ABOUT THE PARK
Districts : Bundibungyo
Size : 220 km sq.
Altitude Range : 670m-760m a.s.l
Habitat : Moist semi-deciduous forest, mostly ironwood- dominant(Cyanometra alexandri) with patches of swamp forest, and aquatic habitat represented by forest streams and oxbow lakes with adjacent swamps.
Timing : Rain falls year round and birding is good anytime although the peak breeding season is just after the Jan- Feb "dry " season.
Time required : 3-4 days.
Birds Recorded : 400 species.
Common species in this area are:- Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaubs's Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin, Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bates' Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed and Zenker's Honeyguides, African Piculet, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Sassi's Olive, Xavier's, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Forest and Grey Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell's Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negro finches, Grant's Bluebill.
NOCUTURNAL BIRD WATCHING
The area around the geothermal hot springs at Sempaya is not only very scenic but also offers some great birding. The cliffs behind the ranger post are home to the crepuscular Freckled Nightjar and these can be seen gliding around the clearing with Black-shouldered Nightjars. In the lush rainforest around here listen for the bizarre dawn and dusk duetting of the elusive Nkulengu Rail. Other nocturnal callers include Buff-spotted Flufftail and African Wood Owl. Around the cleaning and through other light gaps in the area, it is possible to glimpse African Goshawk, Red-thighed and Great Sparrows, Ayres Hawk-Eagle and Cassin's Spinetail.
From the ranger post, head north ( right ) along the " Boundary Trail " . Crested Guinea fowl skulk in the undergrowth and the hollow hooting of the White-spotted Flufftail is commonly heard near forest creek in this area. Turn left where the trail forks and continue to the " Female" Hot Springs with boiling hot water squirts and bubbles out of the ground.
53 species of mammal have been recorded from the park, many of which are shy, rare and nocturnal. Conspicuous species include Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet, Red-tailed and Mona, Gentle (Blue) Monkeys, Olive Baboon and Guereza Colobus, De Brazza's Monkeys are rare and Chimpanzees may seldom be heard than seen. While nocturnal primates include Pottos and Galagos. You are also lucky if you glimpse Elephant, Bush pig, Water Chevrotain, Buffalo, Sitatunga, White-bellied Duiker or Dwarf Antelope, Beecroft’s Anomalure or Zenker's Flying Mouse. You are far more likely to spot the lively and agile squirrels such as Fire-footed Rope or Red-legged Sun Squirrel. Little collard fruit Bat and Target Rat. 30 species of butterflies have been identified, including 46 species of forest Swallowtails and Charaxes (75% of Uganda’s total) and at least 235 species of moths have been classified as restricted.
There are also 305 species of trees recorded, of which 125 species are restricted to this park alone.
There is an observation tower and boardwalk to view the geothermal hot springs at Sempaya. Otherwise, there is not much in the way of visitor facilities in the park and trail maintenance has been neglected for a couples of years; a machete ( " panga" ) can be useful. Bring all your supplies and camping equipment if you plan on spending time in the forest. There are three new but abandoned and unfurnished shelters at Sempaya ranger post that could accommodate a few uncomplicated travellers. Fresh drinking water can be obtained from the creek 0.6 km from Sempaya towards Bundibugyo and a swim in the Mungilo Waterfall here is also highly recommended. It is definitely advisable to boil or purify the water from the oxbow lakes and the Kirumia River prior to consumption. Recommended campsites in the forest are at the first oxbow lake and at the second Kirumia River crossing, and outside the forest at the Sempaya ranger post. Some local produce and drinks can be bought at Ntandi. Porters can be hired at the village of Kirumia at a rate of $ 2-3 per person.
Semliki National Park lies along the main fort Portal to Bundibugyo road, 52 km from Fort Portal. The road can become treacherous, particularly after heavy rains, requiring a 4 WD or a sturdy 2WD with sufficient clearance. The ranger post at Sempaya is well signposted but the park headquarters have been moved to the village of Ntandi, a further 4.4 km along the road to Bundibugyo. The usual National Park fees apply. from Sempaya it is 10.6 km to the village of Kirumia and start of the Kirumia River trail into the forest. It is possible to hitch a ride between Sempaya and Kirumia but bear in mind that most vehicles head towards Fort Portal in the mornings; traffic in the direction of Bundibugyo passes mainly in the late afternoon and evening.
