Tailored Safari Specialists

4-Night Green-breasted Pitta and Shoebill Quest


Mabamba Swamp and Kibale National Park, Uganda

from $1,150 per person sharing

Bird-watching

Gorilla and chimp trekking

4-Night Green-breasted Pitta and Shoebill Quest

Indication Price (from): $1,150 per person sharing * View all prices.
Length: 4 nights / 5 days (depending on departing flights)
Group Size: 1 - 6 guests
Location: Mabamba Swamp and Kibale National Park, Uganda
Departure Dates: To suit you
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INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

We do not charge you for our services. We generate revenue from our lodge suppliers, based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Stuck for a few days in Kampala or Entebbe, and looking for an adventure? Well look for further, because we have designed a short safari targeting shoebill storks and green-breasted pittas – two of Uganda’s mega-tick birds.

This 5-day package won’t break the bank, and can be modified to suit your dates and requirements.

Although our focus will be on shoebills and pittas, you will also rack up many other stonkingly good-looking birds, such as blue swallow, black bee-eater, papyrus gonolek, afep pigeon, white-naped pigeon, red-chested owlet, white-headed wood hoopoe, blue-throated roller, purple-headed starling, superb and green-headed sunbirds, chestnut wattle-eye, white-collared oliveback, yellow-mantled weaver – to mention a few.

And, of course, you may even bump into chimpanzees or the cryptic potto while birding the forests of Kibale National Park.

Read this travel dairy of the quest to find green-breasted pitta with your guide for this safari, Harriet Kemigisha.

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Detailed Itinerary

Arrive in Entebbe, where you will be met by an Africa Geographic representative and transferred to the nearby Lake Victoria View Guesthouse. After checking into your room, grab your binoculars, because your guide will take you to the nearby Entebbe Botanical Gardens – a lakeside paradise of blooms, lush vegetation, gnarled old trees native to Uganda and troops of stunning pied colobus monkeys. Expect to kick-start that lifer list with many avian jewels that call the gardens home.

Right at the entrance in the tall trees one usually finds a pair of Verreaux’s eagle owls. Closer to the water’s edge the key birds to see are orange-tufted and red-chested sunbird, as well as orange weaver. The latter breed in the bushes on the shores of the lake along with slender-billed, northern brown–throated, yellow backed, Jackson’s golden–backed, black-headed and Vieillot’s black weavers. Along the lakes’ edge one can find long-tailed cormorant, common squacco and black-headed herons, hamerkop, African open-billed stork, grey-headed gull, various terns, giant and pied kingfishers, and swamp flycatcher. Collared pratincoles are often present and the stunning black headed gonolek and red- chested sunbird occur in the dense scrub covering the headland.

In the evening your guide will join you for dinner, and explain the plan of action for tomorrow’s assault on Mabamba Swamp in search of shoebill.

Dinner and overnight in Entebbe.
The Mabamba Swamp is a short drive from Entebbe, and one of the most reliable places to view shoebill, the most sought after bird in Africa.

Mabamba Swamp is a large marshland crisscrossed by many channels that provide the perfect habitat for countless waterbirds besides shoebill. Here, other marsh species such as swamp flycatcher, winding cisticola, malachite kingfisher, black-headed weavers, yellow-billed duck, long-toed lapwing, African jacana and blue-headed coucal, banded martin, grey-rumped and Angola swallows, African pygmy goose, rufous-bellied and purple heron, blue-breasted bee-eater, black crake, African marsh harrier, fan-tailed widowbird are not hard to find, and occasionally one can also be rewarded with the rare and endangered blue swallow.

The crowning glory of the morning will be finding and quietly observing the magnificent shoebill stork.

After our morning adventure, we proceed towards Kibale National Park. We will spend most of the afternoon getting there, but will be able to bird along the way.

Dinner and overnight in Kibale.
Our start today in Kibale National Park will be pre-dawn – essential as we have to listen for the first territorial calls of green-breasted pitta. Once we hear a calling individual, we will stalk and locate and thoroughly enjoy the sight. Breeding pittas are easier to locate, as they call often, but non-breeding birds require much harder work - you will scour the best territories and nesting areas hoping to find one feeding on the ground. Later, hopefully with this gem in the bag, you will continue to bird Kibale, its prolific forest edge and adjacent birding areas.

The birds at Kibale are typical of medium-altitude forest, with excellent mixed species flocks and specials such as Afep and white-naped pigeons, red-chested owlet, Narina trogon, white-headed wood hoopoe, black bee-eater, blue-throated roller, purple-headed starling, dusky-blue flycatcher, shrike-flycatcher, superb and green-headed sunbirds, lowland akalat, chestnut wattle-eye and black-and-white manikin, white-collared oliveback or yellow-mantled weaver - to mention a few.

