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Shoebill by Steve BirdUGANDA
Shoebill, Chimpanzee & Mountain Gorilla Special!

July 20 - 28, 2020

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Past Trips:  2011>    2016 (pdf)>

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Uganda is now known as the “Pearl of Africa”. A safe, friendly country with good roads, comfortable lodges and excellent training programs for local guides, Uganda has become one of Africa’s most outstanding destinations for birders and wildlife enthusiasts. Not only does it offer the prehistoric looking Shoebill, Green-breasted Pitta, African Green Broadbill and a host of Gina with Gorilla.Albertine Rift Endemics, but it also has a multitude of primates to see including the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla and the Chimpanzee. We’ve designed this trip to be manageable in length and affordable while offering the best of Uganda including Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Kibale National Park.

We invite you to compare this itinerary to the multi-week options out there costing up to $10,000 or more and out of reach for most people!  Our tour proves that Uganda IS possible in comfort for much less! This tour stays at some of the same lodges used on those marathon trips and offers the species you most want to see!

Join us for an African adventure to see the
iconic Shoebill, Mountain Gorilla and the
other very species of Uganda!


Day 1: ARRIVAL, July 20, 2020

Plan on arriving in Entebbe International Airport today (Airport code EBB). On arrival you will be transferred to our Guest House where we will meet for a welcome dinner in the evening.


Great Blue Turacos by Gina Nichol.Today we will take an early breakfast before setting off on the drive to Kibale National Park. We will break up this journey with birding stops. As we near Portal, we will pass through a section of the National Park and here a few roadside stops could produce an assortment of species. On the streams we could see African Black Duck, Cassin’s Gray Flycatcher, and maybe Shining Blue Kingfisher, while the forest edges could produce Waller’s, Narrow-tailed and Purple-headed Starlings, Joyful, Slender-billed and Toro-olive Greenbuls, Luhder’s, Bocage’s and Many-colored Bush-shrikes, Senegal Coucal, African Emerald Cuckoo, Hairy-breasted and Gray-fronted Barbets, and Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill. Many species are possible such as Afep and White-naped Pigeons, Red-headed Bluebill, Blue-headed Brown Sunbird, Crowned Eagle, Sabine’s Spinetail and White-collared Oliveback.

Leaving the main road we pass through forest making a couple of stops in search of Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Roller, Green Crombec, Red-headed Malimbe, Crested Guineafowl, Gray-throated and Sooty Flycatchers, Great Blue Turaco (Photo: Gina Nichol) plus a variety of primates such as Olive Baboon, Blue, L’Hoest’s and Red-tailed Monkeys, and Red Colobus. Depending on what time we arrive at the lodge we can either relax or take a short walk into the surrounding forest. Accommodation: Primate Lodge or Crater Safari Lodge: B,L,D


Chimpanzee by Gina Nichol.After an early morning breakfast we will set off into the forest in search the shy Green-breasted Pitta. As dawn rises we hope to hear one displaying and with luck this will enable us to track it down and hopefully see it! Early morning in the forest can be alive with strange sounds and we may be able to coax a Red-chested Owlet to show itself or even African Wood Owl. Some birds are easier heard than seen and both Scaly-breasted Illidopsis and White-spotted Flufftail are prime examples although with patience we have a good chance for the latter. There are about 325 bird species in Kibale National Park including many special birds that we will make a special effort to see. The skulking Green-breasted Pitta being one of the most sought after. We will hope to get a nice selection of good birds under our belts this morning.

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to track the most famous inhabitants of Kibale National Park, the chimpanzees. This is optional and those choosing to track chimps need to obtain a permit (currently $150 per person, pre-arranged and subject to change) for the prospect of seeing this amazing animal in the wild. With more than 1,450 individuals protected within the park, Kibale forest is home to the largest number of the endangered chimpanzees in Uganda, as well as the threatened Red Colobus Monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s Monkey. Park Rangers set out early each morning to track the animals from their previous overnight nests, meaning that the chances of an encounter are extremely high. A star of the Kibale forest, this will surely be an awe-inspiring experience and a highlight of the tour. (As the Chimpanzee is a wild animal, sightings are not guaranteed, but there is a very good chance). Those choosing not to take part in the trek can continue birding around the Park.