Karamoja province on the far northern border with the Sudan, Kidepo Valley is Uganda's most remote national park. Few undertake the pilgrimage to the park but the spectacular beauty of this pristine wilderness impresses all that make it. For the visiting birder, Kidepo Valley National Park boasts a bird list of over 475 species, a total second only to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Amongst the host of dry, eastern "specials" not found in any other Ugandan national park are some of East Africa's rarest and most sought after birds such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apallis.
ABOUT THE PARK
Province : Karamoja.
Elevation : 914m on Kidepo valley floor to 2749m a top Mount Morungole
Size : 1442 km 2
Habitat : Semi-desert scrub, open thorn-scrub, open thorn-bush, long and short-grass open tree savannas, riparian woodland including Borassus and Kigelia woodland, thick, "miombo- like" woodland, montane forest and granite out-crops..
Status : National Park since 1954
Birds Recorded : 475 species.
Timing : March-April for all the specials and many transit migrants, although good year - round.
Time Required : 4-7 days
Key Species of Birds
Ostrich, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Fox Kestrel, Stone Partridge, Clapperton's and Heuglin's Francolins, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Kori, White-bellied and Hartlaub's Bustards, Violet-tipped Courser, Black-headed Plover, Four-banded Sand Grouse, Bruce's Green Pigeon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-crested Turaco, White-bellied Go-away bird, White-faced Scoops Owl, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars, Little Green Bee-eater, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Abyssinian Ground, Eastern Yellow and Jackson's Hornbills, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Singing Bush lark, Red-winged Lark, Ethiopian Swallow, Pied, Isabelline and Heuglin's Wheaters, African Grey Flycatcher, Foxy and Red pate Cisticolas, Karamoja Apalis, White-bellied Tit, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned and Yellow-billed Shrikes, Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Superb Starling, Red billed Oxpecker, Eastern Violet backed, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbirds, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Yellow-spotted Petronia, White-headed and White-billed Buffalo Weavers, White-browed and Chestnut- crowned Sparrow Weavers, Grey-capped Social and Speckle-fronted Weavers, Green-winged, Orange-winged and Red-winged Pytilias, Black-bellied and Black-faded Waxbill, Steel-blue and Strawtailed Whydahs, Brown-rumped Bunting.
The Apoka Rest Camp and Park Headquarters overlooking the swallow, southern Narus Valley is a great spot to begin your Kidepo birding. The attractive Silverbird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike frequent the thorn trees around camp, as do a number of other widespread species such as Vinaceous Dove, Hoopoe, Nubian Woodpecker, Mosque Swallow, Ruppell's and Superb Starlings, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Little Weaver and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. A small permanent water hole at the edge of camp attracts swallows and a variety of seedeaters including Yellow-rumped Seedeater and is visited at night by Four-banded Sandgrouse, Elephant, Buffalo and occasionally Lion. Clapperton's Francolin, Black Coucal, African Moustached and Broad-tailed Warblers, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbill may be seen in the rank grass along the normally dry stream bed adjacent to camp or along the track to Apoka lodge.
Kidepo's mammal list of over 80 species includes 28 that are found in no other Ugandan National park. Amongst these are such charismatic African animals as Bat-eared Fox, Carcal, Cheetah and Klipspringer. Unfortunately, Kidepo suffered the same fate as many other Ugandan parks during the Amin era and is still recovering from years of poaching that left game herds depleted. Striped Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant's Gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and are presumed to be locally extinct. Other large mammals have shown a remarkable recovery and there are now healthy population of Elephant, Common Zebra, Buffalo, Bohor Reedbuck, Waterbuck and Kongoni. Predators are plentiful and Spotted Hyena, Leopard and Lion are frequently seen. Oribis is abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther's Dik Dik. Senegal Galago and Sidestriped Jackal may be found in the rest camp at night and White-tailed Mongoose is common but more likely to be found on a night drive. The park also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna.
