UGANDA – THE ‘PEARL OF AFRICA’ WILDLIFE AND BIRDING SAFARI
From the time you enter the international airport situated on the north shore of the vast inland expanse of Lake Victoria, you realise you have arrived in a country like no other in equatorial Africa.
For a start, there is no humidity to deal with and the ambient temperature feels ‘just right’…
Each day throughout the year is a full twelve hours of daylight and all around the vegetation is green and lush.
Add to this the enthusiasm of your dedicated and knowledgeable driver/guide and indeed the willingness of the Ugandans themselves to assist and engage in friendly conversation, and you realise you are in for a great holiday experience, rich in wildlife from an impressive suite of colourful birds and mammals embracing a variety of primates with chimpanzees and gorillas the ‘high point’ to look forward to…
Starting at the beautifully landscaped botanical gardens in Entebbe, the classic circular route takes you by ferry to the Mabamba wetlands to search by dugout canoe for the statuesque and freaky looking Shoebill or Whale-headed Stork within the lattice work of meandering channels of this vast papyrus swamp.
Taking the main arterial road west towards the foothills of the snow-capped and enchantingly described ‘Mountains of the Moon’ as the Rwenzori range were romantically described by early explorers, brings you to the town of Fort Portal and the extensive Kibale evergreen forest.
Within this unspoiled and enchanted forest complex, that is home to some of Uganda’s most sought- after birds, such as the enigmatic Green-breasted Pitta, you will engage with family groups of highly vocal chimpanzees and a variety of lesser primates inhabiting the forest canopy and leaf-littered understorey.
Tailored private travel and safari options to the north in Uganda take you to the awesome Murchison Falls on the Nile or south to the Queen Elizabeth Park to explore the Kazinga Channel by boat as a ‘must do’ wildlife viewing experience before heading south to the Bwindi Impenetrable forest for the mountain gorilla tracking experience as the quintessential highlight of the Ugandan safari.
Any interaction with these gentle giants of the primate world is a deep and moving experience as one engages with a family of varying age stage foraging and socialising contentedly in exceptionally close proximity for the duration of an hour before heading back to base camp in an elative state of mind and photographic achievement to anchor the unique experience in perpetuity…
Returning to Kampala is by way of several other wildlife and birding sites of significance, including the lush grassland and open savanna woodland of Lake Mburu, for another boating experience and big game viewing in this wildlife rich national park.
For those with more leisure time in hand, an excursion to the source of the Nile and the Mabira forest on the way to the town of Jinja, and far beyond on a tailor-made safari to the rugged, semi-arid plains of the Kidepo valley national park on the border with Kenya in Karamojo country, is a rewarding and exciting experience for the more adventurous naturalist with a passion for roads less travelled in the vast outback of pristine Africa…
Simply expressed with over 1000 species of birds and a variety of wildlife like no other country in Africa, Uganda beckons as a ‘must do’ destination of exceptional beauty, comfortable and affordable accommodation, delightfully warm and friendly people making up the highly endearing ‘Pearl of Africa’…
Avian Leisure works directly with one or two local tour operators in Uganda to customize and run birding tours and wildlife safaris suited to your preferences lasting from 7 days to 14 days and with more time you can add some of the extensions mentioned above.
Some of the birding highlights you may see:
Shoebill, Long-tailed Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Long toed Plover, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Papyrus Gonolek, Eastern grey Plantain-eater, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Black-headed Gonolek, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Joyful Greenbul, Masked Apalis, Whinchat, Grey-headed Sunbird Green-breasted Pitta, Narina Trogon, African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Sabine’s Spinetail, Black-billed Turaco, Yellow-billed Barbet, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black Bee-Eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, African Broadbill, Spot flanked Barbet, , African Scops Owl, Swamp, Black-shouldered and Freckled Nightjars
Amongst the primates you may see:
Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (Guereza Colobus), Uganda Red Colobus, Uganda Mangabey, Olive Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Red tailed Monkey, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Chimpanzee, Mountain Gorilla
And some of the antelope
Uganda Kob, Topi, Oribi