The Chimpanzees in the Kibale Forest can be intimidating at times, intriguing at others. This great image was taken there by Francesco Veronesi.
The magnificent silverback Mwirima of the Rushegura group sitting in the sunshine, not something he did very often, at Bwindi in 2005, by Alice Perry (Mwirima died in 2014).
Shoebill at Mabamba in Uganda by Francesco Veronesi.
A rare and shy Green-breasted Pitta in Kibale Forest in July 2019 by Chris Townend.
Nahan’s Francolin (Partridge), Shoebill, Brown-chested Lapwing (mostly late July-Dec), Rwenzori (Montane) Nightjar, Green-breasted Pitta (mostly Jul-Sep), Ituri Batis, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Kakamega Greenbul, White-winged Swamp Warbler, Black-lored Babbler, Puvel's Illadopsis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Grey-headed Sunbird, Northern Brown-throated, Fox's (endemic) and Weyns’s Weavers, and Jameson’s Antpecker. Also a chance of Nkulengu Rail and Blue Swallow (mostly May-Sep).
Albertine Rift Endemics
Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Dwarf Honeyguide, African Green (Grauer's) Broadbill, Rwenzori Batis, Willard's (Mountain) Sooty Boubou, Red-throated Alethe, Archer's Robin Chat, Black-faced (Banded) Prinia, Grauer's, Grauer's Swamp, Red-faced Woodland and Short-tailed (Neumann's) Warblers, Black-faced (Mountain Masked) and Collared (Ruwenzori) Apalises, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Tit, Blue-headed, Purple-breasted, Regal and Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbirds, Strange Weaver, Kandt's (Black-headed) Waxbill and Dusky Crimsonwing. Also a chance of Shelley's Crimsonwing.
African Pygmy Goose, Pink-backed Pelican, Hamerkop, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, African Darter, vultures, African Fish Eagle, African Crowned and Martial Eagles, African Finfoot, African Crake, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied and Denham's Bustards, African and Lesser Jacanas, Temminck's Courser, Rock Pratincole, African Skimmer, Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Pennant-winged (mostly May-Aug) and Standard-winged (mostly Sep-Apr) Nightjars, Grey Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, cuckoos including African Emerald and Dusky Long-tailed, mousebirds, Black-billed, Great Blue and White-crested Turacos, Bar-tailed and Narina Trogons, kingfishers including Blue-breasted, Chocolate-backed and Giant, bee-eaters including Black, Blue-breasted, Cinnamon-chested, Madagascar (mostly Apr-Sep), Red-throated and Swallow-tailed, Blue-throated and Lilac-breasted Rollers, Forest and White-headed Woodhoopoes, hornbills including White-crested and White-thighed, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, barbets including Red-faced, Vanga (Black-and-white Shrike) Flycatcher, Black-headed and Papyrus Gonoleks, Bocage's, Doherty's, Four-coloured, Luhder's and Sulphur-breasted Bushshrikes, African and Red-bellied Paradise Flycatchers, Piapiac, greenbuls, apalises including Black-throated, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Silverbird, White-starred Robin, alethes, robin chats, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, starlings including Purple and Splendid, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, sunbirds, weavers, malimbes, Brown and Dusky Twinspots, Red-headed Bluebill and Black-bellied Seedcracker. Also a chance of White-backed Night Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Dwarf Bittern, Red-chested and White-spotted Flufftails, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Jameson's Wattle-eye and Grey Ground Thrush.
(Mountain) Gorilla, Chimpanzee, (Eastern) Black-and-white Colobus Monkey, Lion, African Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyaena, Burchell's Zebra, African Buffalo, Olive Baboon, (Eastern/Uganda) Red Colobus, Uganda Crested Mangabey and Dent's, Gentle (Blue), L'Hoest's, Patas and Red-tailed Monkeys, Giant Forest Hog, Eland, (Uganda) Kob, Bushbuck, Klipspringer, Oribi, Waterbuck, Impala, (Uganda) Topi, (Llewel) Hartebeest, Black-fronted Duiker and galagos. Also a chance of Leopard and Blotched Genet.
Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
River Nile The longest river in the world runs from Burundi through Lake Victoria, Uganda, Sudan (where it is joined, at Khartoum, by the Blue Nile which springs from Lake Tana in Ethiopia) and Egypt to the Mediterranean for 6695 km (4160 miles), draining about a tenth of the African continent in the process. Some scientists believe that the River Amazon is longer but most agree that it is 180 km (110 miles) shorter than the Nile at 6515 km (4050 miles).
A fine image of a Chocolate-backed Kingfisher along the Royal Mile by Chris Townend.
Brown-chested Lapwing at Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda by Francesco Veronesi.
Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Shoebills and African Green Broadbills may be seen all year round but are best looked for during the two dry seasons which usually last from December to February/March and from June to August/September. If other birds are important too and especially the very rare and elusive Green-breasted Pitta then the peak time to visit is July-August when this species usually sings the most and is therefore relatively easier to locate, although there may be several bird tour groups looking for it at peak time. Once nesting is under way it is present until at least September but much quieter. Late July-August also happens to coincide with the presence of Brown-chested Lapwing, another very rare and localized bird.
Temperatures are more or less the same all year round throughout lowland Uganda, with an average of about 21°C to 31°C during the day and about 16°C at night. In the highlands temperatures may fall as low as 10°C and it is much wetter there.
Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa by T Stevenson and J Fanshawe. Helm, due 2020 (Second Edition).
Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).
Where to Watch Birds in Uganda by J Roussow and M Sacchi. Uganda Tourist Board, 1998.
The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).
The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).
Bradt Travel Guides: East African Wildlife by P Briggs. Bradt, 2015 (Second Edition).
Watching Wildlife: East Africa by M D Firestone et al. Lonely Planet, 2009 (Second Edition).
The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.
Audubon African Wildlife.
eGuide to Birds of East Africa.
Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.
Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.
Many trip reports, some for Uganda, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Uganda. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Uganda' below.
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.
Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Uganda include the following. Check to see if Gorilla Tracking Permits (US$500 and rising) are included in the price.