Birding Pal Tours is a different kind of International Tour Group Operator.



We found local birding tour guides who are experts and independent operators.

Your tour is flexible, to see the birds you want, because you can participate in the planning.

Birding Pal Tours guides know all the real hotspots and you get the most out of your trip.

You will experience local life, meeting new friends, discovering culture, learning history and trying new food, all with your local guide.

You don't have to miss birdwatching if your travel companion has another interest; your guide easily accommodates other travel booking / transportation needs.

Hiring a local guide gives your money more impact for you, and your guide and the local economy, boosting efforts to protect the habitat.



Birding Pals July 2nd 2017 Uganda Tour


Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) in Mabamba marsh photo by Martina Stolzi

See our Itinerary page



The tour starts and ends in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. Upon arrival, you will be picked from the Airport by the hotel shuttle and taken to your hotel for refreshments, dinner, and overnight stay. Early arrivals will give a chance to bird around Entebbe areas; the Botanical Gardens and/or any other nearby site.

The highlights of our visit will be a walk in L. Mburo NP woods, Albertine rift endemics in Bwindi and Kibale NPs, & tracking Mountain Gorillas in the misty forests of Bwindi!



This trip runs from 2nd July - 16th July 2017
and again 5th Jan - 20th Jan 2018


Birding guide
Your Guide Deogratius Muhumuza


Deo, a graduate of Tourism from Makerere University Kampala, was born in western Uganda in an area adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park - Bunyaruguru crater zone.

Deo is a keen ornithologist, and a very active member of Nature Uganda - East African Natural History Society (a birdlife international partner in Uganda).

He works as a part-time ornithological researcher with Nature Uganda in important bird areas monitoring, bi-annual waterfowl counts, species conservation surveys and common birds monitoring; plus many other conservation organisations. His knowledge of birds and their habitats is undoubtable.


Deo is currently the General Secretary of Uganda Bird Guides Club, member of Uganda Safari Guides Association.

He is the co-author of the Uganda Cultural guides training manual.

He also runs a local nature and cultural safari company that specialize in birding, wildlife and cultural tours in Uganda.


Contact Deo Muhumuza


Let's meet in Costa Rica

2017 : April 1-13
Johan Fernandez Johan Fernandez Johan Fernandez
With Johan Fernandez and Birding CR


We are going to visit:

· Carara National and Tarcoles River
· Cloud Forest and Paramo of Talamanca Mountain range-San Gerardo de Dota-Los Quetzales
· Valley of El General- Southern Pacific foothills
· Carribean Plains- Sarapiqui low lands- La Selva Biological Station.
· Arenal Volcano Area.
· San Vito de Coto Brus. South Pacific foothills of Talamanca.
· Caribbean foothills Rancho Naturalista.
· Rio Frio area. Cano Negro National park.
· Northwest Dry forest. Santa Rosa National Park. Palo Verde National Park.
· North Caribbean region. Tenorio Volcano National Park

Birding CR
Join Pals on a group tour



Birding the Islands of the Caribbean

Tour 1: The Perfect Combo

Islands Visited: Barbados, Dominica, St.Lucia and Trinidad

Tour Dates:

Tour Dates:
November 19th - November 29th 2017

AND
September 28th - October 7th 2018


www.birdingtheislands.com/tour-1



Tour 2: Lesser is More in The Antilles

Islands visited: Barbados, St.Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, St.Vincent, Grenada and Trinidad

Tour Dates:

March 16th - March 27th 2017
OR
February 22nd - March 5th 2018


www.birdingtheislands.com/tours




India


Tour-1 November 28th to December 7th 2016
and
Tour-2 March 6th. to March 15th 2017
Birding Pal Tours Guide
With Sunil Kumar




Panama



7 days 6 nights fixed dates Bird Watching
the eastern-most unexplored birding region of Panama
on low budget with a local Birding Pal Guide


April07 - 13 2017
May05 - 11 2017










Birding the Islands of the Caribbean

Tour 1: The Perfect Combo

Islands Visited: Barbados, Dominica, St.Lucia and Trinidad

Tour Dates:

Tour Dates:
November 19th - November 29th 2017

or
September 28th - October 7th 2018



www.birdingtheislands.com/tour-1



Tour 2: Every Endemic in The Lesser Antilles (with optional extension to Trinidad)

Islands visited: Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat St. Vincent, Grenada and optional extension to Trinidad

Tour Dates:

February 22nd - March 9th 2018



www.birdingtheislands.com/tours





What could possibly be better than birding on one Caribbean island? Being able to travel to many different Caribbean islands and go birding on all of them!!