After hopefully encountering the unpredictable Chimps, we will continue birding the area. Some of the species we can hope to come across include White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Black-billed Turaco, Red-tailed Antthrush, Western Black-headed Oriole, Crowned Hornbill, White-chinned Prinia, Narina Trogon, Olive, Scarlet-chested and Green Sunbirds, Mountain Wagtail, Velvet-mantled Drongo and Honeyguide Greenbul. A visit to the swamps of Bigodi is home to the Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Green-backed Twinspot, White-naped Pigeon, Afep Pigeon, Joyful Greenbul, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush and Black-faced Rufous Warbler. Accommodation: Primate Lodge or Crater Safari Lodge: B,L,D


Bar-tailed Trogon (Photo: Gina Nichol)

Today after breakfast, we will drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a bird watcher’s heaven. This incredible place holds 348 species of birds and 23 of Uganda's 24 Albertine Rift Endemics such as the Short-tailed, Red-faced Woodland and Grauer's Rush Warblers, Bar-tailed Trogon (Photo: Gina Nichol), Willcock's Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Flycatcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimson Wing, White-tailed Blue Monarch and many more species that are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. The Park gets its name because of the steepness of the hills which used to make progress almost impossible, but thankfully these days most of the special birds can be observed from gently sloping trails or from roads.

Our lodge overlooks the forested mountains and after our arrival we should have some time for some birding along a stream and the forest edges. Once again we have a chance for African Black Duck, and many new and exciting species such as Black Cuckoo, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Tambourine Dove, Black Saw-wing, Red-headed Malimbe, Gray-headed Negro-finch, Ludher’s Bush-shrike, Little and Yellow-throated Greenbul, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellowbill, Green Crombec, Brown-throated wattle-eye, Green-headed Sunbird, and if we are very lucky Woodhouse’s Antpecker. Accommodation: Gorilla Mist Camp: B,L,D

Mountain Gorilla by Steve Bird.Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to approximately half of the world population of Mountain Gorillas. Today will be one of those truly “once in a life-time” opportunities, the chance to see this majestic animal in its wild habitat. Those wishing too will set out on a morning trek into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to track Mountain Gorillas. With a packed lunch and led by an experienced team of guides and trackers, you will track the Gorillas through the dense forest habitat. The chance of finding the gorillas is very high, as the trackers can usually find one of the family groups that are used to human visitors. However, on some occasions the trackers have not been able to locate the mobile family groups. If you are lucky enough to encounter a group of these rare and docile animals, it is sure to be a magical experience. Once a group is found, you have a full hour to enjoy, quietly watch and take photographs of these amazing creatures. This is an incredible wildlife experience and well worth the effort! (Note: Many people go on Gorilla treks from Buhoma, but doing this from Ruhizha is a far better experience as we will probably be the only people going out on our designated day.)


Mountain Gorilla by Gina Nichol.Anyone wishing to track Mountain Gorillas must obtain a permit in advance. The cost of the permit is currently $600 per person and the demand for permits is very high. It is critical that if you wish to accompany our gorilla trek, you reserve your place in advance when you register for this tour. Please clearly state that you wish to accompany and pay for a gorilla trek. Permits are non-refundable. A reasonable level of fitness is required for the gorilla trek though the pace is not overly fast. The trek can involve several hours of strenuous walking on steep slopes and off-trail so you will need to be able to walk through dense forest and up and down slopes. The guides will carry your backpack (for a fee or tip) and are very helpful during the trek getting you over the terrain. The walk can take anywhere from a few hours to all day and quite often the gorillas can be found within a few hours. Sometimes, however, it is possible to miss the gorillas completely as these are indeed wild animals and their movements are unpredictable. The guides will have the latest information on the whereabouts of the group during the trek briefing. We have taken many people of 70 years plus to successfully see these amazing creatures.

