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35 Days Grand Uganda Safari – Birding, Wildlife and Cultural Journey

The 35-Day Explore Uganda Safari is an exceptional extended holiday offering you a lifetime opportunity to visit 8 (eight) National Parks, plus some Reserves in Uganda and the country’s most Important Birding Areas (IBAs).

You will have a combination of primate encounters, a Uganda birding safari experience, nature walks, cultural experiences, and big game safaris.

Full 35 Days Uganda Safari Itinerary

Full 35 Days Uganda Safari Itinerary
The Turaco Bird, Uganda

Day 1: Transfer to a Hotel

You will be welcomed to the Pearl of Africa and driven to the pre-booked hotel property for dinner and an overnight stay in Kampala/Entebbe.

Day 2: Entebbe to Mabira Forest (Birding Expedition)

Leave the hotel and head to Mabira Forest, located between two cities, Jinja and Kampala.

It stretches on the edge of Najjembe Trading Centre and hosts about 312 species of trees, 218 butterflies, and 315 bird species.

The full-day birding expedition in Mabira allows you to come across a diversity of birds, including the yellow-billed barbets, scaly francolins, red-headed bluebill, Narina trogon, forest robin, spot-flanked barbet, Cassin’s honey guide, little greenbul, red-capped robin chat, buff-spotted woodpeckers, grey-green bush-shrike, and others.

Day 3: Mabira-Sipi Falls

After an early morning breakfast, depart Mabira for Sipi Falls.

En-route, enjoy the scenic view of the extensive sugarcane and tea plantations and cross the new bridge while viewing the Nile River.

Arrive early and embark on a hike to the triple Sipi waterfalls, ranging in their varying altitudes: 85, 65, and 100 meters.

Day 4: Sipi-Pian-Upe

After breakfast, check out of the lodge in the Sipi Area and drive to Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve in Northeastern Uganda.

This is the largest protected area in Uganda, covering a land area of 2043 sq.km.

Day 5: Explore Pian-Upe (Full-Day)

Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and then set off for a full day of wildlife and birding tours in Pian-Upe.

Expect to observe a myriad of wildlife, including antelopes, giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, and birds like Abyssinian ground hornbills, ostriches, secretary birds, and more.

Day 6: Pian-Upe to Amudat

Depart from Pian-Upe to Amudat, located at the border with Moroto district.

In Amudat, you will be exploring unique birds of Somali-Masai biomes and Sudan Guinea savanna biome species.

Days 7-8: Explore Birds in Amudat

After breakfast, start your birding expedition in Amudat to identify a diversity of semi-arid species that survive only in the Karamoja area.

The expected species of birds to sight include Dark chanting goshawk, purple grenadiers, red-billed hornbill, Eastern paradise whydah, Karamoja apalis, sunbirds, grey-headed silverbill, and others.

Day 9: Amudat-Kidepo Valley NP

Depart from Amudat for a game viewing safari. Located in Northeastern Uganda, Kidepo National Park contains a huge profusion of mammals, about 77 plus 475 bird species, and other species.

Day 10: Kidepo NP Bird Watching

Have breakfast and then set off for a full-day birding expedition in Kidepo N.P.

This park alone holds up to 475 species of birds, including violet-tipped courser, pygmy falcon, eastern pale chanting goshawk, white-bellied go-away bird, four-banded sand grouse, yellow-necked spur fowl, secretary bird, rose-ringed parakeet, black-headed plovers, and more.

Day 11: Full-Day Game Drive (Kidepo)

Leave the lodge for a long day game drive in Kidepo’s rich wildlife track – the Narus Valley.

Expect to see a variety of mammals, including elephants, buffaloes, cheetahs, leopards, lions, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and birds.

For birdwatching, you will also explore Namamukweny Valley to spot birds such as Abyssinian ground hornbills, Abyssinian rollers, clapperton’s francolins, purple herons, and others.

Day 12: Game Drive & Kanangorok Hot Springs

Set off after breakfast to explore more wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park, including zebras, caracals, elands, roan antelopes, and birds.

You will then visit Kanangorok hot spring to learn more about it, and later, return for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 13: Kidepo-Murchison Falls National Park

Enjoy an early morning breakfast, then leave Kidepo NP for Murchison Falls NP in Northwestern Uganda.

This is Uganda’s biggest park, home to over 451 bird species, 76 mammal species, including many primates like 800 chimpanzees.

You will check in at a classic lodge for relaxation and an overnight stay inside the park.