My name is Ryan Chenery and I am the Professional BirdingPal Guide for Barbados. In 2017 I will be leading the following 2 Caribbean birding tours of the islands of the Lesser Antilles and Trinidad. Please see my website www.birdingtheislands.com for detailed itinerary and pricing, and please note that by virtue of your being a BirdingPal you will be entitled to a 5% discount off of the price quoted on my website.

What could possibly be better than birding on one Caribbean island? Being able to travel to many different Caribbean islands and go birding on all of them!!

When you add a large number of critically endangered endemics to a lengthy list of indigenous regional species, a birding trip to the islands of the Lesser Antilles is already guaranteed to yield a host of spectacular species. However, by combining our exploration of these Caribbean Islands with a journey to Trinidad (an island absolutely teeming with over 250 South American species) and by ensuring we are in the region when bird numbers are further saturated by numerous over-wintering North American migrants and this promises to be a very rewarding birding trip indeed. It’s the perfect North American, Caribbean and South American birding combo! (Potential for 380 species on Tour 1, and 400+ species on Tour 2).

Join me as we explore secluded cays sheltering huge colonies of seabirds; delve into lush tropical montane and elfin forests - havens for raucous parrots, colourful tanagers, and vibrant hummingbirds; and journey into vast mangrove wetlands and open savannahs, whose intricate ecosystems support some of the richest and most threatened bird life in the Western Hemisphere. Do all of this in the knowledge that during "down time" you will also be able to sit back and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, or go for a swim in warm turquoise waters, bathed in tropical sunshine.

A truly unforgettable birding adventure in paradise awaits...


India


Tour-1 November 28th to December 7th 2016
Tour-2 March 6th. to March 15th 2017

Birding Pal Tours Guide

Birding in India.

Ten days Corbett Park, Pangot, Nainital and Sattal.


DAY 1
Delhi International Airport pick up and 6 hour drive to Corbett-Park, 275km. from Delhi.

Overnight stay in Gargiya. Explore in the afternoon to dusk, Ramganga river area and Sitabani area by jeep.


DAY 2 and 3
Corbett Park, famous for its tigers, elephants and leopards, is also a birdwatchers dream, with its rich over biogeographic diversity. Home to more than 580 species of birds about half of the total species found in the entire Indian subcontinent. You can see hornbills, babblers, bulbuls, cuckoos, bee eaters, thrushs, doves, rollers, orioles, drongos, owls, flycatchers, warblers, chats, robins, kingfishers, finches, forktails, parakeets and many more. Birds that can be spotted at the banks of River,Ramganga on the outskirts of Corbett Park. Two days spend in the Park exploring the park by jeep, on foot and try for elephant back.(If elephant are avilable).


Morning birding in park and after break-fast. 3 hours drive to Pangot by car.


DAY 4, 5 and 6

Pangot is small village 310km. from Northeast Delhi, 60km.from Kathgodam and 80km.from Corbett Park. Pangot have richest oak, pine and rododendron forest in the area the Kumoan Himalayas. The green belt supports an enormous varity of Himalayan flora and fauna.


Pangot for a birdwatchers paradise. Pangot is 12 km. from Nainital and the drive is through the bird habitats of Cheena-Peak(Naini-Peak) range forests via Snow-view Point and Kilbury. Almost 200 birds species have been recorded at Pangot and surrounding area, Baggar, Timla-pani, Ghugukhan, Binayak and Kilbury.


Birds to be seen: Ceer Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, White-throated Laughing Thrush, Straited Laughingthrush, Black-headed Jay, Eurasian Jay, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Hill Partridge, Rufous-throated Partridge, Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babbler, Scarlet Finch, Common Finch, Blue-capped Redstart, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Rufous Sibia, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Whiskered Yuhina, Himalayan Woodpecker, Brown-fronted Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Mrs Gould Sunbird, Fire-tailed Sunbird and more.


Morning birding, break-fast and than make a move to Nainital. Its only 45 minutes car drive from Pangot.


DAY 7

Nainital is set around a lake, at an altitude of 1951 mts. in the Central Himalayas of the Kumaon region. It was discovered by P.Barrow, a sugar merchant from Saharanpur in 1841. He was so moved by the splendour of the place that he had his boat carried up there and this hill station soon became fashionable focus of all.

Nainital is also paradise for bird lovers. You could identified more than 150 species of birds during your visit in this hill station. Place to go for birding is Snow-view, Kahala Garden, Mangoli Valley. Next morning birding in Mangoli-valley returning to the hotel for breakfast and then drive down to Sattal.

Bird to be seen: Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Black Eagle, Black Kite, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, White-collared Blackbird, Long-tailed Thrush, Blue-winged Minla, Scaly Thrush, Blue-fronted Redstart, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Spotted Launghingthrush, Streaked Laughingthrush, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, Jungle Owlet, Asian-barred Owlet, Black-throated Sunbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Ashy Drango, Black Drango, Lesser-recket-tailed Drango, Common Rosefinch, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Barn Swallow, Red-Rumped Swallow, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Grey-hooded Warbler, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Spotted Forktail and more.