Because everyone may not want to accompany a Gorilla trek, we have costed this excursion separate from the cost of the tour. If for any reason you do not opt for the Gorilla trek, there will be birding opportunities offered.  If you have any questions about Gorilla trekking, please ask!


Depending on the time we return from the Gorilla trek, we may bird the Mine Trail where we have a chance for Grassland Pipit, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Regal Sunbird, Black-headed and Yellow-bellied Waxbills, Dusky Twinspot, Mackinnon’s Shrike, Red-throated Wryneck, and if we are lucky we may see a Spotted Eagle-Owl in a day roost. Accommodation: Gorilla Mist Camp: B,L,D


Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird by Gina Nichol. Today we have the full day to explore more of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. One of our main targets for today will be the very rare and difficult African Green Broadbill which will only really be possible if an active nest has been located. Around our lodge, we will look for Chubb’s Cisticola, Yellow-headed Canary, African Dusky Flycatcher and the stunning Golden-breasted Bunting, while in the forest we could come across Dusky Twinspot, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Rwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, African Hill-babbler, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked, Collared and Black-throated Apalis. The gorgeous looking Doherty’s Bush-shrike will also be a target today and other birds in this area include Purple-breasted, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, Narina Trogon, Tullberg's Woodpecker, Gray Cuckoo-Shrike, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Archer’s Robin-chat, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Dusky Crimsonwing, Banded Prinia, White-starred Robin, Slender-billed Starling, Yellow-bellied and Black-headed Waxbill, Brown-crowned Tchagra, White-breasted Negrofinch, Handsome Francolin and hopefully Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird (Photo: Gina Nichol).

Rwenzori Batis (Photo: Steve Bird)Another excellent birding spot we can explore is an area known as the "Neck". Mist lingers along the higher stretches and the dense forest is covered in a profusion of epiphytes and mosses that create a cloud forest atmosphere. This is an excellent locality for Black Bee-eater, as well as Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Handsome Francolin, Red-throated Wryneck, Archer’s Robin-chat, Collared Apalis, Bronze Sunbird, Scarce Swift, Black Saw-wing, Cassin’s Gray, Dusky Blue, African Blue, White-tailed Blue and White-eyed Slaty Flycatchers, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Toro Olive Greenbul, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Doherty’s, Many-colored and Lühder’s Bush-Shrikes, Rwenzori Batis (Photo: Steve Bird), Stripe-breasted Tit, Yellow Bishop, Purple-breasted Sunbird, White-naped Raven, Strange and Baglafecht Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow Bishop, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Black-and-White Mannikin, the rare Dusky Twinspot, Yellow-crowned Canary and Streaky Seedeater. The very rare and exceedingly difficult African Green Broadbill has also been seen on many occasions along this road so we need to keep vigilant. At dusk we could find Rwenzori Nightjar or African Wood Owl. B,L,D
Ugandan Kob (Photo: Gina Nichol) Today, we will drive to Lake Mburo National Park where you will experience some of the more classic African wildlife. A network of game tracks through the park leads through a variety of landscape features including acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. Lake Mburo National Park is home to 350 bird species and 68 mammal species including Zebra, Impala, Eland, Water Buffalo, Ugandan Kob (Photo: Gina Nichol), Oribi, Defassa Waterbuck, Leopard, Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyena, Topi and Reedbuck.

We can enjoy Lake Mburo National Park’s mosaic-like habitats and search for a wide variety of birds. The huge diversity of habitats and bird life includes 313 bird species recorded in the park, including Collared Barbet, Long-tailed Zitting Cisticola (Tabora), African Rail and with luck maybe a Pennant-winged Nightjar. Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock Lodge: B,L,D