The privately owned Apoka Rest Camp overlooks the Narus Valley and has comfortable rooms for $ 75 per person per night with full board.
National Park Bandas at Apoka cost $ 22 per person per night, with bedding, mosquito netting, hot showers, fresh drinking water and firewood provided. It is recommended that you bring all your own food although it can be cooked for you if necessary. Drinks are available from the camp shop.
The Kakine Campsite lies a short distance from Apoka and costs $ 5 per person per night. It has a long drop toilet and fresh drinking water and firewood will be brought to you.
It is recommended that a ranger-guide accompany you at all times whilst at Kidepo Valley National park and this can be arranged on arrival at Apoka. Patrick is an excellent ranger who knows many of the birds. Park officials also suggest that all vehicles travelling north into the Kidepo Valley be escorted by multiple armed guards due to the periodic presence of poachers and cattle rustlers in the area.
Kidepo Valley National Park is accessible either by road or by air. The most commonly driven route from Kampala is via Mbale, Soroti and Moroto, an 840 km journey taking a minimum of 12 hours and a sturdy 4WD to complete.
erupted more than 24 million years ago. With the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km ), Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Eastern Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak - 4321 metres ). Mt. Elgon contains crater covering over 40 kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.
The secondary forest and thick scrub along the Chebonet River near camp supports, African Goshawk, Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catchers, Chin-spot Batis, Mackinon’s Fiscal, Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush-Shrikes and Baglafecht Weaver.
FLORA AND FAUNA
While ascending Mt. Elgon's enchanting slopes, you will pass through dense montane forest and mixed bamboo belts teeming with birdlife. You will then enter the fascinating heath and moorland zones containing several interesting endemic plant species such as Giant lobelia and groundsels. Wildlife enthusiasts will be pleased to spot primates such as the Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue Monkey, and hundreds of fascinating bird species, including Golden Winged and Tacazze sunbirds, Ross's and Hartlaubs Turacos, Black and White Casqued and Crowned Hornbills, the endangered Lammergeier and the Jackson's Francolin which is found nowhere else in Uganda. If you are particularly observant you can also see buffalo, duiker, hyena or even the elusive leopard.
Visiting Mount Elgon National Park ( MENP ) presents an exciting setting for extended hikes. In addition to the interesting and unique flora and fauna, you can expect to experience magnificent waterfalls, enormous caves, scenic peaks and gorges, and hot springs which bubble up at 48'C. The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to August and December to March. However, even in the wetter months trekking is manageable. No technical climbing equipping or skills are required, and all major peaks are accessible to hikers.
TREKKING TRAILHEADS AND ROUTES
There are two main trailheads ( starting points ) which lead to the mountain's peaks. Salsa Trail ( Buddukiro trailhead ) is the most easily accessible from Mbale and is the most direct route to the peaks. It passes through the Park's largest area of bamboo forest. However it is also a steep and rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. For a more gentle climb ( 660m first day ) you may choose to ascend via Pisa trail ( Kapkwata trailhead ). Along this route you can explore a vast Podocarpus forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing.
The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes 4-5 days to complete. All visitors are encouraged to discuss options with an Information Clerk at the Male, Budadiri or Kapkwata Visitors' Centres.
Five basic campsites are located at strategic points along the trekking circuit. Please respect Park regulations by camping only at designated campsites. No camping is allowed within the caldera. MENP camping is primitive, and all necessary camping equipment must be carried with you. Some items such as tents and sleeping bags can be hired through the Park office in Mbale. Make sure not to forget a warm jacket and rain gear, as extreme weather conditions will add to your Mt. Elgon adventure! Also please take a fuel-efficient camp stove if possible to avoid placing additional pressure on MENP firewood resources.
GUIDES PORTERS AND RANGER ESCORTS
Please support local community members and encourage continued conservation of MENP's valuable resources by hiring local guides and porters. All certified guides have received training in natural/ cultural histories, emergency first aid and communication. Porters will assist you by carrying up to 18 kg of your gear as well as preparing meals, setting up/taking down your camp, and collecting your water. Fees are set at Ush 8,000 (guide) and Ush 7,000 (porter) per stage. The wages cover the guide or porter's park visitation fee and the cost of sufficient food and supplies. Make sure to ask to see a guide's license before hiring. For additional safety reasons, a Park ranger escort must be hired when visiting the calderas or ascending the peaks. You will meet your ranger escort at Sasa or Piswa patrol hut where you must present your park receipt before proceeding upwards.
