Uganda Birding Tours
The Republic of Uganda, more commonly referred to as Uganda, is an East African country that is steeped in history. Although many associate this country with its unfortunate past, Uganda has been a politically stable country for nearly four decades, and since having been proclaimed as one of the top African countries to visit and one of the best countries in the world to see by Lonely Planet, this formerly forgotten country has seen an incredible surge in tourism over the last eight years. The country ranks as one of the most biodiverse in the world, featuring all of the iconic African mammals, including gorillas, and an extensive bird list of 1093 species, including many exciting Albertine Rift endemics, and probably it is the easiest destination to find the mega Shoebill. Inhabited by friendly-natured and accommodating people, Uganda truly is the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
This landlocked country is a partner state of the East African Community and is bordered by Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Lake Victoria (which it shares with Tanzania and Kenya). It is located within the African Great Lakes region and forms part of the Great Rift Valley. Kampala is the country’s capital city, and English is one of its two official languages and widely spoken throughout the country.
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Uganda’s immense biodiversity stems from the wide range of habitats found within its borders that includes almost everything from montane forests to vibrant wetlands and open savanna plains. The country has become widely known as an excellent bird watching destination, with one of its more important sites being the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The name alone inspires a sense of awe, and the rolling hills blanketed in thick mistbelt forest don’t disappoint. This area supports a vast number of special birds, in particular the prized Albertine Rift endemics, which include Rwenzori Turaco, Grauer’s Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, the superb Regal Sunbird, and the mythical Shelley’s Crimsonwing, among others. Although not Albertine Rift endemics, other prized species to be found while forest birding here include Bar-tailed Trogon and White-bellied Robin-Chat. Not to be forgotten, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also hosts one of the most important populations of Eastern (Mountain) Gorillas, and this is one of the few areas where these gentle giants can be easily seen – during gorilla tracking.
Two of the country’s other notable bird watching locations are Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. Both of these sites are more typical savanna-style parks, with their open plains resplendent with numbers of mammals, including the typical African big game such as African Elephant and Lion, which serve as an excellent supplement to the many birds occurring in these parks. As their names suggest, Queen Elizabeth National Park is named in honor of a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, while Murchison Falls National Park is named for the powerful waterfall by the same name located along the Victoria Nile. Boat excursions are an added feature in these parks and they provide unparalleled access to a number of the birds and sights of the area.
Kibale National Park features very highly on tours to Uganda as well, notably for the large numbers of Chimpanzees present, arguably making this forest the premier Chimpanzee tracking site in the country and quite probably in the world. Kibale is also widely known to bird watchers, as, among many other bird species present, it is one of the only known areas where the rare Green-breasted Pitta occurs and can reliably be found at a certain time of year.
The biggest drawing card for bird watching tours to Uganda, however, must be the easiest and most reliable opportunity to see the massive and iconic Shoebill. In fact, this large waterbird that specializes on feeding on lungfish can be found roughly an hour from the airport in Mabamba Swamp on the edge of Lake Victoria!
Our bird watching tours to Uganda combine all of the above-mentioned areas, along with a few more key locations, and offer some of the most comprehensive bird watching tours on the market to this friendly and tremendously exciting country!