African Finfoot (Photo: Adam Scott Kennedy) Today, we will get up early for a special boat ride on Lake Mburo. The Lake attracts a variety of species including some real global rarities like White-backed Night-Heron, African Finfoot (Photo: Adam Scott Kennedy) and the range-restricted Red-faced Barbet. The massive list of other bird species recorded in the park includes African Marsh-Harrier, White-backed, Lappet-faced and White-headed Vultures, Brown Snake-Eagle, African Hawk-Eagle, African Darter, Spur-winged Goose, Coqui and Crested Francolins, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Red-chested, Jacobin, Levaillant’s, Klaas’s and Diederik Cuckoos, Blue-headed Coucal, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Striped Kingfisher, Lilac-breasted Roller, African Gray Hornbill, Green Woodhoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Blue-naped and Speckled Mousebirds, Spot-flanked Barbet, Nubian and Bearded Woodpeckers, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Long-tailed and Siffling Cisticolas, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Chinspot Batis, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Red-faced Crombec, Lead-colored Flycatcher, White-winged Black Tit, African Penduline-tit, Black-headed Oriole, Tropical Boubou, White-crested Helmetshrike, Brubru, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Greater Blue-eared and Wattled Starlings. Our morning here should be bird-filled to say the least and we’ll add a few more of the iconic African mammals to our trip list. We will then start our journey back to Entebbe. Crossing the equator where we may have time to take photos. Later in the day, we will arrive at Entebbe and our guest house. Accommodation: Boma Guest House: B,L,D

DAY 9: MABAMBA SWAMP – END OF TOUR – July 28, 2019
Shoebill by Steve Bird.After an early breakfast, we will drive to Mabamba Swamp about 50 kilometers west of Kampala on the shores of Lake Victoria. We will be birding enroute and will likely see African Fish Eagles around the wetlands and lakes. We will look for papyrus specialties such as the Papyrus Gonolek and White-winged Warbler and a number of Weavers including Northern Brown-throated, Weyns’s, Golden-backed and Orange Weaver to name a few. Later on we will arrive at the Mabamba Swamp where we stand an excellent chance to encounter Uganda’s most famous bird, the enormous and thoroughly bizarre Shoebill (Photo: Steve Bird). The birding here is done by canoe and our plan is to paddle quietly into the realm of this shy and unique bird. There are many other water loving species here and we hope to see a variety of herons and ducks, as well as Black Crake, African Jacana, Malachite Kingfisher, African Water Rail, Allen’s Gallinule, Goliath and Purple Heron and Swamp Flycatcher, and with luck we may find a Lesser Jacana, Saddle-billed Stork or smart looking Blue-breasted Bee-eaters. After this fabulous end to our tour we will have lunch and then depart for the Airport for your international departing flight. B,L

  Adam Scott Kennedy and local guides                Photo below:  Gentle Monkey by Gina Nichol

Gentle Monkey by Gina Nichol.UGANDA
Shoebill, Chimpanzee &
Mountain Gorilla Special!

July 20 - 28, 2020

Registration Form>    
Contact to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE:  $3495 per person based on double occupancy from Entebbe, Uganda.  Price based on exchange rates at the time the tour was posted (**see note below).

Single supplement: $525.00 per person subject to availability. 

Gorilla Trekking Permit: $600.00 per person
Chimpanzee Trekking Permit: $150.00 per person
(Please note if you want to look for Gorillas or Chimpanzees then we need to book the permits as early as possible as there are limited numbers.)

Deposit: $1000.00 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment. 


Included in cost: Group transfers on arrival, accommodation based on twin occupancy, all meals from dinner on dinner on 20th July to lunch on 28th July, all community fees, park entrance fees, transportation throughout, boat trips, detailed pre-trip materials and checklists, services of local guide and tour leaders throughout the trip, drinking water.


Not included: International airfare, passport/visa fees, Gorilla and Chimp permits, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding and wildlife tour with all day birding. No particular strenuous walks are planned except potentially the Gorilla trek (see details above).   There may also be a few moderate uphill treks.  Birding is mostly from open roads, wide tracks and boats. To see a good amount of specialties you need to be prepared for full days. We will generally start early and either have an early breakfast or return for breakfast. Lunches will be either picnic or at the lodges depending on our schedule.


RESERVATIONS: Contact to reserve your space!  Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $1000 per person within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   
>Download & print the Registration Form 


Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due March 20, 2020.


**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (some times in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724