|Uganda Birding Safari|
Thursday, 19 July 2018
Uganda has over 1,300 different bird species. The country's unique and conducive climate has favored both native and migrant bird species from other regions of the world especially Europe. So if you are planning a birding safari in Africa just get your binoculars ready and descend to Uganda, the Haven for birds and you will have the real birding experience. On reaching Uganda, you can visit any of these game parks depending on the bird species you would like to watch.
Birding in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the North eastern tip of Uganda and covers a land area of 1,442 Km sq. This area is semi-arid due to the dry winds that blow southwards from the Ethiopian highlands giving rise to semi desert scrubs, long and short grass and thorny bush type of vegetation. Kidepo with its wilderness climate and rivers such as Kidepo River has attracted numerous bird species with the figures reaching 475 recorded bird species both natives and migrants.
In this game park you can watch the Ostriches that are exciting flightless birds. The Ostrich is very fast running at a speed of 70 km/hr. They usually have height of 2-2.5 metres, the adult male can weigh up to 120kg and the female 100kg. These birds are usually silent but can make sounds in periods of mating. While there make sure you don't go near the eggs as the Ostrich can easily harm you with a kick. You can also watch other bird species like the Karamojong Apalis, African swallow tailed kite, Black headed Plover, yellow necked Spur fowl and many others. You can do game drives as you watch the cheetahs, hyenas, herds of Zebras and also visit the Karamojong community residing near Kidepo National Park.
Birding in Murchison Falls National Park.
This is Uganda's largest game park covering 3,840 km sq. and the section of the great Nile River called the Victoria Nile flows through this park with sparkling waters. It is boarded by Karuma game reserve to the south east, Bugungu game reserve in the south west, Lake Albert to the west and Pakwach to the North West. Murchison Falls National Park has 450 recorded bird species which can give you an interesting birding experience while on your Safari holiday in Uganda. This park happens to bare the world’s most powerful waterfall that are great for sightseeing adventures.
The Abyssinian Ground Horn bill is an interesting bird to spot out in this Murchison Falls Park. As the name suggests these birds majorly spend a lot of time on ground and walk for long distances looking for food. They only fly in case of danger from predators and also during mating. They usually live in groups and the adult males have larger wattles than the females. They have black feathered bodies and long eye lashes. Other bird species present includes Shoe bills, Bat Hawk, Red necked Falcon, Turacos among others. Gaze at the majestic herds of Giraffes as you drive through the park and you can also do Rhino tracking at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on your way back to Kampala city.
Birding in Semuliki National Park.
Semuliki National Park covers a total land area of 586 km sq. and it is located at the southern section of Lake Albert, a rift valley lake. The park is vastly covered by savanna grassland characterized by tall grasses and some wetlands near the Lake Albert. These together with the Semuliki River have made the park a haven for 350 bird species including the water birds. The Sempaya hot springs in the north east of the park are just amazing and good for sightseeing.
At this park one of the most endangered bird species is the prominent Shoebill. These birds live in pairs, male and female in the murky waters. They fly with retracted necks and the powerful wings enable them to dive in and get the prey. Adult Shoe bills can weigh more than 11 pounds, they are usually grey and white in color but the young juveniles are brown. Shoebills are sluggish in behavior, walk very slowly with their bills in water as they patiently wait for the prey to come their way. Apart from the Shoebills, Semuliki National Park also offers you African pygmy Goose, Red necked Falcon, Blue breasted Bee eater, Black billed Barbet, Quail Finch among other bird species for you to enjoy your birding safari. Don't miss out on interesting primates such as the Vervet monkeys, Red tailed monkey, black and white Columbus. All these and very many others will make your safari in Uganda amazing.
Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park lies within the western arm of the Great Rift Valley covering an area of 1,978 km sq. with lakes Edward and George. The park has 550 recorded bird species both migrants which usually come in February and March and the native species. The two lakes Edward and George have attracted water loving bird species like the African Skimmers. As the name seemingly suggests, African Skimmers feed in calm water skimming the surface with the flexible lower beak partially submerged and snap the small prey with accuracy. African Skimmers have long wings, white tail which is short forked while the legs are bright red. The beak is long orange and ends with a yellow tip and this make these birds so beautiful that your binoculars may not have to miss out. The Martial Eagle, Black bee eater, White winged Warner, Verreaux's Eagle owl, Papyrus Gonolek and many other bird species are available for your birding safari, all you need is time and binoculars. Being near the Kazinga channel, this park offers you boat rides across the channel as you watch hippos show casing their talent on water. Game drives are not to be left out as you will enjoy seeing the elephants, tree climbing lions, herd of giraffes and other wild game. To see the park from the air you can enjoy hot air ballooning which will give you good view of the two lakes Edward and George and the Kazinga channel joining them together. The Kyambura gorge at this park offers you an opportunity to track chimpanzees which is a rewarding experience.