DAY 8 and 9

Sattal is 7 hour drive from Delhi, 1 hour from Nainital, 35km. from Kathgodam and 100km. from Corbett Park.

This is and ideal base for birders, nature enthusiasts, hikers and visitors wishing to explore Sattal and the surrounding area. (Staying in comfortable tents).

Bird to be seen: Kalij Pheasant, Blue-fronted Redstart, Black-faced Warbler, Mountain Hawk Eagle, White-throated Fantail, Great Barbet, Long-tailed Broadbill, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Nepal Wren Babbler, Oriental White-eye, Western Crowned Warbler, Grey-cheeked Warbler, Goldcrest, Black-lored Tit, White-throated Tit, Green-backed Tit, Spot-winged Tit, Long-tailed Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Brown Dipper, Golden Bush Robin and more.
   
DAY 10
Early morning birding. Breakfast and Lunch on the way Back to Delhi. 8 hours drive.



During this tour we hope to see at least 225 species of birds and a fair number of mammals.

You will enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the Kumaon, spectacular views of the Himalayas and surrounding countryside.

Price per person US$1900 in double occupancy (minimum 6 pax).

Included in tour: English speaking guide, comfortable accommodation, all meals, water bottles, transportation, park entrance fees.

Not included in tour: International flight, travel insurance, beverages, camera/videos fees, tips etc.


For further information and details please contact Sunil


Birding Pal Tours Guide






Panama Aug. 12 to Aug. 18 2016

Your local Birding Pal guide Gonzalo Horna

7 days 6 nights fixed dates Bird watching the eastern-most unexplored birding region of Panama on low budget with local Bird Guides!

       

Birding in Panama.


7 days 6 nights fixed dates Bird Watching
the eastern-most unexplored birding region of Panama
on low budget with a local Birding Pal Guide


April07 - 13 2017
May05 - 11 2017


Birding Pal guide Gonzalo Horna biography

Dedicated to promote guided bird watching low budget tours with groups and individuals within the country of Panama offering birding itinerary and daily walks to tropical rainforest and freshwater Canal birds.

We specialize in the birding area of Central Panama including Pipeline Road, Metropolitan Nature Park, Panama Viejo y Costa del Este mudflats, Ammo Dump, Old Gamboa Road, Plantation Road, Achiote Road, San Lorenzo National Park.

Visiting also the foothills and highlands east and west of Central Panama like Cerro Azul, Burgayar, Bayano, Altos del Maria, El Valle and to the western most like El Cope, El Chiru and Bayano lake and set of trails to the east. 



Gonzalo Horna, is our local bilingual guide for this trip. Panama native, is an enthusiastic birder, wildlife and all around fun trip leader, who comes with an Panama Bird Guide guarantee! A world class birder with a keen ear and sharp eyes, and has traveled and birded extensively Panama. He has a personal list of over 677 bird species in Panama alone.
"I’m more comfortable out in the rainforest jungles than in a big city, and I prefer rustic to luxury almost any time. Sometimes "suffering" for your wildlife is part of the fun. My favorite places to stay for this trip are Gamboa, Achiote, Cerro Azul and El Valle. GH"

For further information and details please contact Gonzalo   

Birding in Uganda.

16-Day Uganda Fixed Date Bird Watching Group Tour


Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) in Mabamba marsh photo by Martina Stolzi



Overview
The tour starts and ends in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. Upon arrival, you will be picked from the Airport by the hotel shuttle and taken to your hotel for refreshments, dinner, and overnight stay. Early arrivals will give a chance to bird around Entebbe areas; the Botanical Gardens and/or any other nearby site.

The highlights of our visit will be a walk in L. Mburo NP woods, Albertine rift endemics in Bwindi and Kibale NPs, & tracking Mountain Gorillas in the misty forests of Bwindi!



This trip runs from 2nd July - 16th July 2017
and again 5th Jan - 20th Jan 2018






Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis)
Detailed itinerary

Day 1
Arrivals at the Airport

Early Arrivals will give a chance to bird in Entebbe Botanical Gardens (EBG)

Situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, EBG is a beautiful place with colourful butterflies, birds and primates in an area of 40.7ha. The habitat has attracted a diverse array of birds "“ 206 species (both forest and shorebirds) and monkeys; Black and White Colobus and Vervet Monkeys.

