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Uganda: 7-day Primate & Shoebill Safari

Shoebill, Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees

From the source of the White Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Range, the montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes, harboring some of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas, to the extensive savannas around the awe-inspiring Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing contrasts. No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats, and this richness is reflected in its incredible bird list of over 1000 species. Amongst these are many highly sought-after birds, such as the unique Shoebill and the numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley, (currently hard to find anywhere else.)

A significant number of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas roam through dense forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in groups of three to 20 animals. Trackers will guide us up rugged terrain, with some steep sections and occasional stream crossings, to where we can quietly watch a gorilla family feed, groom, play and rest. Though we spend only an hour together, it is truly an unforgettable experience to watch these magnificent gorillas interact with each other with such human-like qualities.

Kibale National Park is famed for its high diversity and concentration of primates – 13 are possible, including large numbers of endangered Chimpanzees.  The noisiest of african primates, the forest echoes with their screams, hoots and their drum beats on tree buttresses. We’ll likely hear Chimpanzees before seeing them. If we’re lucky, we may catch them mounting an organized hunt to satisfy their omnivorous appetites.

The trip is very diverse although it is short. The tour begins and ends in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. After arrival at Entebbe, the following day we set out straight away to find the most iconic bird of the tour – Shoebill! We’ll spend a morning in the Mabamba Wetlands before heading west to beautiful Lake Mburo National Park and Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

This once-in-a-lifetime East African extravaganza provides the ultimate opportunity to experience and photograph some of the most amazing animals on earth.

This trip can be combined with a safari in Kenya (July-Sept) or Tanzania (Jan-Mar) to witness the Great Wildbeest Migration.  I hope you can join us!

Focus: Photography, Mammals, BGorilla-silverback-h-1000x350-BINNS-IMG_5328-copy-copyirds, Butterflies, Reptiles, Scenery

  • Tour Cost
  • Length of Tour: 7 days / 6 nights

     

    Cost: 2017 - approx US $4,700.00 per person from Nairobi, based upon double occupancy and minimum of 4 participants.

    Note: Cost include Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permit (currently $750 and $150 respectively per person; subject to change)

     

    Single supplement: approx. $450.00. Please note that if you do not request a single room, and we are unable to find you a roommate, you will be charged the single supplement.

     

    The Cost Includes: All ground transport, game drives, park entrance fees, as well as Gorilla ($750) and Chimpanzee ($150) permits; professional driver guide; meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 7; 6 nights accommodation; mineral water on game drives.

    Note: There may be an additional surcharge should the cost of park fees or primate permits increase.

     

    Cost Excludes: 
Airfares to Entebbe [EBB], Uganda.  and Kenya-Rwanda-Kenya flight (approx. $330); Visa fees (currently $50 for single entry to Uganda, or $100 for East African Visa (Uganda, Rwanda & Kenya);  beverages; any items of personal nature (laundry, telephone calls and so forth); any services not mentioned or indicated as optional; gratuities to drivers / guides / porters / waiters.

     

    Deposit $500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form

     

    How to Book In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.

     

    Final Payment Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date

  • Itinerary
  • Brief Itinerary:

    Day 1 :  Arrive in Entebbe [EBB]

    Day 2 :  AM- Shoebill at Mabamba Wetlands. PM- Transfer to Lake Mburo NP

    Day 3 :  AM- Lake Mburo NP. PM- Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable NP

    Day 4 :  Gorilla Trek at Bwindi Impenetrable NP

    Day 5 :  Transfer to Kibale NP

    Day 6 :  Chimpanzee Trek at Kibale NP

    Day 7 :  Transfer to Entebbe [EBB] for late afternoon departure

     

     

    Itinerary:

    Day 1  Arrive in Nairobi on an evening flight. Transfer to hotel.

    Day 1 /  Arrival in Uganda on an evening flight. 

     

    Day 2 : Shoebill at Mabamba Wetlands. Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

    Early breakfast, then out to nearby Mabamba Wetlands on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the few remaining swamps in the country protected by the local communities – an extensive papyrus swamp with its labyrinth of channels and lagoons, classified as an Important Bird Area, and home to several pairs of Shoebills, Uganda’s most famous avian resident. This charismatic monotypic species is certainly amongst the most sought-after birds in Africa, and we’ll make special efforts today to find it by paddling through the channels by boat.

    There will of course be a good selection of classic East African water birds, including Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, African Open-billed, Saddle-billed, and Marabou Storks, Hammerkop, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, African Fish-Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, African Water Rail, Purple Swamphen, Allen's Gallinule, African Jacana, Long-toed and Spur-winged Plovers. Apart from the numerous water birds, we are likely to see a nice variety of open country and water edge species, perhaps including Speckled Pigeon, African Green Pigeon, Eastern Plantain-eater, Malachite, Giant, and Pied Kingfishers, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Crowned Hornbill, Angola and Rufous-chested Swallows, Winding Cisticola, Greater and Lesser Swamp-Warblers, Papyrus Yellow Warblers, Swamp Flycatcher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Papyrus Gonolek, Slender-billed, Northern Brown-throated, and Golden-backed Weavers, and Papyrus Canary.

    In the afternoon we’ll travel to our first national park, Lake Mburo. This park has varied habitats from open Acacia woodlands, to a number of papyrus-lined lakes and swamps.