Birding in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is really thick and impenetrable forest as the name may sound commonly famous for Mountain Gorilla Safaris. It covers a land area of 321 km sq. together with Ruhija and Buhoma regions which are the birding areas. The Buhoma area where the park headquarters are found lies in the valley of River Munyega, is a good birding haven for numerous Albertine Rift endemics such as the Alethe. They are found in forest interiors from altitudes of 700-2800 m above sea level and usually inhabit dense undergrowth and quiet trails in mornings and evenings or after a heavy rain. Alethes are medium sized forest thrushes which are brown above and pale grey or white below. They are fond of following ant worms and you will be able to hear series of whistling sounds as the Alethe follow the ant worms. Kivu ground Thrush, Montane masked Apalis, short tailed Warbler, yellow eyed black Flycatcher, and Collared Apalis among others are some of the Albertine Rift Endemics. Other bird species are found in the Ruhija area such as regal sun bird, Black faced Rufous Warbler and others. You can also track primates such as the Gorillas at Bwindi and do the Batwa community trail.
Birding in Kibale National Park.
Kibale National Park is located in the northern part of Lake George and it has been named a National Park since 1993. It covers an area of 560 km sq. and its forest nature has attracted over 335 recorded bird species that thrive in the luscious branches and leaves of the different tree species. The 77 percent of the forest cover gives an ultimate opportunity for nature walks as you feel the joy of spending your time with nature.
This park is famously known for Chimpanzee trekking Safaris and a suitable natural habitat protecting a large number of rain forest birds like the Masked Apalises. Both sexes have red eyes and adults have height of 11 cm. They usually move in pairs or in small families. Masked Apalises feed on beetles, small grasshoppers and other smaller insects. Other bird species in this park include: Red winged Francolins, Red chested Fluff tail, White napped Pigeon, Uganda woodland Warbler among others and this can give you a real birding experience. Kibale National Park also harbors greatest variety of primates like Black and White Colobus monkey, L’hoest’s monkey, Blue monkey, Grey cheeked Mangabey and Red tailed monkey, Bush baby and Potto.
Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park forms the Virunga region together with the Volcanoes of Rwanda and the Virunga of DRC. Mgahinga covers an area of 33 km sq. and its vegetation is basically montane making it a habitat ideal for birds and primates. The game park is well known for harboring primates especially Gorillas and Golden monkeys, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be your number one Gorilla Tracking Safari destination. The Golden monkey is another primate you can enjoyably track. Being a terrestrial rain forest, the park is a home to many bird species with the number reaching 115 recorded species that are suitable for your Birding Safari in Uganda. Species such as the Handsome Francolins are available. These birds have grey heads, red bill and legs, the iris is brown and the skin is red and orbital. They have a length of 35 cm and the male is slightly bigger than the female. Other bird species that can catch your eyes are; White tailed Blue Flycatcher, Alpine Chat, Malachite Sun bird, Kivu Ground Thrush, and Lagden’s Bush Shrike among others. You can also do the Batwa trail in this park where you will explore the livelihood of the pygmy community.
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is a convenient park for you to start your Birding safari in Uganda as it is a three hours’ drive from the Capital, Kampala. The park covers 260 km sq. the grasslands and papyrus swamps favor the co-habiting of both animals and bird species reaching 315. The lake in the park has attracted many water birds that seemingly appear on the wish list of many bird watchers. Lake Mburo National Park is well known for the charming African Fin foot, a water bird. The adult male has a thin white strip from the eye down to the side of the neck. The female has a dull brown head, white eye ring and throat. They are 65 cm in height and don't usually move in pairs. They are found in quiet lakes and rivers with over hanging vegetation on which they feed on. When they realize that people are watching them, they swim low and disappear in the hanging vegetation. Other bird species that you can watch include; Southern ground horn bill, Spot flanked, Red faced and black collared barbets, Brown chested plover, White winged warbler and many others. Lake Mburo also offers you exciting wild game such as the Impala, Topi, Bushbuck, Buffalo and the largest herd of Zebras which can make you appreciate the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.