Here, the birding walk is more relaxed. Some of the species we are likely to see here include harrier hawk, lizard buzzard, northern brown-throated wattle-eye, willow warbler, olivaceous warbler, African thrush, yellow-throated leaflove, African Grey Parrot, golden-backed, yellow-backed and orange weavers, white-spotted flufftail, ross's Turaco, crowned, African pied and black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Superb, olive-bellied, collared and Marica Sunbirds, ruff, green crombec, Blue-cheeked bee-eater, heuglin's and snowy-headed robinchat, red-cheeked cordon-blue, grey-headed negro-finch, etc.


Main destination: Entebbe
Accommodation: Lake Victoria View Guest HouseMid-range guest house located in Entebbe
Meals & drinks: Breakfast & dinner (Lunch not included) Drinks not included




Striated Heron (Butorides striatus) in Lake Mburo




Day 2
Mabamba Swamp and Lake Mburo National Park

We bird to Mabamba wetland in the morning and continue to Lake Mburo in the afternoon.

Start very early at 6:00 and carry packed lunch and drive to Mabamba Wetland.

Mabamba is about 50km west of Entebbe area on the shores of Lake Victoria. The bay comprises of an extensive marsh with a labyrinth of channels and lagoons, classified as an IBA (Important Bird Area) and home to several pairs of Shoebills, Uganda's most famous avian resident. Other interesting species include Lesser Jacana, Malachite Kingfisher, Pygmy Goose, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, etc.

We shall be here till late this morning and later continue birding on the way to L. Mburo National Park stopping over at the equator for Lunch.


Main destination: Lake Mburo National Park
Accommodation: Eagle's Nest Camp. Mid-range tented camp located just outside Lake Mburo NP
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included




Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)



Day 3
Whole day birding in Lake Mburo National Park

Morning bird walk in the woods, mid-day boat ride and afternoon birding in the wooded Savannah for the rest of the day

We shall start early; have our breakfast and thereafter we go do an early morning bird walk in the woods. The boat ride along the shores of the lake will be looking for specials like the white-backed and black-crowned night herons, rufous-bellied heron, African Finfoot, African darter, water thicknee etc. The papyrus swamp along the shores of the lake holds the papyrus yellow warbler and papyrus gonolek. You will also encounter pools of hippos, crocodiles, and buffalos. We spend the rest of the day on a game drive in the wooded savannah. Most sought-after species here include tabora cisticola, red-faced barbet, nbrown-chested lapwing etc.

Birding here is a delightful experience, with beautiful scenery and a markedly different fauna from other reserves. This is the best place in the country to see antelopes such as Eland, Zebra, Topi, and Impala.


Main destination: Lake Mburo National Park
Accommodation: Eagle's Nest Camp. Mid-range tented camp located just outside Lake Mburo NP
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included




Northern Crombec (Sylvieta brachyura) in Murchison Falls National Park



Day 4



Travel to Ruhiija sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Today, we shall check out the Camp, have an early morning breakfast and further southwest to Bwindi area. We have chances of birding on the way at a few spots. We may have lunch in Ntungamo or Kabale depending on our pace and later continue to Ruhiija. Early arrivals at Ruhiija will give a chance to bird along the main road. Our first encounter with the Albertine Rift Endemics begins here. We shall have dinner at the Camp

Bwindi is generally at a higher altitude and therefore is cooler. Temperatures range between 10 - 18 ° C, and forest birding at Bwindi ranks the best in Uganda and Africa as well. It is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine Rift Endemics.


Main destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Accommodation: Broadbill Forest Camp. Mid-range tented camp bordering Bwindi NP
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



White Bellied Bustard



Day 5

Birding Ruhiija Mubwindi Swamp

After breakfast, we shall carry our picnic lunch and head for a whole day birding following the famous trail through the forest up to Mubwindi Swamp. The 4km trail to Mubwindi Swamp drops from 2350m to 2050m ASL and is the best place for some of the most difficult to find of all the Albertine Rift Endemics including; the rare and localized Grauer's Rush Warbler, African Green Broadbill, the beautiful Regal Sunbird, and Archer's Robin Chat. Mubwindi Swamp is home to Dwarf Honeyguide, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Apalis and African / Rwenzori Hill Babbler, and Carruthers' Cisticola etc.

We shall return to our Camp this evening for dinner and overnight stay.

Note: to consider this activity, one MUST be in reasonably good health. It involves very challenging and strenuous hikes in the impenetrable forest with rugged terrain!



Main destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Accommodation: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) photo by Martina Stolzi



Day 6

Optional Gorilla tracking and transfer to Buhoma sector of the forest thereafter

Those doing the Gorilla trek will set off early after breakfast, carry packed lunch and gather at the park headquarters for briefing prior to the activity. Trekking up the hillside to view a family of gorillas nestled in casual, frolicking play is a fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will have an opportunity to enjoy close views of adults feeding, grooming and resting, as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully gentle display.