The Forest Exploration Centre has three " day " trails ranging between 3 and 7 km. These trails offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon's unique plants and wildlife in shorter time period. A fourth trail has recently been opened to reach the enormous Tutum Cave, 11 km from the centre. This trail also passes through a range of vegetation types and offers opportunities to see wildlife such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys and a variety of birds.
Simple accommodation facilities are available inside the Park at the Kapkwata Rest House and the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. Prior arrangements through the MENP Visitors' office in Mbale are necessary as these facilities do not accommodate large numbers of visitors. Kitchen services are available, but visitors should bring their own food supplies or provide money to buy food on arrival . The Forest Exploration Centre also conducts a four-day environmental program for school groups of up to 30 students which allow children to experience a living forest ecosystem while learning the importance of conservation. It has dormitory - style rooms and bathing facilities with running water .
LOCAL ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE THE PARK
The magnificent Sipi Falls are located 66 km from Mbale, en-route to the Forest Exploration Centre and Kapkwata. Several trails in the area allow for intriguing day hikes through friendly local villages and beautiful farming country. Pleasant campsites and lodge facilities, including meal services and hot showers are available at Crow's Nest located just before the Sipi trading centre. More expensive accommodation is available at the Sipi Falls Resort. Please enquire about guides to escort you on the gradual 1.5 hour walk to the Forest Exploration Centre. Seven rock-climbing routes are open at Nagudi rock, half-way between Mbale and Budadiri. The routes are bolted, but climbers must bring their own rock-climbing equipment. Each climber pays to the local Parish treasurer. More information and directions are available at the MENP Visitor's Centre office in Mbale.
WHAT TO BRING
Tent, sleeping bag, warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy hiking shoes, flashlight, water bottle, rain gear, first aid kit, cooking equipment, sufficient food supplies.
in Western Uganda on the Congolese border, with snow-covered, equatorial peaks rising to height of 5110 m and lower slopes blanketed in moorland and rich montane forest. Most of the park is accessible to hikers with magnificent scenery and 19 Albertine Rift endemics, amongst them;
Rwenzori Turaco and Shelley's Crimsonwing, would be ample reward for the intrepid, backpacking birder.
ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN
Districts : South Western Uganda, on the edge of the western rift valley, shared by Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts.
Size : 996 Km-Sq.
Elevation : 1700 metres to 5109 metres atop Margherita peak on Mount Stanley.
Habitat : Montane forest with bamboo ( Arundinaria ) on lower slopes, heath and Afro-alpine moorland on higher slopes.
Status : National Park since 1991.
Timing : January - February and July - August are the driest months but rain is possible year round.
Time required : 3 days for the shorter foothill hike and 6-7 days for the usual mountain loop.
Birds Recorded : 195 species.
There are many bird species to lookout for among which include:- Albertine Rift endemics like; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer's Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Montane Masked and Collared Apalises, Stripe-breast Tit, Rwenzori Batis, (Grauer's Cuckoo-shrike ), Blue-headed, Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Strange Weaver, Dusky and Shelley's Crimsonwings.
Others to lookout for are; Lammergeiger, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Long-eared Owl, Western Green Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, Grey-chested Illadopsis, Grey-winged Robin, Evergreen Forest and Bamboo Warblers, Lagden's Bush-Shrike, Montane Sooty Boubou, Golden-winged and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbirds, White-collared Olive-back, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Oriole-Finch.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is accessible from Kasese. All hikes need to be arranged through the Rwenzori Mountain Service ( RMS ), an organisation that works in conjunction with the Ugandan Wildlife Authority to control hiking in the area and to maintain trails and huts.
Uganda's most popular game reserve for Uganda safaris and certainly one most scenic. It stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to gallery and lowland forest. This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of over 550 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa.
ABOUT THE PARK
Districts : Rukungiri, Bushenyi and Kasese.
