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Trip to Watch Birds & Gorillas in Africa

One of the classic birding experience in Uganda or Rwanda is to combine gorilla tracking and bird watching on a safari holiday. Combining the experience of tracking the mountain gorillas in the beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable forest and birding is one of the most amazing wildlife experience you can ever take. Nothing will ever prepare you for the first glimpse or the sound of the silver back pounding its chest amidst the dense undergrowth on a gorilla trek within Uganda or Rwanda. The excitement kicks in when start your gorilla trekking trip into the tropical rain forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Volcanoes National Park and you get up close to the imposing and magnificent figure of a silverback and it’s all baby gorillas peeking through leaves or hiding behind their mothers. When these forest dwellers sense that all is well they will start showing off by swinging, twisting, turning and somersaulting all for your entertainment.

These forests also host various birds including endemics that cannot be found in any other destination. There are about 350 bird species, with 14 bird species not recorded anywhere else in Uganda. in addition there are 23 birds that are endemic to the Albertine Rift and several migratory birds that are present during the months of November to April.

Gorilla permits will set you back as they cost US$700 but don’t think twice about going out for this genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Keep in mind that a portion of the fee goes to the park and gorilla conservation initiatives, helping to ensure their survival among us!

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Go Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Though Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is most renowned for gorilla trekking, it is one of the best place to go birding in Uganda.

Bwindi impenetrable tropical rain forest is one of the very rich biodiversity areas in Africa. Rich in both fauna and flora, the bio-diversity of this ancient forest cannot easily be found elsewhere in the world. This park is known to shelter 120 mammals, primate species such as the rare and endangered mountain gorillas, baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

Birding Trails

The park has two prominent sites for birding. Many birders start their birding experience from the Buhoma side, an area with great opportunities to see various Albertine Rift endemics. The celebrity in this area is the Short-tailed Warbler that cannot easily be found elsewhere in Africa. Other activities within the Buhoma area include mountain biking and nature walks to waterfalls and parts of the forest.

The bamboo trail is another amazing trail to go birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A trek along this trail can trek for a 6 hour bamboo trail to Ruhija and leading to Rwamunyoni Peak. At 2,607m, the Rwamunyoni Peak is the highest point in the park and notable for good birding.

Also of interest to birders is the three-hour trail descending to Mubwindi swamp along which one could find the endemic and localized bird that include the African Green Broadbill, Grauer’s (African Green), Broadbill the beautiful regal sunbird and Archers Robin Chat. Mubwindi swamp at an elevated of 2050m/6725ft holds Dwarf Honey guide, Stripe breasted Tit, Rwenzori Apalis and African Hill Babbler sometimes treated as a separate species, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, the rare and localized Grauer’s scrub warbler and Caruthers’ Cisticola, including very difficult to see species Fraser’s eagle owl and Rwenzori double collared sunbird.

Other birds to come across on a birding tour in Bwindi Forest include the green broad bill, Grauer’s Rush warbler, Purple breasted, blue headed and Regal sun birds, Grauer’s Broadbills, Archers Robin Chat, eastern Mountain Green bul, Strange weaver, black headed waxbill, Barstuhlmanns starling, and luehders bush shrike and handsome Francolin Montane Nightjar. An insight to others travelers, birding experience to these sites is a guarantee.

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Safari Ideas

Exciting Uganda Safari Deals for 2018

Uganda celebrates gorilla tourism through conservation and sustainable travel across the globe  every year but for those planning to visit the country in 2018 , the unspeakable joy is that there is no gorilla permit price increase in all gorilla tracking parks; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park.

The two mountain gorilla homes in south western Uganda have become known as great wild adventure spots in Africa and worldwide. A few months ago Rwanda increased its gorillas permits from US$750 to US$1500 changing the country travel trend from being a cheap gorilla safari destination to Luxury gorilla safari destinations for reasons and conservation and community development.

This somehow worried tourists with plans of tracking mountain gorillas in 2018 in Africa. However, Uganda gorilla permit price stability changes the all scenario and joy fills up the lives for many travelers to Africa. Uganda gorilla permits for 2018 go for US$600 per trek for all months of the year with discount offers in low season. Travelers will still secure gorilla permits at only US$450 per trek during the month of April, May and November.

If your plans where initially to fly to Rwanda-Kigali international Airport, it can still work and you connect to Uganda for gorilla tracking and later fly out from Kigali international Airport. This travel arrangement offers travelers an opportunity to explore the beautiful land of thousand hills as wells that of Uganda the Pearl of Africa.

Uganda hosts exciting gorilla safari experiences in both Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga national park which is conducted every day in all the parks. Gorilla safaris in Uganda are best for all budgets and one can either see mountain gorillas in their home on budget or luxury gorilla safari tour. The experience of gorilla safaris in Uganda is just same like that of Rwanda  with a true fact that whoever tracks mountain gorillas get changed with various memories of  the beautiful jungle creatures.