Note: to consider this activity, one MUST be in reasonably good health. It involves very challenging and strenuous hikes in the impenetrable forest with rugged terrain!

After here, we set off for Buhoma through the neck. The neck is a relatively narrow stretch connecting a small extension northern patch of the forest to the main body of Bwindi Impenetrable forest which is in the south. It is characterized by riverine forest vegetation and inhabits a considerable number of Albertine Rist Endemics.



Main destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Accommodation: Buhoma Community Camp. Budget tented camp located inside Bwindi NP
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Cassin's Grey Flycatcher



Day 7

Birding at Buhoma - Bwindi Forest

We begin early after breakfast, carry picnic lunch and begin a whole day birding along the main trail at Buhoma.

Some of the key species here include Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Chapin's Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, cassin's Grey Flycatcher, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill-Babbler, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Narrow-tailed Starling, Strange Weaver, Magpie Mannikin, Shelly's Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch, Bar-tailed Trogon, (Western) Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg's Woodpecker, Elliot's Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Lagdens Bush Shrike, Petit's Cuckoo-shrike, Archer's Ground Robin, Ansorge's Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, and Short-tailed Warbler.



Main destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Accommodation: Buhoma Community Camp. Budget tented camp located inside Bwindi NP
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Harlequin Quail



Day 8

Travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Start early after breakfast for Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is a rather long journey that may take most of our time this day. We shall have a few stops for stretching legs, to have our packed lunch and birding on the way.

We shall drive through Queen Elizabeth NP's distant southern segment - Ishasha section, famed for its tree climbing lions. Birding the way here may produce species like the Stout cisticola, white-winged and red-collared widow-birds. Watch out for occasional lions in the large fig tree along the main road!



Main destination: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Accommodation: Bush Lodge. Mid-range bandas bordering Queen Elizabeth NP
Meals & drinks: Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Intermediate Egret.jpg



Day 9

Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park for the whole day

Queen Elizabeth National Park is yet another area with some of the highest biodiversity ratings than any National Game Reserve in the world. Its varied habitats of open savannahs, acacia woodlands, tropical rain forests, dense papyrus swamps and lakes, make it one of the richest parks in Africa. Game in the park includes Elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, a profusion of Hippos, the elusive Giant Forest Hog and handsome Uganda Kob; with occasional Lion and Leopard. The park boosts of over 612 bird species recorded, and a one-day record of 296 species

We start very early after breakfast and drive to the Kasenyi trail. We shall be here till late this morning. Lunch break at he lodge before we go for the boat.

Along the Kazinga Channel, there are chances of spotting the African Skimmers, the new record for Uganda "“ Grey prantincole, snowy-capped robin chat, spoonbills, kittliz plover, flamingos, crowned plovers and many other shorebirds both migratory and resident.



Main destination: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Accommodation: Bush Lodge. Mid-range bandas bordering Queen Elizabeth NP
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Lesser Jacana



Day 10

Birding with the communities in the Bunyaruguru area just 30min drive from here

Today we shall spend half of our day birding on the Kamweru crater on a canoe, along the crater escarpment and thereafter follow the community wetland boardwalk nature trail. The communities here have initiated a community tourism project to help save the degraded wetland and the Crater Lake (Nzuguto wetland and Kamweru crater in particular) due to intense uncontrolled human activity. The project advocates for conservation of wildlife outside protected areas, and empowering communities with alternatives to prevent over-dependency on natural resources. The guides are from the local community and a percentage of the proceeds go to support numerous community conservation projects. Your visit here will have a great impact in support to community tourism as a means of empowering local people to protect the environment and improvement on their livelihoods both socially and economically.

Birding will be on a canoe and later on a boardwalk trail in the wetland. Bluebills and the Oliveback!



Main destination: Bunyaruguru
Accommodation: Raja Excelsior. Budget hotel located in Fort- Portal town
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Little Bittern



Day 11

Birding Semliki National Park along the famous Kirumia Trail

Semliki forest is one of the richest for lowland forest birds in Uganda and marks the eastern extension of the great Ituri Forest. A large number of Guinea-Congo biome species reach their eastern limits here. This therefore makes it the best place in Uganda with high chances of encountering some of the West African species that cannot be easily accessed from other places.

We shall start at dawn after an early breakfast and set off with our packed lunch. We spend the whole day bird watching the Kirumia. Key species include Red-billed, Black-wattled, Black-billed and White-crested Hornbills, African Piculet, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Nkurengu Rail, White-bellied, Dwarf, and Pygmy Kingfishers, Piping, White-thighed, Black and White-casqued, and African Pied Hornbills, Fire-crested Alethe, Red-bellied and Blue-billed Malimbe, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinches and others.