Altitude Range : 900 metres on Lake Edward to 1845 metres above sea level. at the top of Escarpment of the Western Rift.
Size : 1978 km sq.
Status : National Park
Habitat : Medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest, moist thicket, riparian forest, riverine bush land, open woodland, open grassland, seasonal and permanent swamps, lakes and rivers.
Timing : December - February.
Time required for this Uganda tour : 2-3 days.
Birds Recorded : 606 species.
African Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, The beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Collard Pranticles, Pin-tailed Whyda Martial Eagle, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars,Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Common Squaco Heron, Shoebill Stork, African Open-billed Stork, African Fish Eagle, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, African Skimmer, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary,Great white and Pink-backed Pelicans,White-winged Terns.
BIRD WATCHING TOURS
The main camp at Mweya is attractively positioned with fine views of the Rwenzori Mountains aumber of widespread bush species may be seen in the vicinity of the airstrip watch for African Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, The Beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Red-chested sunbird, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser Masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah,and brimstone Canary, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, are fairly common along the airstrip.
The Kazinga channel is a magnet for water birds a launch cruise reveals species such as; Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Common Squaco Heron, African open-billed Strok, White-faced Whistling and Knob-billed Ducks, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Jacana, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged and African Wattled Plovers, Malachite and Pied kingfishers, Swamp flycatchers and Yellow backed Weavers are all common and conspicious. Numbers of migrants peak in Febuary and March and are nothing short of spectacular with hundreds of thousands of White-winged Terns hovering over the water, millions of common sand Martins and Yellow -wagtails roosting in reed-beds and lesser numbers of palaeartic waders such as the Ringed Plover, Little Stint,Curlew Sandpipers,Common Snipe,Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh, common and Wood sandpipers, Spotted Redshank and common Greenshankfeeding along the marshy fringes. A number of national rarities have been recorded from the hippo wallows along the channel including Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Northern Pochard, Mongolian Plover and Jack Snipe. Hundreds of African Skimmers may be seen roosting on sandbars near the entrance to Lake Edward but are migrants from southern tropics and usually present only from December to May. The Kazinga channel may also be viewed from the Katunguru Bridge on the main Mbarara-Kasese road where Pelicans, Terns, Greater Swamp and winged Warblers, Winding and Carruther’s Cisticolas and Papyrus Gonolek may be seen.
The Main Camp and Park HQ at Mweya is a convenient base for exploring the sites in the northern part of the park, whilst the road network running from Ishasha Camp and Ranger Post, 80 km to the south, provides access to the Ishasha area.
Simba Safari Camp -
Mweya Safari Lodge - luxury accommodation is an ideal place for relaxation a 5 star lodge with swimming facilities a variety of bird species can be seen in this area.
Jacana Safari Lodge - luxury accommodation is an ideal place for relaxation and refreshment built over the banks of a crater lake you will loose all your worries.
The Institute of Ecology - budget, basic hostel style accommodation. Camping - can be done at Mweya, Maramagambo Forest and Ishasha sector of the park come with camping facilities or can be provided by the company.
( MFCA ) comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.
Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are; Blue-napped Mousebird, Spotted Mourning Thrush, Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Vitelline Masked Weaver, And Green-winged Ptyilia, this is probably the best site for the localised White-rumped Seed-eater.
Nocturnal species common in this area are; Spotted and Verreaux’s Owls, and a plethora of spectacular Nightjars, such as Long-tailed and Pennat-winged Nightjar (Especially between March-September), The mind-blowing Standard-winged Nightjar(November-February) if you have a portable spotlight, you may be able to organise a nocturnal boat trip on the Nile in search for White-backed Night Heron and Pel’s Fishing Owl.other species include:- Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Grey-crowned Crane, Long-toed Plover, whilst African Fish Eagle, and African Skimmer. An exciting record was that of a Fox’s Weaver Uganda’s only endemic bird. and many more.
In the cool early morning on the Buligi, Albert and Queen's tracks north of the river Nile before the sun climbs too high, you will see plenty of game. At Nyamsika Cliffs you can picnic, enjoy the view, and watch elephants and other game on the grassy hillsides and the sand river below. Go well prepared for a four hour drive. Ensure you are accompanied by a guide.