Day 14: Game Drive & Boat Cruise (Full-Day Tour)

Drive through the Northern tracks for the 6:00 am game drive, using a 4×4 tourist car with a pop-up roof.

This will allow you to enjoy an excellent view of animals such as giraffes, warthogs, cape buffaloes, lions, elephants, leopards, Uganda Kobs, oribis, hartebeests, and birds.

After the first phase of your expedition, enjoy a leisurely lunch, and at 2:00 pm, report at the Paraa Jetty for a boat cruise.

The 2-3 hour launch cruise excursion takes you along the Victoria Nile, which separates the park into two sections: Southern and Northern parts.

The afternoon excursion comes with sightings of aquatic life, especially hippos, Nile crocodiles, and water birds.

Day 15: The Delta Boat Cruise & Evening Game Drive

Enjoy breakfast and then set out for another remarkable launch cruise, heading towards the Nile delta.

You will spot some animal species and birds, including the grey crowned cranes, shoebill storks, and more.

Return for relaxation and later, meet the driver guide to enjoy an evening game drive that allows you to see a variety of animal species, including nocturnal species as they become active.

Day 16: Top of the Falls & Budongo Forest (Birding)

Depart the Northern sector and drive to the top of Murchison Falls, the world’s powerful waterfall.

Observe this natural wonder as it forces itself into a narrow rock measuring about 8 meters and plunging about 43 meters before flowing into the Albertine Nile.

After photography at the falls, drive to Budongo Forest, check in at the lodge, and later, embark on an afternoon birding tour in the Royal Mile.

The birds you can expect to sight include white-spotted flufftail, Cassin’s spine-tails, grey-headed sunbird, Jameson’s wattle-eye, blue-throated roller, yellow-browed camaroptera, chestnut-capped flycatcher, crowned eagle, Cameroon sombre greenbul, Ituri batis, and little green sunbird.

Day 17: Birding Excursion (Budongo)

After breakfast, set off for another birding session in Budongo Forest Reserve.

Expect to identify more birds, including the yellow-footed flycatcher and Puvel’s illadopsis.

Day 18: Budongo-Kibale National Park (Western Uganda)

After a hot cup of tea/coffee, depart from Budongo for Kibale NP, another rich primate and birding location.

This park is home to 13 primates, 375 bird species, over 200 butterflies, and 70 mammal species.

You will have a relaxed evening until the next day when you will engage in exciting activities.

Day 19: Chimpanzee Trekking & Swamp Walk

After breakfast, proceed to Kanyanchu for a briefing about chimpanzee tracking rules.

This will be carried out by Kibale NP officials.

Park guides will lead each sub-group of 6 visitors during the actual chimpanzee trek, which will begin at 8:00 am and last for 2-4 hours, including one hour of a close encounter.

Return to the lodge for a leisurely lunch, and in the afternoon, visit Bigodi Wetland for a swamp walk/nature walk.

More primates, birds, floral species, as well as butterflies, will be spotted along this wetland.

Day 20: Birding/Chimpanzee Habituation

You will set off for a birding tour to search for the green-breasted pitta and plenty of other endemic bird species in Kibale Forest, or you can embark on a full-day chimpanzee habituation experience to explore in-depth the daily behavior of chimpanzees in the wild.

Day 21: Kibale-Semuliki (Birding Trip)

Semuliki NP is one of the underrated destinations in Uganda, and this trip offers you a chance to uncover its hidden treasures.

The park holds a variety of Congo-biome species, as it is home to the Ituri Forest.

Day 22: Semuliki NP Bird Watching

Over 441 bird species have been recorded in Semuliki, and today’s birding excursion allows you to keep an eye on a variety of birds.

These include chestnut-flanked goshawk, spot-breasted ibis, white-bellied and African dwarf kingfishers, African piculet, eastern bearded greenbul, green-tailed bristlebill, red-rumped tinkerbird, black-wattled hornbills, black-collared lovebird, shoebill stork, red-bellied malimbe, black-winged starling, grey-ground thrushes, brown-crowned eremomela, and others.

Day 23: Semuliki-Queen Elizabeth NP (Big Game Tour)

Enjoy a short birding tour to sight more avifaunal species in Semuliki and after, depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park.

In Queen Elizabeth NP, you will view several mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Day 24: Game Drive Kasenyi Plains & Kazinga Boat Cruise

Drive through Kasenyi plains, the rich game track located in the Northern side of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This area allows you to see animal species such as elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, warthogs, lions, spotted hyenas, and birds.