Main destination: Semuliki National Park
Accommodation: Raja Excelsior
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Rufous Bellied Heron



Day 12

Bigodi wetlands

We start after an early morning breakfast, check out the hotel, and bird on the way towards Kibale Forest area. Along the main road look out for yellow-backed weavers, lesser honeyguide, white-collared olive-back, little rush warbler, grey-capped warbler etc. We check in our lodge this morning and have a relaxed birding around the lodge. In the afternoon we bird to Bigodi wetland.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a community owned and managed nature reserve. A 4km trail has been created in the wetland adjacent to the forest. The habitat here consists of a swamp surrounded by low, scrubby secondary forest and cultivation. Key species include among others; White-spotted flufftail, Green-backed Twinspot, Cabanis's and Joyful Greenbuls, Scaly Illadopsis, Olive-green Camaroptera, white-winged warbler, white-chinned Prinia, Blue-shouldered Robinchat, Lesser honeyguide, Uganda Spotted and speckle-breasted Woodpecker.



Main destination: Bigodi wetlands
Accommodation: Chimpanzee Forest Guest House Mid-range cottage located outside Kibale National Park
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Northern Brown-throated Weaver



Day 13

Birding in the forest in the morning and morning Chimp tracking

After an early morning breakfast, we shall make an early start for the forest, where more than 330 rainforest species, including restricted range species have been recorded.

Kibale's specials include, among others: Green-breasted Pitta, African Crowned-Eagle, Afep Pigeon, Red-winged Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Superb sunbird, Narina Trogon, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Black Bee-eater, White-headed Wood Hoopoe, Green-throated Sunbird, African Pitta, African Broadbill, Willcock's honeyguide, Thick-billed Honeyguide, Joyful Greenbul, Honeyguide Greenbul, Black-and-white Flycatcher, Pink-footed Puffback, Chestnut-winged Starling, Green-headed sunbird, and Dark-backed Weaver

Chimp tracking on this day will be in the afternoon, for those who will be interested. You will have a whole morning birding and later in the afternoon, go look for chimps.



Main destination: Kibale Forest National Park
Accommodation: Chimpanzee Forest Guest House
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Winding Cisticola



Day 14

Travel Masindi Town (optional trip to Murchison Falls National Park will cost an extra $300 per person for a minimum of 4 people)

We wake up this morning; have breakfast and setoff for Budongo area. This is another long journey on a murrum road that may take the whole day with chances of birding on the way. Stopovers will be done at strategic points to provide opportunities for birding, stretching legs and enjoying our picnic lunch. Arrival in Masindi will be late this evening.



Main destination: Masindi
Accommodation: Kolping Hotel Masindi Mid-range hotel located in Masindi town
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included


Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) in the city center of Kampala photo by Martina Stolzi



Day 15

Whole day Birding the Royal Mile in Budongo Forest

We shall have an early morning breakfast, carry picnic lunch and drive to one of "Uganda's bird watching hotspots" , theRoyal Mile. This is historically known to have been a leisurely spot for the traditional King of Bunyoro, hence the name Royal Mile. Here the forest has been cut back a few metres along the sides of the main trail, which provides a good viewing area. Depending on how we shall be successful this morning, we may decide to spend the whole morning here and later in the afternoon bird to Busingiro section of the forest.

Key species include: Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, African dwarf Kingfisher, Chestnut-capped flycatcher, Crowned eagle, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow Longbill, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Forest Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Camaropera, Ituri Batis, Red-headed Bluebill, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Green Crombec, and Crested Malimbe.



Main destination: Budongo Forest Reserve
Accommodation: Kolping Hotel Masindi
Meals & drinks: All meals included.  Drinks not included



Blue-throated Roller



Day 16

Transfer to Entebbe Airport for your flight back home

Drive to Entebbe with limited birding on the way. There are chances of the Hartlaub's Marsh widowbird, Fan-tailed warbler, and the white-crested turaco.



Main destination: Entebbe International Airport
Accommodation: Lake Victoria View Guest HouseMid-range guest house located in or near Entebbe Airport
Meals & drinks: Breakfast & lunch (Dinner not included) Drinks not included



Lilac-breasted Roller




~ End of trip ~
Rates:
This tour can't be booked by solo travelers.
A travel party of 2 people can join this group tour, but it requires a minimum of 4 people to run.
Rates are per person and exclude the international flight from/to your home country.
Rates per person - Must be paid in United States Dollar (USD)


Departure dates 02 JUL 2017
2 people (1 room) $3,620
4 people (2 rooms) $2,777
5 people (3 rooms) $2,632
6 people (3 rooms) $2,475