Trekking gorillas is much more than taking a forest walk through the thick forest jungle and later meet up with gorillas .A lot can be experienced and enjoyed –the reason for many travelers who have ever seen the gorillas to describe the experience as “life changing encounter” and worth every effort and penny”.

Like any other mountain gorilla tracking destination, one must have a gorilla permit to track gorillas in Uganda. Booking gorilla permits can be done through a tour agent responsible for organizing your gorilla safari tour or directly at the park management head offices in Kampala(UWA).However, its has always been very easy and flexible to reserve your gorilla permit with a tour agent.

The best time to track endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda is all year with a peak season from June-October and December to March. However, those who chose to visit the country during April, May and November enjoy more benefits on safari because they don’t only carry home huge memories of the unique gorillas but also save much for their next vacation. However, it’s a grantee to see mountain gorillas in Uganda on a single trek any time of the year but going for double trekking is a choice and open for every traveler to the country. Tourists are rewarded with gorilla certificates after the trek a reward gift that confirms that you made it successful to the land of mountain gorillas.

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Safari Ideas

A trip to Watch Birds and Gorillas in Africa

One of the classic birding experience in Uganda or Rwanda is to combine gorilla tracking and bird watching on a safari holiday. Combining the experience of tracking the mountain gorillas in the beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable forest and birding is one of the most amazing wildlife experience you can ever take. Nothing will ever prepare you for the first glimpse or the sound of the silver back pounding its chest amidst the dense undergrowth on a gorilla trek within Uganda or Rwanda. The excitement kicks in when start your gorilla trekking trip into the tropical rain forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or Volcanoes National Park and you get up close to the imposing and magnificent figure of a silverback and it’s all baby gorillas peeking through leaves or hiding behind their mothers. When these forest dwellers sense that all is well they will start showing off by swinging, twisting, turning and somersaulting all for your entertainment.

These forests also host various birds including endemics that cannot be found in any other destination. There are about 350 bird species, with 14 bird species not recorded anywhere else in Uganda. in addition there are 23 birds that are endemic to the Albertine Rift and several migratory birds that are present during the months of November to April.

Gorilla permits will set you back as they cost US$600 but don’t think twice about going out for this genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Keep in mind that a portion of the fee goes to the park and gorilla conservation initiatives, helping to ensure their survival among us!

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Safari Ideas

Go Gorilla Trekking and Birding in Uganda

A tiny landlocked country supporting more than 1000 species, Uganda deserves its reputation as “birders’ Eden”. A short trip here to soak up the bizarre and mind-blowing Shoebills at Murchison Falls, or Albertine Rift endemics at Bwindi National Park, is incredibly rewarding, while the chance to come face to face with Africa’s most noble beast, the mountain gorillas, is probably the most touching experience any wildlife enthusiast could hope for. Uganda is a superb destination for rain forest fanatics and those in search of the rare and elusive gorillas.

In terms of size, Uganda is the richest country in Africa for birds. It has an excellent infrastructure and a great diversity of habitats, from the papyrus-fringed swamps of the Lake Victoria Basin, through both lowland and highland forests of the Albertine Rift and north to the Guinea Savannah. Uganda could soon rival Kenya as the most visited country in Africa. Eco-tourism has been positively encouraged for the last decade. Below is a typical tour that includes both gorilla trekking and bird watching in the Pearl of Africa.

A PRIVATE GORILLA SAFARI ITENERARY

Day 1:Kampala – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

On arrival at Entebbe International airport, your private Charter plane will fly you to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi is home to the few remaining mountain gorillas. Bird life and primate life in Bwindi is quite superb, and there is an incredible variety of flora. Bwindi is the Bird watchers haven! It holds 348 species of birds and supports 24 of 26 Albertine Rift Endemics that occur in Uganda; and seven red data book species. Once continuous with the forests of the Virunga Volcanoes (Dian Fossey’s stomping ground), Bwindi is now an ecological island, surrounded by cultivation on the rich volcanic soils.

Should you have the energy this afternoon, take a guided walk on the Munyaga River trail, which is an ideal short walk. This trail leads to three delightful crystal clear waterfalls, and there is a profusion of tree ferns, epithytic ferns, orchids and Bwindi’s colourful array of butterflies. Here you may also see birds and primates from the forest edge. Overnight at Gorilla Forest camp/ or Volcanoes camp (FB)

Day 2: Gorilla Tracking in Bwindi Forest

You will rise relatively early for a hearty breakfast to give you the energy needed for gorilla tracking. Report to the ranger station at 08.00 am where the guides will take you through the bush, slashing at the undergrowth, parting thick creepers, to track gorillas. This trek can take from half an hour to five hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required as well as a sturdy pair of walking shoes. You sit in the forest among the gorillas listening to them grumble at each other and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant male, the silverback. It is amazing to think that there are only 650 or so of these creatures left in the world!