LAUNCH TRIPS ON THE NILE
One of the highlights of a visit to the Conservation Area is the launch trip from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls. Hippos and crocodiles are abundant, and you will see elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks and birds like; Herons, Cormorants, Ducks, Bee-eaters, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, and the rare Shoebill. The trip from Paraa to the Falls and back takes about three hours. A boat trip to the Delta where the Victoria Nile engorges into the Lake Albert leads through papyrus swamps. The trips takes about four to five hours and you will see a similar variety of animals and birds.
Nile Perch and tiger-fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers. Fishing is available in the river above and below the Falls. Do bring your own fishing equipment.
Murchison Falls Conservation Area offers the opportunity to explore the wild on foot.
A trail at Paraa winds through riverine forest, gullies and low hills. Animals, birds and plants can be closely and quietly observed. Nature walks are offered at Rabongo Forest, Top of the Falls and Kaniyo Pabidi.
TOP OF THE FALLS
Trails around the top of the Falls go right up to the water's edge. You have the opportunity to hike the top of the falls from the boat landing and get close to the narrow gorge through which the river plunges.
Kanio Pabidi is an undisturbed area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature Mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the Chocolate backed Kingfisher, the White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvell's Illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! Kaniyo Pabidi is on the Masindi - Paraa road, 8 kms from Kichumbanyobo gate. There is a campsite where water and firewood are available. Do bring everything else you may need. Kaniyo Pabidi is privately managed by the Forestry Department.
Rabongo Forest Ecotourism Centre nestles in an island of tropical riverine forest in the south-east of the conservation area. The forest is surrounded by savanna grassland and is one and a half hour drive from Paraa. Guide will help you explore the forest on foot, spotting primates; Black & White Colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Baboons, and occasionally Chimpanzees identifying animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. You can picnic and camp by the Wairingo River or stay in the well-equipped forest cottages.
Campsites are available at Top of the Falls, Rabongo Forest and Paraa, toilets or pit latrines/showers or bathing shelters are provided at these sites. Traditional and self-contained bandas are available at Paraa Rest Camp. Meals and beverages are offered. In addition, cottages are provided at Rabongo Eco-Tourism Centre. More luxurious accommodation is available at Nile Safari Camp, Sambiya River Lodge and Paraa Lodge Safari Lodge.
Take breakfast and transfer to Lake Mburo National park. It's a 4 hours drive from Kampala. The park is situated in western Uganda. Briefly stop at the equator, proceed to Lake Mburo, birding to the entrance of Nshara gate. Expect the following Common Scimitarbill, species; Emerald Spotted Wood Dove, Bare faced Go-Away Bird, Crested Francolin, Green Wood Hoopoe, Lilac breasted Roller, Spot-Flanked Barbet Northern Black Tit, Common Scimitarbill, Trilling Cisticola, Greater Blue Eared Starling, African Grey Hornbill, Brown Parrot may be seen. Take lunch at Rwonyo Restaurant. After lunch, embark on late afternoon game drive along the Zebra Track which may expose you to species like Coqui Francolin, Black Bellied Bustard, Temmricks Courser, African Wattled Plover, Rufous napped Rufous, Chested Swallow and Flappet Lark, etc. Look out also for evasive Leopard and other nocturnal species.
Back for Dinner and Overnight.
Attractions include, Nature Walk
Have an early morning Breakfast, embark on a nature walk encountering several species of wetland and savanna species of birds, Impalas among others. Return for lunch head for evening game drive along the Kigambira loop. Species to expect are; localized Red Faced Barbet, Red Headed lovebird, Black Collared Barbet, Green capped Eremomela and Lead colored Flycatcher.
Back for Dinner and overnight.
Game Viewing & Birding along the Lakeside Track
We move on for an early morning game drive along the Lakeside Track. This entails approach to Aquatic habitats around Lake Mburo. Species to expect may include, White Winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Lesser and Greater Swamp Warbler and also the elusive Shoebill, the Blue headed Coucal. Continue to the lakeside campground, as we look out for the African Darter, African Water Rail, African Fin foot, Spur winged plovers, and many others. Return midmorning for breakfast and proceed for a launch- cruise in search for papyrus species missed, Hippos, Crocodiles are the extras expected. Set off for Kampala but take a stop over in Masaka town for Lunch and proceed to Kampala.
