This impressive gorilla tracking and birding tour takes you to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in southwestern Uganda. Forest birding in this part of the country ranks the best in the country as it is home to over 23 highly-localized Albertine Rift endemic species. You will also have the chance to meet awesome gorillas and experience the Uganda equator along the way. This trip will definitely be an interesting and memorable one.
You will be accommodated either in single, double, or triple rooms. For the first night, you will be staying either at the Kisoro Travellers Hotel or Kisoro Tourist Hotel. For the second night, you will be staying at the Kisoro Travellers Hotel. From the third until the seventh night, you will be staying either at the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge, or Buhoma Homestead. For the eighth and final night, you will be staying either at the Windsor Hotel or Sophie’s Motel in Entebbe.
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport (EBB), you will be met by a birding guide with whom you will travel to the town of Kisoro in the southwestern tip of the country. You will have a stopover at the Uganda equator and proceed to Mbarara before heading further down to Kisoro, where you will have dinner and an overnight stay. You will spend the night at Kisoro Travellers Hotel or Kisoro Tourist Hotel.
After breakfast, you will head over to Ntebeko Camp in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where you will start a trek to probably the most scenic and protected area in Uganda. You will take the gorge trail that loops half way up Mount Sabyinyo and pass through a variety of mountain habitats looking for birds like the dusky turtle dove, Rwenzori turaco, Cape robin-chat, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, grassland pipit, and many more. You will spend the night at Kisoro Travellers Hotel.
On the way to the village of Ruhija, you will do birdwatching through the Echuya Central Forest Reserve, with a stop at a spent papyrus swamp on the outflow of Lake Bunyonyi to look for greater swamp warbler, papyrus yellow warbler, and papyrus canary. These birds are elusive and so a little bit of luck is needed. You will also look for Carruther’s cisticolas and little rush warblers. The drive will continue to Ruhija to look for birds including the handsome francolin, olive pigeon, western green tinkerbird, and more. You will spend the night at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge, or Buhoma Homestead.
After breakfast, you will walk down to the Mubwindi swamp looking for birds like the black-billed turaco, western green tinkerbird, fine-banded woodpecker, African green broadbill, mountain greenbul, yellow-streaked greenbul, African hill babbler, mountain illadopsis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, red-faced woodland warbler, Grauer’s warbler, Grauer’s rush warbler, and much more. You will spend the night at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge, or Buhoma Homestead.
You will be on a birding drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search for birds including the tambourine dove, black bee-eater, red-throated wryneck, mountain wagtail, Toro olive greenbul, white-starred robin, olive thrush, Cassin’s grey flycatcher, red-faced woodland warbler, Grauer’s warbler, Chubb’s cisticola, banded prinia, mountain masked apalis, and many more. You will spend the night at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge, or Buhoma Homestead.
After an early breakfast, you will start birding the main trail in search for species like the African goshawk, bar-tailed trogon, black bee-eater, white-headed wood-hoopoe, tinkerbirds, barbets, woodpeckers, African broadbill, assorted greenbuls, white-bellied robin-Chat, red-throated alethe, Chapin’s flycatcher, red-faced woodland warbler, black-faced rufous warbler, and many more.You will spend the night at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge, or Buhoma Homestead.
After an early breakfast, you will set off for gorilla tracking to meet the amazing mountain gorillas. For those who prefer to continue birding, you will have an early breakfast and start birding the waterfall trail to look for species that may have been missed and, perhaps, to get better views of the ones you've seen from the previous day. You will be looking for birds like the red-chested owlet, black bee-eater, African broadbill, and white-tailed crested flycatcher. If you're lucky, you will be able to spot the Fraser’s eagle-owl. You will spend the night at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Uganda, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Lodge, or Buhoma Homestead.
It will take you a whole day to drive to Kampala, arriving in the late afternoon. On the way, you will stop at Kaaku swamp for more birds including the rufous-bellied heron, Hottentot teal, purple swamp hen, lilac-breasted roller, striped kingfisher, and golden-backed weaver. You will then continue with the drive to Entebbe for an overnight stay. Overnight will be at Windsor Hotel or Sophie’s Motel.
You will be transferred to Entebbe International Airport (EBB) for your flight back home.
The African mountain gorillas in Uganda are one of the main attractions to visitors of the country. Mountain gorilla tracking (trekking) permits are a much sought after commodity and with a small number of people allowed to track each day, it takes a lot of planning to ensure an opportunity of the tracking of mountain gorillas in Uganda. Since the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is unstable presently, there is more pressure on mountain gorilla tracking permits in Uganda. Fortunately, there is also Rwanda that is just a hop across the border from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and, at times, the Mgahinga Gorilla Park area.
Saso Uganda Safaris can help you acquire and track a Uganda gorilla tracking permit even if you are coming from Rwanda, and also arrange transportation.Your best bet for obtaining a mountain gorilla tracking permit is to book a mountain gorilla tracking safari with Saso Uganda Safaris as a three-day safari or as part of a longer safari taking place in other Uganda national parks such as the Chimpanzees at Kibale, and the wildlife, birds, and chimpanzees at Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The mountain gorilla trekking permits costs 600 USD each. You must be at least 15 years of age. Permits can be obtained for two different parks which are Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. However, the situation in Mgahinga is a bit more fluid since the habituated mountain gorilla group there moves back and forth to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Since Saso Uganda Safaris is a tour operator and registered as such in Uganda, they have a better opportunity to meet your schedule and, if you book a mountain gorilla tracking safari with them, they are flexible to adjust the date of the gorilla tracking to fit into the overall safari itinerary they have for you. Most people going on a mountain gorilla tracking safari actually see them, since your guide is extremely knowledgeable about the area where your habituated group is located in.
Upon completion of your successful tracking safari, you will be issued a certificate by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The 600 USD may seem steep, but it’s worth it and upon completion, there will be no mention of the money - only a satisfaction of having seen these magnificent and rare animals.
This forest lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically-diverse rain forests, which dates back to over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. Also, more famously, it protects an estimated 320 mountain gorillas, which is roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated gorilla groups which can be tracked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemic species.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas, and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls, and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa pygmy cultures through performances, workshops, and village walks.
This national park is yet another haven for the persecuted mountain gorilla. Located on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda, the park has been set aside to provide a secure habitat for gorillas. It sits high in the clouds at an altitude of between 2,227 and 4,127 meters. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
As well as being important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular, to the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s first people, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivaled.
Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical, extinct volcanoes which are part of the spectacular Virunga mountain range that lies along the border regions of Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda. It forms part of the much larger Virunga conservation area which includes adjacent parks in these countries. The volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.
All daily meals, starting with dinner on the first night until dinner on the final night, are included in the price of this retreat.
Please book your flight to arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Transfer from and to the airport is included. The organizer will pick you up from the airport.