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The misty peaks and fern-loaded forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda’s birding hotspot is one of the best settings to search for albertine rift endemics. Furthermore, these mountains offer perhaps one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth. The opportunity to come face to face with one of our closest relatives, mountain gorilla, in its natural and dwindling ecosystem.
This trip will start by the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, exploring its Botanical Gardens (the setting of Weissmuller’s Tarzan movies), moving onto the reedy and dense channels of Mabamba and Kamengo swamps in search of the mythical Shoebill. We then “trek” north to the open game plain of Murchison Falls where large game such as elephant, giraffe, kob and hippos await. We will also have a chance to enjoy the Albert Nile Delta and its prolific birdlife and Murchison Falls, arguably Africa’s most powerful waterfall. Here, the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks, only 7 meters wide, and tumbles 43 meters, then flows westward into Lake Albert. Next will be Kibale forest, one of Africa’s best primate exploration enclave and indeed the site where you will have a chance to come up, close and personal with one of your closest relatives – chimpanzees. Great forest birding will be complemented with awesome waterfowl birding at Kasinga Channel in the nearby Queen Elisabeth National Park.
From here we climb towards Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP where birding for the famed albertine rift endemics will be spiced with the ultimate wildlife encounter and experience Uganda has on offer…the unique and ultra special chance to trek and come face to face with the primal, hulking and ever humbling mountain gorilla. Offering 24 of the 26 albertine rift endemics recorded in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, spans an ecotone from Buhoma’s lowlands to Ruhiza’s highlands. At Buhoma, pitta-like short-tailed warblers and kivu ground thrushes skulk in the mossy undergrowth. African grey parrots fly overhead while chimpanzees shriek from deep in the forest. At Ruhiza, the cloud-swathed Virunga volcanoes (of Diana Fossey fame) loom in the distance. Here we’ll search for the near mythical African green broadbill and Grauer’s rush warbler. It is even suggested that at least one undescribed species might even be lurking in the park!
Mburo NP down in the Acacia clad plain near Lake Victoria will beckon us last, and our trip will end birding and game viewing this interesting habitat and birding its papyrus stand for some classic papyrus specials. The trip ends back in Entebbe.Uganda is one of the friendliest and safest African countries to visit. After its distant and devastating political past, it is now recovering fast and emerging with a renewed outlook, tourism infrastructure and an enthusiastic and contagiously positive attitude people.