However, note should be taken that we have got two types of Safaris, Some opt for Luxury Safari (lodges / hotels) and others opt for Budget Safaris (camping and simple accommodation).Our rates vary with the accommodation type , nevertheless the rest of the activities will remain the same . Feel free to inquire.
Best known for its Mountain Gorillas, the Montane Forest also attracts spectacular birds. There are 23 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemics including the African Green Broadbill, Bar Tailed Trogon and other beautiful forest species. You may decide to relax in the afternoon or take a nature walk ( at an extra cost of $20 P.P) which will lead you to the Munyaga Waterfall and a chance to see primates such as the Grey Cheeked Mangabey Blue Monkeys and others species. Spend the night at either Gorilla Forest Camp/ Mantana Tented Camp (High end/luxurious accommodation), or Lake Kitandara’s Tented Camp/ Buhoma Homestead (Medium class accommodation) or the Community Bandas (Low budget/basic accommodation). Full Board.
You will need to have a good night’s rest to get ready for the following day’s gorilla tracking.
Major attraction is, Gorilla Tracking
(There is an option of tracking in Nkuringo the southern sector of Bwindi or Rwanda as well).
This morning you will have to wake up very early to get ready for Gorilla tracking. Do not forget to take your lunch boxes and all the necessary gear to track the rare Mountain Gorilla, perhaps one of the most exciting wildlife experiences on earth. There are now only 650 left in the world! The tracking may take between 2 and 6 hours but its well worth the effort. There are always park guides with you who interpret the flora and fauna and the lifestyle of the Gorillas. In the afternoon relax at the camp or go for a Village walk to visit the Local Batwa Community walk ( at an extra cost of $15 P.P) returning to the Camp in the evening. Dinner and over night at either Gorilla Forest Camp / Mantana Tented Camp (High end/luxurious accommodation), or Lake Kitandara’s Tented Camp/ Buhoma Homestead (Medium class accommodation) or the Community Bandas (Low budget/basic accommodation). Full Board.
. Kibale Forest is a large protected block of rainforest, which has the highest number of primates in Africa such as Chimpanzees, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, Red Tailed monkey and Red Colobus. Relax in the evening have dinner and over night at either Ndali lodge, a stunning location overlooking a dramatic Crater Lake and the fabled "Mountains of the Moon"/ Mantana Tented Camp (High end/luxurious accommodation), Rwenzori View Guest House/Ataco Guest house (Medium class accommodation) or Primate Lodge Kibale Bandas (Low budget/basic accommodation). Full Board.
Kibale National Park.
This morning you will go for the morning Chimpanzee tracking in the forest, get a chance to see other species like the Grey-Throated Flycatcher, Masked & Black-Capped Apalis', Chestnut-Winged Starling, Orange -Tufted & Tiny Sunbirds, a good infrastructure and variety of interesting activities which makes this a worthwhile destination returning in time for a heartily breakfast.
Later in the afternoon, you will have the opportunity of a guided walk through Bigodi Swamp. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is managed by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental organisation formed in 1992 with the aim of achieving social and economic development for local communities. This swamp is a home to approximately 137 bird species and its also rich in vegetation, such as wild palms, polita figs and the dominant papyrus.
There are a network of forest trails that radiate out from the visitor centre, allowing you to search for a number of species that shun the vicinity of the main road.
Dinner and over night at either Ndali Lodge / Mantana Tented Camp (High end/luxurious accommodation), Rwenzori View Guest House/Ataco Guest House (Medium class accommodation) or Primate Lodge Kibale Bandas (Low budget/basic accommodation). Full Board.
Kibale - Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve. (Approx. 2.5 hours drive).
This valley is known as the “Garden of Eden” and has a magnificent view of the River Semliki meandering to Lake Albert. You will stop to visit a local farmer and have a brief tour of his farm then take your picnic lunch at the hot water springs arriving at the Lodge in the afternoon.