Birding in Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park covers 1,145 km sq. and is found on the Elgon Mountain with a forest and bamboo stands. This type of montane vegetation has attracted bird species with the number reaching 300 recorded species including the Jackson's Francolin. This bird has a short small orange beak, black back with brownish wings. The brown chest with whitish spots makes this bird extremely gorgeous making your birding an interesting one. The park also offers you birds like the Eastern Bronze naped Pigeon, Red fronted Parrot, Grey chested Illadopsis, Black collared Apalis, and Purple throated Cuckoo shrike and many more so you can have a remarkable birding. While there you can also sight see the cascading Sipi falls in the Sebei region. The Bagisu community on the mountain slopes carry out circumcision while displaying the "Imbalu dance" which is an amazing traditional dance. Their traditional cuisine “Malewa" which consist of young bamboo shoots is just mouthwatering. Try it out as you go on your birding Safari on this game park.
Birding in Rwenzori Mountain National Park.
Rwenzori Mountain National Park is located in western Uganda and it is 996 km sq. in land area. Mountain vegetation is present here and it is a habitat to 195 recorded bird species which will make your birding safari in Uganda a rewarding experience. The Rwenzori Turco is present in this park. It is a mountainous bird which feeds on fruits and berries. It is 45 cm and fairly common in the heath. Albertine Rift Endemics the handsome Francolins, Archer's Robin Chat, Red throated Alethe, Strange Weavers and many others will make your birding in park amazing. The three horned Chameleon is an interesting animal you can see in the Rwenzori. You can hike the snow capped mountain and reach the Margherita peak which is 5,109 metres. The Rwenzori mountain trail will give you an interesting birding experience as you hike through different vegetation types such as bamboo, Heath and moorlands among others.
Apart from national parks, you can also have a birding safari in these areas as you have a city tour around Kampala;
Birding at Entebbe Botanical Gardens
These gardens are on the shores of Lake Victoria and are just a stone throw from Entebbe international Airport and can take you 10 minutes’ drive on a perfect tarmac road. As you jet in this can be your immediate litmus test of the birding safari in Uganda. Birds such as the Great Blue and Ross's turco, African fish eagle, wood land king Fisher, White casqued Hornbill will give you a "welcome to Uganda" birding experience.
Birding in Mabamba wetland
If you are a Shoebill bird watcher make a stopover at this wetland and have an experience of this amazing bird. A day trip to Mabamba wetland is quite amazing to encounter.
Thursday, 5 July 2018
LEOPARDS, THE RARE CAT
|Leopard in Murchison Falls NP|
The Leopard belongs to the cat family and is rarely found hence making it less studied. It is found in grasslands, mountains, bush land and forests. It’s pug mark spots and the thick white tipped tail makes it different from the Cheetah which is more slender.
Leopards usually have a deep rough cough which is repeated for 10-15 minutes. The sound is like a saw cutting wood and the male has a distinctly deeper voice than the female, 2-3 short coughs signify the beginning of an aggressive charge. The sawing call is meant to inform others of the leopard's presence in the defended territory and prevent others from trespassing that can ignite destructive territorial fights. Leopards are solitary animals and they inhabit and defend home steads which vary from 1 to 30 square km depending on the food that is available. Both sexes defend their own territories and usually annex territories from members of their own sex. Female territories tend to be smaller and several may surround one male territory. Males often scramble over space and mark trees and logs throughout their territory with claws just at the tree bark and then spray urine.
The gestation is about 100 days and females come on heat for a week every 20-50 days. Leopards are solitary breeders and the females attract males in the nearby territory with a sawing call. The honeymoon ends immediately after courtship and mating and the males leave and take no part in raising up the cubs. The young ones are born blind and therefore can't follow the mother until they are 8 weeks old. The cubs are hidden in solitary retreat such as caves and rock crevices and then weaned for 3 months after which they gain independence from the parents in 2 years’ time.
Leopards surprise and stealthy capture their prey. They also stalk their prey just like the Cheetahs and Lions but their tree climbing habit is an added advantage, they leap out of the tree onto the prey without much notice. They are carnivorous animals and feed on Antelopes, reptiles, warthogs, monkeys, large birds, rodents, jackals, serval's and primates with Baboons being their favorite.
