Uganda has been described as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ and was regarded as the most beautiful and potentially the richest country in East Africa. From the source of the White Nile on the huge papyrus-fringed Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Rwenzori Range, the luxuriant montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes, harbouring some of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas, to the extensive savannas around the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, Uganda is an equatorial country of substantial contrasts and variety. No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats and this richness is reflected in its incredible bird list of over 1085 species. Amongst these are many highly sought after birds, such as the unique Shoebill and numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley, that are currently impossible to find anywhere else. This huge list of birds and wildlife, is all the more remarkable given the small size of the country (approximately equal to Great Britain or the state of Oregon), making it probably the richest African birding destination.

Uganda straddles the equator and borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania. Straddling the Equator is the vast Queen Elizabeth national park boasting impressive Crater Lake scenery, expansive grasslands and forests; huge herds of Elephant and Buffalo, Lions, Leopards and a diverse array of birds. The famous boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes George and Edward, is one of the most productive birding excursions on the planet!

Uganda offers the true meaning of the “enriching Mountain Gorilla tracking experience”. Although the gorilla trek can be strenuous, staring into the eyes of a Mountain Gorilla from a few feet away is nothing short of a life-changing experience. A single Mountain Gorilla survives per 10 million people. Therefore, to have the opportunity to meet these gentle giants and be part of their family group for an hour is a rare privilege indeed, rated by many to be the greatest wildlife experience on the planet!


Introducing our newest birding and wildlife destinations recently added to our tour packages. Pian Upe and Matheniko wildlife reserves offer bird-rich experiences with species not commonly found in popular western Uganda. When combined with Kidepo Valley National Park, it creates a unique and highly regarded birding tour package in East Africa. Special birds to spot here include Stone Partridges, Fox’s Weaver, Karamoja Apalis, Yellow-spotted Petronia, and Red-fronted Tinkerbird.

Furthermore, we have included the lesser-known West-Nile region, featuring Ajai Game Reserve and Otzi Forest. This area is home to special birds of the Sahel Region, adding to the excitement for avid birders. In a Facebook post, renowned birding experts Dion Hobcroft and Davis Rukundo highly recommend exploring these hidden gems.

Dion Hobcroft June 2023

“From the 7-13 June I went on a bit of a scouting mission to the West Bank of the Nile River in north-west Uganda. I was with Rukundo Davis on an itinerary planned by Crammy Uganda Wanyama. Few people have visited this area that has seen decades of turmoil but it is peaceful now and it was a good chance to do something new. The main draw was to look for Dybowski’s Twinspot but unfortunately no luck with this at Mount Otce probably due to much rain and seeding grass.
Davis and I left and crossed Murchison National Park and headed north through Nebbi and spent two nights in Arua at the good Hotel Le Confidential! Next day we spent birding in Ajai Game Reserve that historically protected Northern White Rhinoceros. It was good birding here with Little Sparrowhawk, African Cuckoo Hawk, Black Scimitarbill, White Helmetshrike, Green-backed Eremomela, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Familiar Chat and Green-winged Pytilia all seen well. An Egyptian Mongoose and Side-striped Jackals were seen in the area.
Leaving Arua we headed north to Moyo. One area alive with termite dispersal events attracted dozens of birds of many species. Northern Yellow White-eye kicked in as did Glossy-mantled Drongo showing we were entering the Sahel Guinea forest zone. Good birds included Red-winged Pytilia and Heuglin’s Masked Weaver-this one a new bird for me! A rare Uganda sighting of White-throated Savanna Monitor that just sneaks into Uganda from South Sudan was another lifer. It too seemed attracted to the termites! Arriving in Moyo Hooded Vultures were seen over the town and thousands of Straw-coloured Fruit-bats roosted in the street trees. We checked into the Nasara Guest House.
We spent the next two and a half days birding Mount Otce and met the local government officers. It was great birding here although try my best I was a Big Dipper on the Dybowski’s Twinspot. A big highlight was a pair of Black-faced Firefinches-a real Uganda rarity. Another highlight was the presence of some giant-heavy-bodied “red-winged starlings”. Being unable to resolve the ID I messaged Crammy and he was of the ID as Neumann’s Starlings-a West African species unrecorded in East Africa. We only saw one pair closely and the light was not great and did not bother to photograph but I think he is 100% on the money with the ID. Others will have to follow it up.
There were plenty of Bruce’s Green-Pigeons, White-crested Turacos, a Lappet-faced Vulture, more Little Sparrowhawks, plenty of Red-headed Lovebirds, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Western Violet-backed Sunbird with Black-bellied Firefinch quite common. Local officer Moses said Caracals were known to attack goats. All up we had about 90 sp. of woodland birds at Otce. It was lively.
We then headed south to Gulu recrossing the Nile. I had one extra day up my sleeve and went to Mabira Forest and birder with my friend Ibrahim. We had a great day after the rain eased off seeing a good 60 sp. in the forest here-my biggest highlight being able to get a great view of the skulking Yellow Longbill. We were surprised to find Zebra Mice in the forest edge (I have taken an internet image to show how cute they are). At night I went spotlighting and found Thomas’s Galago and Emin’s Pouched Rat. An African Wood Owl followed me around! Moses later messaged me and said he had found the Dybowski’s Twinspot so looks like I will need to get back there!”

Join us on these extraordinary birding expeditions, immersing yourself in the diverse and captivating avian world of Uganda. Our experienced guides and carefully crafted itineraries ensure an unforgettable birding and wildlife adventure, allowing you to discover hidden treasures and expand your birding checklist in these remarkable and lesser-explored destinations.

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