Mount Moroto Lies in the extreme east of Uganda and is the most accessible place to see some of the dry northeastern "special", many at the western edge of their ranges here in Karamoja province. One of a chain of volcanoes along the Kenyan border that begins with Mount Elgon in south and includes Mountains Kadam and Morungole, Moroto is a forest reserve protecting a range of habitats from arid thorn savanna to dry montane forest. Although a long hike is required to reach the higher areas, excellent arid thorn savanna and rocky slopes are accessible from the town at the foot of the mountain.
ABOUT THE PARK
Province : Moroto.
Elevation : 920-3084m above sea level.
Size : 483 km excluding surrounding areas.
Habitat : Dry Combretum and Acacia savanna, dry montane forest.
Status : Forest Reserve and public land.
Birds : 225 species.
Timing : All year round.
Time Required: 1-2 days
Key Species of Birds
Stone Partridge, Black-headed Plover, White-bellied Go-away Bird, Jackson's Hornbill, Hemp Rich’s Hornbill, handsome Silver bird, Grey-headed and Pygmy Batises, Bristle-crowned and Superb Starlings, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Purple Grenadier and Straw-tailed Whydah, African Grey-Fly-catcher. .
Lake Bisina and Lake Opeta from an eastern extension of Kyoga system and are included as sites for Uganda's only endemic bird, Fox's Weaver. Although no facilities are present, the lakes can be covered enroute from Mount Elgon to Moroto or visited for a day from a base in Mbale or Soroti.
Lake Bisina is more accessible of the two and is easily reached on a good dirt road that branches north off the main Mbale-Soroti road at Kapiri, 20km southeast of Soroti. Continue along this road to the lake edge and arrange with a local fisherman to take you across to the northwestern corner where a colony of Fox's Weavers nest in the waterside vegetation. Numbers peak in March and April but there are at least a few present year-round. Quiet areas of water lilies support African Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana and Shoebill is fairly frequently seen at the edge of the extensive papyrus.
The dense thorn savanna around the T-junction with the Mbale road 11 km from town supports White-bellied Go-away Bird, Jackson's Hornbill, Fawn-colored Lark, African Grey Flycatcher, the handsome Silver bird, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, Pygmy Batis, Brubru and Eastern Vilet-backed Sunbird. Drive south from the junction for 5 km, watching for Dark Chanting Goshawk, Yellow-necked Spur fowl, Crested Bustard and the smart Black-headed Plover at the roadside. The Plovers and Temminck's Courser may also be seen on the airstrip closer to town. Pairs of D'Arnaud's Barbet are frequently seen engaged in their bizarre tail-wagging duets. Listen for the distinctive sound of Pebbles being struck together that may reveal the presence of the Grey Wren Warbler....
OTHER WILD LIFE
Other wildlife is not plentiful in the Moroto area but may include Potos, Monkey or the spectacular Golden Cat.
Moroto can be reached from Mbale either via Soroti (90 km tarmarc, or 170 km 2 WD dirt, drive time required 6 hours ) or via the direct eastern route ( 230 km. 2 WD dirt, drive time required 7 hours ). There is good birding along both routes . To reach the Seminary from Moroto, turn right at the first roundabout in town and continue around the base of the mountain for 7.5 km.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
The Moroto Hotel on the edge of town has double rooms for $ 30 person, although there are two more basic yet clean hotels on the main road . Restaurants serve local foods and basic provisions are available from numerous stores.
LOCAL ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE THE PARK
The road from Moroto to Soroti crosses the Bokora Game Reserve 50 km from town and dry thorn bush at the roadside supports, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Beautiful Sunbird and Grey-capped Social Weaver. Pink-breasted Lark favours the arid Acacia savanna in this area. Hartlaub's Bustard has been described as "common on the Bokora Plains" and Red-fronted Warbler, a scarce species in Uganda, is known from arid scrub at the roadside between Kangole and Iriri villages (30 -65km from Moroto).
The direct eastern route from Mbale to Moroto is an excellent birding road although the journey takes longer than via Soroti. The stretch