebbe, Mabamba and Lake Mburo National Park.
The Entebbe Botanical gardens offer and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre are home to different impressive bird species. Also known as Mabamba bay, Mabamba swamp is renown for hosting the elusive shoebill stork. Visiting Lake Mburo National Park offers a great opportunity to see some of its avian life that dwell in the flourishing plains and near the water bodies.
Birding safari highlights
- Day 1: Birding at Entebbe Botanical Gardens, areas around Lake Victoria and UWEC
- Day 2: Bird watching at Mabamba
- Day 3: Transfer to Lake Mburo
- Day 4: Bird watching at Lake Mburo
- Day 5: Birding in the park and return to Kampala
Detailed itinerary of the 5 day bird Uganda birding safari
Day 1: Bird watching at UWEC, the Entebbe Botanical Gardens and areas near Lake Victoria
Many know UWEC as home to big game such as lions, cheetah, giraffe, elephant and rhino among others. However,it is exciting to know that this place also has a number of birds and birding tours are always memorable there. Our safari guide picks you up from the lodge and drive to UWEC. Birds at the centre include ostrich, crown cranes, parrots, northern masked weaver bird, pelicans and Black-necked baglafect among others.
Enjoy lunch at the preferred hotel around Entebbe and proceed to Entebbe Botanical Gardens for another birding session. With about 309 plant species, the gardensare one of the best birding areasnear Kampala. Common bird sightings of interest here arethe Whilst bat Hawk, Yellow-throated leaf love, Great Blue Turaco, orange weaver, Great reed warbler, African fish eagleblack and white Casqued hornbill among others. Walk around the shores of the Lake Victoria at the gardens to spot some water birds.Dinnerand overnight at your lodge.
Lodge options: Imperial Botanical Resort, Cassia lodge
Day 2: Mabamba Swamp Birding
Take breakfast early and embark on a trip to Mabamba swamp for the thrilling canoe ride that takes you to areas where the elusive shoebill stork is often seen. Driving from Entebbe to Mabamba takes about one hour. Get on the traditional canoe with a site guide who advises on possible locations of specific bird species. The experience is adventurous as we ride through the swamps hosting many other bird species includingGoliath herons, White faced whistling duck, Moorhen black crake, Yellow billed duck, long-toed plover, purple pygmy goose, papyrusgonolek, Allen’s Gallinule, Yellow-rumpedTinkerbird and many others.After the tour, get back to the lodge and relax. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 3: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
Driving from Kampala to this park takes about 4 hours via Masaka. After breakfast, meet the driver guide and set off for the 240km journey to the beautiful green,game-filled park. If you are analytical, there is a good number of birds to see when traveling. There is also a great opportunity to experience the imaginary equator line at Kayabwe. Stand in both the southern and northern hemisphere at the equator monument and pause for some photos for the beautiful memories at this point.
You can as well view the water experiment or take a cup of tea or grab a souvenir at the gift shop. Proceed with the drive to the park. The population of birds tends to increase and become more interesting as soon as you get to Nshara gate. Have lunch at the lodge and head out for a brief birding experience in Rwonyo.
Lodge options: Mihingo lodge (luxury) Arcadia Cottages (midrange) Eagle’s Nest (budget)
Day 4: Birding on a nature walk
A delicious breakfast and then we move with a ranger guide through the trails of the park to locations known for harboring more bird species. It is a full day exploration for birding. Rubanga forest, Miriti and Warukiri swamps are good sites for bird watching. Birds to look out for include the Verreaux’s eagle owl, Ross’s turaco, Green wood-hoopoe, Brown parrot, Coqui francolin, Rufous bellied heron, Long-tailed cisticola, Finfoot, Nubian woodpecker, Emerald-spotted wood-dove and more.
a boat cruise which offers chances of sighting lots of birds that may include papyrus yellow warbler, black-bellied bustard, lilac breasted roller, king fishers and Rufuosnaped lark among others. Return to the lodge for dinner and the overnight.
Day 5: return to Kampala
Early breakfast then take a walk around the park for the last bird watching in the park before departing for Kampala. There are always a few new sightings. Lunch en route and drop off at your preferred lodge.
End of tour