Drive back for lunch at the lodge, relax, and then go for a boat cruise along Kazinga Channel.

This natural channel presents you with a chance to observe aquatic birds, hippos, and crocodiles.

Day 25: Go Birding (Maramagambo Forest)

After breakfast, you will leave for Maramagambo Forest, where your focus will be on birding.

This extensive natural forest holds a number of forest birds that you will be spotting.

The expected birds to come across on a birding tour here include pygmy kingfishers, Rwenzori turacos, black-rumped buttonquail, papyrus canary, Verreaux’s eagles, corncrakes, Chapin’s flycatchers, and more.

Day 26: Kyambura Gorge & Bwindi

After breakfast, embark on a birding tour in Kyambura (birds to identify include red-chested sunbird, Northern brown throated weavers, black bee-eaters) or chimpanzee tracking.

After your exploration in Kyambura Gorge, a natural gorge with a depth of 100 meters, drive to Bwindi through the Ishasha sector with expectations to see tree-climbing lions.

In Bwindi, there are 11 primates, 200 butterfly species, 360 bird species, and 1000 flowering plant species, etc.

Day 27: Gorilla Trekking & Batwa Visit

Wake up early for breakfast and leave the lodge fully prepared for the long-day gorilla trekking excursion in Buhoma sector.

This is the Northern gorilla trekking region with 4 gorilla families (Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, and Katwe), but only one will be visited today.

After enjoying 1 hour face-to-face with a mountain gorilla family, taking pictures, walk back to the lodge for relaxation before you visit the Batwa community for evening cultural entertainment and to learn more about their cultures.

Day 28: Birding Excursion (Ruhija)

After breakfast, depart Buhoma for Ruhija in the eastern side, where birding will be done.

This sector is blessed with a variety of birds, including brown-capped warblers, montane oriole, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, grey-headed sparrow, Doherty’s bush-shrike, Rwenzori nightjars, and others.

Day 29: Transfer to Mgahinga N/P (Golden Monkey Tour)

Have breakfast at leisure, and then set off for Kisoro to check in at the lodge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

You may have a brief stop at Echuya Forest for birding, where there are 150 bird species, including the grauer’s swamp warblers, white-napped raven, Dusky crimson wings, purple breasted sunbird, Rwenzori batis, etc.

Day 30: Golden Monkey Tracking

After breakfast, gather at Ntebeko for a briefing about golden monkey tracking regulations.

The trek to see golden monkeys in Mgahinga begins at 8:00 am, taking you about 2-4 hours, and you will be guaranteed one hour for taking photos and observing the behavior of these beautiful primates.

Return and have a relaxed evening at the lodge.

Day 31: Mgahinga-Lake Mburo National Park

Start your long day drive from Mgahinga NP to Lake Mburo National Park.

This park is found in Western Uganda and supports 350 bird species, mammals such as elands, impalas, zebras, buffaloes, hippos, waterbucks, giraffes, reedbucks, hyenas, leopards, and more.

Day 32: Game Drive & Boat Cruise Expedition

After an early breakfast, you will begin your game drive to see a variety of Lake Mburo National Park wildlife.

In a 4×4 safari car with a pop-up roof, expect to see giraffes, hyenas, buffaloes, impalas, elands, topis, reedbucks, waterbucks, leopards, and plenty of birds.

Drive back to the lodge for a leisurely lunch meal and later, go for a boat cruise along Lake Mburo to view hippos, crocodiles, and aquatic birds (such as pelicans, fish eagles, black crakes, herons, & finfoot).

Day 33: Horseback Riding/Cycling & Depart for Kampala/Entebbe

Get up early to enjoy breakfast, and later, set off for a horseback ride/cycling excursion or straight away start your drive back to Kampala/Entebbe after breakfast.

En-route, make a stopover at the Equator crossing to take photos and relax.

Day 34: Birding in Mabamba Swamp

After breakfast, embark on a long day birding excursion in Mabamba wetland.

This swamp is rich in aquatic birds and is an excellent birding spot to find shoebill storks, African jacanas, swamp flycatchers, common squacco herons, blue swallows, malachite kingfishers, papyrus gonoleks, and others.

Day 35: Departure

Today, being the last day, you may choose an activity, for instance, visiting the Botanical Gardens – the oldest and the only national botanical garden that Uganda has.

It is a rich birding spot to see plenty of eastern grey plantain-eaters, yellow-billed storks, African open-billed storks, black and white casqued hornbills, kingfishers, gull-billed terns, weaver birds, and others.

This marks the end of your 35 Days safari.

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