If you have the afternoon free, how about a guided village walk – see how the Ugandans live, visit a local bar and meet the local medicine man! Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp or Volcanoes camp (FB)

Day 3: Return to Bwindi Forest

Following a relaxed breakfast your guide will drive you to the Kayonza airstrip where you will you will meet your private charter to Entebbe International airport. A guide / representative will meet you on your arrival and show you to your outbound flight.

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Safari Ideas

Top Birding Safaris in Uganda

Uganda is rated among the most attractive country in Africa to bird watchers. This is true because it offers easy access to several bird’s habitants. These birds range from forest (Uganda specials), savannah forest birds, water birds and albertine rift endemics.

Most of the national parks and other protected areas act as good habitants for these bird species. A birding safari to Uganda aims at getting authentic experiences that you may not get amazing diversity of habitants as reflected in the ever-burgeoning bird list of over1000 species.

This therefore makes it the richest African birding destination.

At Experience Africa, we offer birding safaris in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. We have experienced and trained bird guides who will help you have the best birding encounters. Bird watchers are encouraged to consider visiting these bird habitats/spots.

Mabamba bay wetland at lake Victoria which is a home to different bird species such as the shoebill, black kite, African open- billed stork, African Jacana, lesser Jacana, winding Cisticolla to mention but a few.

In Africa, bwindi impenetrable national park, popularly known as Africa’s best birding area/ spot. It habits rare bird species of about 350species including23 albertine rift endemics of which 14 are not recorded anywhere else. Examples include blue- headed and regal sunbirds, white- bellied robin, African green broad bill, chapin’s fly catcher, Shelley’s crimson wing, purple- breasted and many others.

Queen Elizabeth is another bird watcher’s spot which in habits over600 species.Birdspecies include: African skimmer, malachite, gabon and slender- tailed nightjars, black- headed ganolek, verreaux’s eagle-owl, sedge warbler,papyrus canary, great white and pink- backed pelicans, swamp flycatcher, grey headed king fisher, goliath heron, Abyssinian  to mention but a few. Around the lakes of katwe and bunyampaka is another spot for flamingos.

Murchison falls National Park is yet another spectacular haven for bird watchers. It habits over 450 birds including the shoe bill, swamp fly catcher, goliath heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, northern and red bishop, red- throated bee-eater, African quail finch, pied malachite and giant king fisher. Birding can also be done on a game drive on the Nile and nature walks.

Mgahinga gorilla national park is a home of 180 birds with some albertine rift endemics. Other bird’s species in this park include the black- headed waxbill, western green tinker birds, cape robin, white- starred robin, brown wood land warbler, stripe- breasted tit, rwenzori batis, and cinnamon bracken warbler and the greater double- collared sun birds. Bird viewing can also be done along the gorge trail.

Semiliki national park has recorded441 species in the riverine, forest and grassland avian habitats. It habits bird species like the African piculet, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue- billed malimbe, yellow throated nicator, piping hornbill, red- billed dwarf.

Kibale forest is also good site for bird watching. It has over 375 bird species including the few albertine rift. Kibale is known for the green- breasted pitta which many of bird watchers want to see. Other bird species include: red chested owlet, purple- breasted sun bird, blue- breasted king fisher crowned eagle, little green bull, black bee – eater, white- naped pigeon, red-chested fluffail and tiny sun bird.

The Rwenzori Mountains is also another birding spot. Over 177 birds species have been recorded including 19 albertine rift endemics.Birdding here is done while hiking in the forest zone. Species include rwenzori turaco, white- starred robin, slender- billed starlling, cinnamon- chested bee-eater, bearded vultures, long eared owl, arches’ robin- chat, lagden’s bush shrike to mention but a few.

Lake Mburo national park also acts as a birding destination since the birding spots are near the swamps of warukiri and rwoyo.It habits 315 bird species which include: crested francolin, emerald- spotted wood dove, brown parrot, bare faced go –away bird, red necked spurfowl, common quails, Nubian wood pecker, thrilling cisticola, bee-eaters and the cheeky bronze- tailed starling, African fish eagle and malachite and pied king fishers.

Budongo forest which has two parts: the Kaniyo pabidi in Murchison falls national park and the royal mile and busingiro areas found in the south park. It has recorded 350 species with the popular ones being cassin’s spine trail, chestnut- capped fly catcher, huri batis nahan’s francolin, chocolate- backed, blue- breasted and African dwarf king fisher.

Other birding sites include areas Entebbe such as botanical gardens and Uganda wildlife education Centre, mabira forest, Nyamiriro swamp, kyambura reserve, sango bay Nabugabo wetland, lutembe bay, lake opeta, mountain Elgon national park, Kidepo valley national park Bisinia, Doho and rice scheme.