Single room supplement $330


Included
- Park fees (for non-residents)
- All activities (unless labeled as optional)
- Meals (as specified in the day-by-day section)
- All accommodation (unless listed as upgrade)
- A day room at the end of the tour
- Roundtrip airport transfer
- A professional driver/guide
- All transportation (unless labeled as optional)
- All Taxes/VAT Excluded
- Government imposed increase of park fees and/or taxes
- Accommodation on the day before the tour departs
- International flights (from/to home)
- Gorillas and chimp tracking fees
- Tips (tipping guideline US$10.00 pp per day)
- Personal items (souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)
- Drinks

Itinerary changes
Although we shall do our best to adhere to the trip schedule, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control; including flight schedule changes or delays, health threats, local rebellions, participants logistical issues, weather, road or trail conditions etc. The right is reserved to substitute hotels, lodges or camps of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary where deemed necessary.

Trip cancellation and refund policy
When the traveler notifies us more than 45 days prior to the first day of any of our trips, 75% of the final payments will be refunded. With 30-45 days’ notice, one receives a 50% refund of the final payments of the tour. No refund can be made with less than 30 days’ notice. No partial refund can be given once a tour begins. We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance to protect your investment.

Note: we act as agents to accommodation owners and other services providers; thus in case of cancellation, the traveller is bound to be affected by the cancellation and refund policies of the respective service providers (example: non-refundable Gorilla Trekking Permit).

Travel insurance
We strongly recommend that you consider a plan to help protect your trip investment. Travel insurance helps to cover; unexpected events prior to departure causing the need to cancel or change your dates, weather events or local strikes causing interruption or changes to your itinerary, missed connections, delayed arrival, lost/delayed baggage and medical or evacuation coverage.

Weather
There are variations in weather due to the typically equatorial climate of Uganda. Part of our trip will take place in areas where the weather can change suddenly. Daytime temperatures average about eight to ten degrees warmer than nighttime temperatures in the Lake Victoria region, and temperatures are generally about fourteen degrees lower in the southwest. However, overcast conditions are frequent, particularly in the forest and mountain areas. Nights can be mild to warm, cooler at higher altitudes. Mean annual temperatures range from about 16° C in the southwestern highlands to 25° C in the northwest; but in the east and northeast, temperatures may exceed 30° C.
Many of the high-altitude areas (esp. Bwindi) we'll visit on this trip will be chilly (10-18°C / 50-65°F). The terrain is rugged and walkways can be very slippery.
You are advised to carry warm layered clothing, rain gear and heavy hiking shoes (jungle boots) to negotiate the slippery surfaces.

Those doing the Gorilla trek should be in reasonably good health because the activity is so challenging!

Accommodation
Accommodations on this trip are in the budget to midrange categories; and are clean, with spacious en-suite rooms with private hot-showers and toilets. The entire hotels, lodges and camps serve a wide selection of both local and international dishes, have well stocked bars and some have recreation facilities like fire place to help you relax after long journeys and long hours in the field. Most of them are strategically located in scenic and wilderness areas where you will have opportunities of hearing buzzes of insects and birds.

Clothing
Recommended for the field is light-weight, neutral-coloured clothing that can be easily rinsed out and quickly dries. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect you from insects, thorny plants, and sunburn. Shorts may be appropriate for some occasions; long pants that convert into shorts by unzipping the legs are generally very useful and popular. A sweater or jacket is useful for cooler nights and early mornings. You may consider bringing raingear, including a small umbrella.

Strong-soled shoes or hiking boots are essential, as we will spend a good amount of time on our feet. Dress is casual throughout. Laundry service will be available regularly during the tour (cost not included), which should help you in deciding what to pack. Making use of laundry service means you will not need to bring many items of clothing.

Alternatively, to lighten your load, you may consider bringing some clothes you have planned to discard. These can be worn on tour and left behind; they will be well received by local people we meet on the tour.

Currency
Ugandan currency is the Shilling; at the time of writing, the exchange rate is approximately 3200UgShs for US$1. Credit cards are not used in most hotels and lodges where we shall be staying. They are commonly used in a few shopping centres in the capital Kampala. ATM machines are available in most towns. You are advised to carry cash for personal expenses which can be exchanged upon arrival at the airport or while on safari. Or your visa ATM cards which can be used to access cash in local currency. We do that for the days we shall be in Kampala /Entebbe. Larger bills ($50 and $100) attract a significantly better rate of exchange than smaller. Any local currency can be changed back to US Dollars or your preferred local currency at the airport on departure. US Dollars cash notes MUST be dated 2006 or newer and must be in good condition.

Documents
A passport with a tourist visa valid for at least six months after your departure is required to enter Uganda as well as a yellow fever vaccination certificate. You may not be required to obtain the tourist visa for Uganda prior to your departure, as it can be obtained upon arrival at Entebbe Airport (cost at time of writing is $50).