Seeing the Leopards
Leopards being shy imply that sighting may be rare and if seen will be one of the precious moments you can ever have. However in Uganda, you can have chances of seeing Leopards in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This park also offers you a lot to scenery such as the tree climbing lions, hippos, crocodiles, bird species like the African skimmers, martial Eagles, black bee eater among others give you a real birding experience. Boat rides on Kazinga channel will make you relax and appreciate the beauty of this park. Game drives and hot air ballooning gives you an interesting experience on your safari to Uganda. Leopards can also be spotted in Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
Wednesday, 4 July 2018
THE SMART MOBILE AFRICAN BEASTS
|African Elephants in Queen Elizabeth NP|
Elephants have a very strong memory and are smart mammals in kingdom Animalia in their way of behavior. Their brains weigh about 5 kg (11Ib) and have a highly developed hippo-campus and cerebral cortex responsible for willpower and problem solving. They can remember their friends, family members and even enemies. The eldest elephant which usually leads the family can remember where water can be got if at all they dug a hole in a particular spot at one point of time. They lead the family to this water spot and also to areas of luscious palatable vegetation. Elephants grieve over the death of their family mate and even do the burying. They do this by scooping dirt using their trunks and tossing it over the dead animal branches are broken off from the tree and laid tenderly over the body until it's completely covered. If they come across already buried elephant, they stop and keep silent for a moment. Greeting friends and relatives is done by rubbing trunks against one another. Elephants don't easily forget their enemies and remember colors very well.
If you have ever been on an African safari probably a game drive, you must have wondered why the elephants show signs of charging after seeing a particular color of either a tourist van or clothes being put on by the humans near them. It is because they associate that specific color with past events that happened to a member of the family or friend. This could be killing or knocking dead the elephant and therefore revenge has to be taken by drawing nearer to the “perceived " tourist van or humans and then take action. So when the elephants show signs of charging by flapping their ears and stamping the ground, quickly run away with the guidance of the tour guide.
Elephants mark their territories by urinating or defecating on the desired areas.
Elephants are very huge mammals and therefore require a lot of food to produce sufficient energy for movement. The African bush elephant can weigh up to 6000 kg as compared to an Asian elephant that weights 5400 kg and African forest elephant that weights up to 2700 kg. An elephant eats up to 150-200 kg of vegetation a day. Water is very necessary for digestion and body cooling and the elephant drinks up to 15-20 gallons of water per day. On a hot day, elephants release heat from their bodies by flapping their ears. This increases blood supply around these areas and as a result the body is cooled down. Alternatively if near a water source, elephant’s splash water over their bodies by using their trunks. Elephants have a lifespan of 60 years if not endangered. When in Uganda, you can watch the African elephants at these national parks: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Semuliki National Park. Come and have a real experience with these magnificent mobile beasts whenever you plan your safari holiday in Africa.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Safari overview: With our 3 days wildlife safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park will see you visit one of the most popular park in Uganda. It’s famous for beautiful kazinga channel- home to abundance of wildlife, assortment of crater lakes, forested Gorges and Savannah plains. The tour will also take you to Kyambura gorge for spectacular chimpanzee trekking. Come with us for an exciting wildlife adventure and memorable holiday to Uganda.
Day 1: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park - Afternoon Kyambura Chimpanzee Trekking.
After breakfast you will be picked by your driver/guide ready to transfer you to queen Elizabeth national park for an afternoon chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge and during the trekking you may spot other primates like Vervet and black- and white colobus monkeys, the boldest of all are the baboons be sure to keep your car windows closed to avoid food theft. You will also be able to see some of the many birds found in the forest. Later check in at Either Mweya safari lodge or Kasenyi safari Camp (Luxury option) or Park view lodge or Enganzi game lodge Bush lodge and Ihamba safari lodge (Midrange lodges) or Lazy Camping at Bush lodge for ( Budget option) .Meal plan Lunch and dinner.
Day 2: Queen Elizabeth Morning Game Drive and afternoon Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise.