    We’ll have the afternoon and the following morning to cover several different habitats. Some of the many species we’ll search for en route to the park, in the woodland in the immediate vicinity of Rwonyo (at lake Mburo) and within the park include Black-headed, Squacco, and Rufous-bellied Herons, Hadada Ibis, Yellow-billed (Black) Kite, Spur-winged Goose, Comb Duck, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Lizard Buzzard, Palm-nut and White-backed Vultures, Wahlberg’s and Verreaux’s Eagles, Crested Francolin, Crowned Crane, African Finfoot, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s and Bronze-winged Coursers, Senegal, Crowned, Wattled, and Brown-chested Lapwings, Emerald-spotted and Blue-spotted Wood Doves, Brown Parrot, Red-eyed Dove, Great Blue Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, White-browed Coucal, Speckled and Blue-naped Mousebirds, Mottled Spinetail, Little, White-rumped and African Palm Swifts, Woodland Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted and Broad-billed Rollers, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, African Grey, Crowned, Black-and-white Casqued and African Pied Hornbills, Spot-flanked Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Angola Swallow, African Pied Wagtail, African andLong-billed Pipits, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Dark-capped Bulbul, African Thrush, Trilling Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Grey-capped Warbler, Red-faced Crombec, Northern (white-winged) Black Tit, Chin-spot Batis, Mariqua, Olive-bellied, and Red-chested Sunbirds, Pied Crow, Greater Blue-eared, Splendid, Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starlings, Black-headed, Northern Brown-throated, Yellow-backed, Vieillot’s Black, and Slender-billed Weavers, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Bronze Mannikin, and Yellow-fronted Canary. If we are lucky, we will even see the nomadic Weyn’s Weaver.

     

    Day 3-4: Birds and Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable NP.

    On this day, we set off early, with packed lunch, to the park headquarters for a briefing prior to Gorilla tracking. This is the most exciting lifetime experience of all time. The gorillas are gentle animals and it is an unforgettable experience to photograph them as they interact. It is a wonderful experience to stare in to the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that you must never miss. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards; you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display. We will also look for other primates like the L’ Hoest Monkey, Black and White Colobus; Red tailed, and Blue monkeys. Mammals include the Rwenzori Duiker, Yellow-backed Duiker, Caruthers Squirrel, Bohm’s and Alexander Squirrels, and many other species.

     

    Day 4-6: Transfer to Kibale National Park for Chimpanzees and birding.

     

    Kibale National Park is extensive protecting a large block of rainforest that offers both excellent birding, and our main opportunity to see Chimpanzee in the wild. The park probably has the greatest variety and concentration of primates found anywhere in East Africa, and is famous for its Chimpanzees. Superb birds and primates, combined with easy access and excellent infrastructure, makes a visit to Kibale more than worthwhile. Some of the many species we will look for around Kibale include African Crowned-Eagle, White-spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, Red-winged Francolin, African Emerald, Dusky Long-tailed and Red-chested Cuckoos, Yellowbill (or Blue Malkoha), Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black and White-throated Bee-eaters, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Speckled, Yellow-rumped, and Yellow-throated Tinkerbirds, Streaky-throated (split from Hairy-breasted), Yellow-billed and Yellow-spotted Barbets, African (Green-breasted) Pitta, Grey-winged and Snowy-headed Robin-chats, African Broadbill, Willcock's & Thick-billed Honeyguides, Cassin's Honeybird, White-headed Saw-wing, Mountain Wagtail, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Petit's Cuckoo-Shrike, Joyful & Honeyguide Greenbuls, Brown and Scaly-breasted Illadopses, Banded and White-chinned Prinias, Masked and Buff-throated Apalises, Grey-throated and Black-and-white Flycatchers, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Pink-footed Puff-back, Chestnut-winged and Purple-headed Starlings, Superb, Green-headed & Green-throated Sunbirds, Dark-backed and Vieillot’s Black Weavers, Red-headed Malimbe, Gray-headed Negrofinch, and Black-crowned Waxbill.

    Day 7:  Birding to Entebbe for departure.

    This will be mainly a transfer day with a birding stop or two en route to Entebbe, for our late afternoon departure.

     

     

  • Accommodations
  • All the accommodations on this tour have clean comfortable rooms with en suite showers/baths and toilets.

  • Additional Info
  • birds-of-east-africa-book-coverRecommended Field Guide: Birds of East Africa (Princeton Field Guides, 2002) by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe

     

     

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals 2nd edition by Jonathan Kingdon (Princeton University Press, 2015)

     

     

     

    This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our safari.

     

    Trip Insurance is required for all safaris

     

    You will need to get a Visa to enter Kenya and Rwanda. The current cost is $50 and $30 and this can be applied for / purchased upon arrival at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya and Kigali, Rwanda

     

    This is a safari and as such we will concentrate on all the wildlife, as one would expect, the birds and mammals giving everyone time to view, experience and photograph them.   Easy wildlife viewing from the confines of our open top safari vehicle in some outstanding parks; though we expect to see many bird species we will spend considerable time with the incredible mammals that make this part of the world unique and hope to come across about 50 species including the “Big 5” – elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard.

     

    We will certainly be hiking for the primates, more like bush-wacking, for our Gorilla trek. This can be strenuous as we are in the mountains at elevation and on uneven vegetated terrain! There will be little walking on the Kenya part of this tour as will will be within the parks; midday breaks, when in the parks; a mostly pleasant and dry climate, breathtaking scenery and many excellent photographic opportunities.

     

    We will be using the typical safari ‘combo’ vehicles such as a 4X4 Safari Mini Bus or Land Cruise. There is a pop-up roof that enables one to stand up to view and photograph wildlife. We will have a maximum of six participants per vehicle as this will guarantee everyone a window seat.