It is very important that your passport, credit cards, traveler's cheques, and other valuables be on your body at all times. We caution against carrying these items in your backpack or purse as petty crime is inevitable. If you must leave your valuable items like Cameras, Jewelry etc., in the car or hotel, make sure your driver guide or hotel management is notified about the effect. We shall not take responsibility for any loss of such items whatsoever.

Equipment
As bird enthusiasts, you are encouraged to carry your own birding equipment if you are to get the best memories of your tour. Amongst the equipment you may need are; a good pair of binoculars, a spotting scope with its tripod. Other equipment include an alarm clock, a water flask or canteen, a flashlight, camera and its batteries, small backpack for carrying essentials on day activities, insect repellent and sunscreen. Please try as much as possible to minimize on the baggage.

Health
It is important to note that modern medical facilities and prescription drugs are not common in Uganda; apart from a few recommended hospitals in Ugandan major towns. Thus one should be in reasonably good health to consider this tour.

Although food hygiene and quality is excellent and we rarely experience any serious stomach problems, you may want to bring the remedy you prefer or is prescribed for an upset stomach. Moist toiletries are useful for keeping refreshed and clean during travelling and before packed lunches. If you are taking prescription medication or over-the-counter medicine, be sure to bring an ample supply that will allow you to get through the tour safely. Please consult your physician as necessary. Remember to pack all medication in your carry-on baggage, preferably in original containers or packaging. As airline baggage restrictions can change without warning, please check with your airline for procedures for packing medication.

Malaria is present, including the chloroquine-resistant strain; most areas are at risk. Malorone is the drug of choice in areas where chloroquine-resistant malaria is found. A single dose should be taken one week before the start of the tour, continued throughout the tour, and for four weeks after its conclusion. Malorone is available by prescription only, and may not be suitable for those using cardio-vascular medication; consult your physician.

As standard travel precautions, you should always be up to date with tetanus shots, and strongly consider inoculations against Hepatitis types A and B.

All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilized. Recommended is bottled water (we shall have enough in our car). It is also recommended that you only eat well-cooked meat and fish, served hot. Pork, salad, and mayonnaise may carry increased risk. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Community Support

Uganda Eco Tours and Voluntourism
As a way of giving back to the communities, Uganda Eco Tours in collaboration with World Community Development Programme (WCDP) and FAIR2.ORG run a programme that helps to support rural schools, local women groups, and vulnerable groups or communities. The support varies from the purpose of the visit, the community dynamics and the willingness by the traveller to be involved.

We normally encourage most of our clients whose visit may not be necessarily for the cause, but can however offer something to one of the schools, or community groups. A pen, pencil, an exercise book, old clothing, soccer balls, school bag, etc can make a change in the life a young school going kid in the rural areas. For more information, please visit: http://www.ecouganda.com/voluntourism-in-uganda

Other
Departure Tax – none
Electricity - 220-240 volt AC, with British type 13-amp 3-prong plugs.
Language - English is the official language and widely spoken.
Time – Uganda is 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Recommended Readings
For Birds
Stevenson, Terry and John Fanshawe. A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Academic Press, 2001
Ian Sinclair, Peter Ryan. Birds of Africa, south of the Sahara Second edition

Other
1. Kefa M. Otiso, Culture and Customs of Uganda (Culture and Customs of Africa) 2006. (Book Available at Amazon Sales)
2. Philip Briggs with Andrew Roberts (6th Edition). Uganda, the Bradt Travel Guide 2010. A good guide to travelling in Uganda
3. Finlay, Hugh, M. Fitzpatrick, M. Fletcher and N. Ray (5th Edition). East Africa Lonely Planet Publications. 2000. An excellent general reference work to travelling in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

4. Kingdon, Jonathan. The Kingdon Fieldguide to African Mammals Academic Press, 1999. This excellent book covers all of Africa's mammals. Larger mammals (squirrel size and larger) are covered to species level and smaller mammals to genus level. This is the recommended mammal book. The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (Princeton Pocket Guides) by Jonathan Kingdon, may also be helpful

5. Spawls, Stephen, Kim Howell, Robert C. Drewes and James Ashe. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa Academic Press, 2001. A superb and comprehensive but rather bulky guide to all the species of reptiles occurring in Uganda.

6. Dharani N. Field Guide to the Common Trees and Shrubs of East Africa Struik, 2002. A newly published guide to the more common trees and shrubs found in East Africa


Thanks for reading our itinerary, come join us. Happy birding.

Ross's Turaco Musophaga rossae
Ross's Turaco (Musophaga rossae) photo by Martina Stolzi



Ross's Turaco Musophaga rossae
Ross's Turaco (Musophaga rossae) photo by Martina Stolzi

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