Leave the lodge after a cup of hot coffee for an early game drive for classic African safari experience the tracks through kasenyi area the North of kazinga plains in search for astonishing Hippos, Elephants, Buffalos thriving in its grasslands and shorelines. During the game drive we guarantee you sighting of some of the Africa’s most iconic species. Other common herbivores include warthogs, water bucks, Uganda Kob and Topi as well as the Sitatunga antelope. With an experienced guide in the early morning is the most successful way to track down a pride of lions and maybe even the odd leopard. Return to the lodge for lunch break and prepare for afternoon 2 hour Kazinga channel boat cruise will give you an opportunity to cruise just meters from Hundreds of enormous hippos and buffaloes while elephants linger on the shores of kazinga channel. During the boat cruise you will have chance to spot different species of birds. Back to the lodge early enough for dinner and overnight at either Mweya safari lodge or Kasenyi safari Camp (Luxury option) or Park view lodge or Enganzi game lodge Bush lodge and Ihamba safari lodge (Midrange lodges) or Lazy Camping at Bush lodge for ( Budget option) .Meal plan Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
Day 3: Queen Elizabeth Short Game drive and transfer back to Kampala.
After breakfast you will check out of the rooms and head to the park for yet another wildlife experience by doing short game drive before driving back to Kampala via Fort Portal with chances of viewing the Rwenzori Mountains, the beautiful banana plantations as your drive through fort portal and later drop off at your Hotel in Kampala or Entebbe international airport. Meal plan Breakfast and lunch.
Price Person range between
2 People - US$990 Luxury or US$820 Midrange or US$650 for Budget lodging options.
4 people - US$890 Luxury or US$665 Midrange or US$490 for Budget lodging options.
6 people - US$810 Luxury or US$610 Midrange or US$445 for Budget lodging options.
3 Days Queen Elizabeth Wildlife and Chimpanzee Safari includes;
· - Accommodation in shared Twin or double room with meals as specified in the trip plan,
· -Transportation in either safari land cruiser for Luxury optional safari and safari van for Midrange and Budget option,
· -Park entrance fees,
· -Two game drives,
· -Two hour kazinga channel boat cruise,
· - Chimpanzee trekking permit for each,
· -Services of experienced driver/guide,
· - 500mls of mineral water per day.
3 Days Queen Elizabeth Wildlife and Chimpanzee Safari excludes;
· - Local and international flights,
· - Personal Travel insurance
· - Visa Fees of $50
· - Drinks and Meals not mentioned in trip plan
· - Cigarettes
· - Staff tips
· - Souvenirs and all expenses of personal
Once, not so long ago, a forgotten land lay in the remote north-eastern corner of Uganda. Today, Kjong Safaris is bringing Kidepo Valley National Park back to life. Voted among the 10 Best national parks in Africa by CNN channel, Kidepo is a sight not to be missed. Let us introduce you to its magnificent landscapes and its unique fauna. This is the only national park in Uganda where cheetahs and ostriches can be found. On this trip, Kjong also offers you the opportunity to meet face-to-face with one of the most distinctive tribes of this country, the Karamajong, who share the same ethnic origin as the Pokot and Masai from Kenya, and after whom the Kjong company was named. Come and experience the fascinating terrain of Kidepo Valley National Park and embrace the traditions of the magical Karamajong people, true jewels of Uganda. Kidepo Valley Group Safari Day 1: Drive to Kitgum with a stop for lunch in Gulu Day 2: Drive to Kidepo Valley National Park Day 3: Full day game drive Day 4: Drive to Gulu Day 5: Drive to Kampala Rate for safari Price per person US$510 Camping in 2-person safari tent Minimum 4 people, maximum 8 people Online bookings receive US$80 discount Meal Provisions Day 2: breakfast and dinner Day 3: breakfast, lunch and dinner Day 4: breakfast All other meals are at the expense of the client. Not including personal expenses, entry visa to Uganda, meals not specified in itinerary, international airfares, medical and travel insurance Including 4x4 safari van, English-speaking guide/driver, accommodation as specified in itinerary, 24 hour ranger guide, all meals while in national park, all park entrance fees and activities listed in itinerary
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
· Ziwa rhino trekking
· game drive
· boat cruise
· Top of Murchison fall
· 4x4 safari vehicles, driver/guide and fuel
· Park entry fees, activities specified in the programme
· Accommodation-Fort Murchison lodge
· Meals as specified in the programme
· Bottled water in the car
· All items/services of personal nature, laundry, bar bill/drinks
· Personal insurance
· All phone calls
· Air fare, visa, insurance, water
· Driver/guide’s gratuity/tips
Price per person:
USD $ 610 / € 401
Minimum 4 person travelling.
Friday, 27 October 2017
we welcome this development and we also congratulate the people of Moroto and Karamoja in general for getting power to there area.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Karamoja connected to national power grid Karamoja
Safaris to Uganda
Kidepo Valley National Park
Karamoja connected to national power grid Karamoja
Safaris to Uganda