The towering Kibale Forest has the highest primate concentration and species diversity of any reserve in East Africa. Primate highlights might include sightings of central African red colobus, handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and the scruffy grey-cheeked mangabey. You will embark on a chimpanzee trek in Kibale, where the chances of finding our closest living relatives are excellent.

In the early evening, you have a chance to do a night search for potto, Africa's equivalent of the sloth. This is the best place in Africa to see potto. This unique night forest safari may also reveal three galago species and various small carnivores and ungulates.
Today provides a second chance to nab the green-breasted pitta, just in case it proved elusive yesterday. And if the pitta is already in the bag, your focus will be on the rest of the delectable species in the local list.

A walk through Bigodi Swamp will be in the cards at some point this morning. This lovely community project offers a pleasant boardwalk through the marsh and a great chance to seek out specialties such as white-spotted flufftail, yellow-spotted barbet, hairy-breasted barbet, yellow-billed barbet, western nicator, grey-winged robin-chat, white-tailed ant-thrush, brown-backed scrub-robin, black-and-white shrike-flycatcher, brown-throated wattle-eye, superb sunbird, brown-crowned tchagra, bocage’s bush-shrike, black bishop, white-breasted negrofinch and black-crowned waxbill among others.

After lunch, we will drive back to Entebbe, while birding on route, and perhaps even a second visit to Entebbe Botanical Gardens.

Tonight, we dine and overnight in Entebbe

Note: Anyone departing on a late flight tonight (after 21h00) will be transferred to Entebbe International Airport for his/her departing flight.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Entebbe International Airport for your departing flight.

End of services.

Indication Price (from):

$1,150

  per person sharing

Departure Dates: To suit you

Please note that the BEST months to search for green-breasted pitta are February, March and early April and when breeding, mid-June, July and August.

Price includes: All accommodation, meals, mineral water during transfers, access to all parks and reserve, transportation in a 4×4 vehicle or minivan with pop-up roof, boat cruises mentioned in the itinerary, fuel, driver and guide fees. 24/7 office support.

Price excludes: International flights, visas, items of personal nature, telephone calls, laundry, alcoholic drinks, travel and medical insurance, tips, excess baggage charges, any activities not specified in the itinerary.

Suggested itineraries: We offer safaris to most accredited lodges in sub-Saharan Africa. Those appearing below are some of those on offer. Contact us to adapt these itineraries to your needs.
INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

We do not charge you for our services. We generate revenue from our lodge suppliers, based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Born in Bigodi Village, at the edge of Kibale National Park, Harriet Kemigisha is a renowned naturalist guide in Uganda. Her lifelong interest in nature and conservation was influenced by her grandfather who introduced her to the natural world when she was just five years old. Harriet has worked with the Uganda Wildlife Authority as a local ranger in Kibale National Park, and in 2005 she rediscovered the rare and sought-after green-breasted pitta. Previously, Harriet has worked with the Avian Vocalisation Centre at Michigan State University to record the sounds of rare birds, many of which have never been recorded before for science, but she now guides professionally – and is Uganda’s only female bird guide.
Climate: Being located on the equator, Uganda is warm throughout the year. Variations do occur but they are negligible, only altitude has a real effect. The months of June – July are characterised as the cooler months, but even then, temperatures will rarely drop below 20ºC at night. The probability of rain is low as the rainy season has already come and gone, and the next one is only in September. Even if it did rain earlier than expected, the most common forms of precipitation would be afternoon sporadic thunderstorms or light rain.

Difficulty: The Entebbe Boatnical Gardens outing is literally “a walk in the park”. Mabamba Swamp involves being able to get in and out of a wooden boat. Kibale National Park involves walking the forest trails – gentle rolling forested hills. The boardwalks and farmbush around Bigodi Swamp are level flat.

Accommodation: This tour has been designed with affordable, tried-and-tested accommodations where birders’ needs and idiosyncrasies are catered for. Please request a quote for more luxury options.

Flights: Your arrival flight into Entebbe should either be the day before or before noon on Day 1. Most passports can obtain visas on arrival. Yellow Fever cards are a health authority requirement. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended.

Departing flights on the last day of activities can work if they are late at night. We aim to arrive in Entebbe between 18h00 – 19h00 – depending on Kampala’s traffic. It would be safe to depart anytime after 21h00 if you require a two hour check-in lead time.

Nocturnal walk permits: Nocturnal Walk permits are included in the price.

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join this safari, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to deposit and final payments, etc. As our groups are small they fill up quickly.

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” Make a real difference for African conservation – come on safari with us. We support sustainable, ethical tourism that benefits wildlife and communities. ” Simon Espley, Africa Geographic CEO