Embark on an unforgettable budget birding safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a gem nestled in the southwestern region of Uganda. Known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda boasts a rich tapestry of bird species, and Queen Elizabeth National Park stands as one of its premier birding destinations.
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a storied history, initially established in 1952 as Kazinga National Park before being named after a visit from Queen Elizabeth II. Encompassing a sprawling expanse of 420 square kilometers, this national treasure is easily accessible by road, making it a 5-6 hour drive from Uganda’s capital city, Kampala.
Uganda’s reputation as a top birding destination in Africa is well-earned. The country’s remarkable diversity of bird species, including many not found elsewhere on the continent, makes it a paradise for birdwatchers. Several birding hotspots within Uganda contribute to its status as a premier birding destination.
With over 1,010 bird species to discover during your Uganda safari, the country offers an unparalleled birdwatching experience. The various national parks across Uganda serve as vital habitats for a multitude of bird species. While marveling at these spectacular birds, you’ll also encounter a wide array of additional wildlife, transforming your birdwatching adventure into an unforgettable experience. The best times for birdwatching are during the early morning and late evening hours.
Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts an impressive catalog of more than 550 bird species, making it an enticing destination for bird enthusiasts. This park, situated in the Rukungiri district of southwestern Uganda, sprawls across 1,978 square kilometers. Its varied terrain ranges from low-altitude moist semi-deciduous forests and ravine bushland to moist thickets and riparian forests.
The park offers diverse bird habitats, including open woodlands, rivers, open grasslands, and both seasonal and permanent swamps. Along the renowned Kazinga Channel, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a variety of aquatic birds. Species like the White-faced Whistling Duck, Spur-winged Plovers, Squacco Heron, African Fish Eagle, Pink and White-backed Pelicans, Long-tailed Cormorants, African Jacana, Yellow-backed Weavers, Open-billed Stork, Water Thick-knee, Pied Kingfishers, Wattled Plovers, Black Crake, and Knob-billed Ducks grace the waters.
Noteworthy bird species within the park include the Malachite Kingfisher, Black-ramped Buttonquail, Collared Pratincole, Papyrus Canary, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Black Bee-eater, Squacco Heron, African Fish Eagle, Swamp Flycatcher, Long-tailed Cormorants, Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, White-winged Terns, White-winged Warbler, Shoebill, and African Skimmer, among others. Their calls echo in the morning, creating a harmonious symphony in the trees.
Venturing into the lush Kyambura Gorge unveils a trove of forest species. Here, you may encounter the Grey Woodpecker, Black and African Emerald Cuckoos, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Speckled Tinkerbird, Purple-headed Starling, and Green Hylia, among others. The enchanting White-spotted Flufftail thrives within the riverine thickets, offering an opportunity for observation.
In the verdant grasslands near the gorge, you can listen for the melodious, far-reaching echo of the Broad-tailed Warbler.
The prime time for birdwatching in Queen Elizabeth National Park is from December to February. Opting for a two-day or three-day birdwatching safari during this period allows you to potentially spot over half of the 550 bird species recorded in the park.
To embark on this captivating budget birding safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, contact Trek Africa Expeditions. Your inclusive package covers transportation from the meeting to the departure point, an expert English-speaking local driver/guide, accommodation, specified meals, park entrance fees, and a wide array of engaging activities detailed in the itinerary. The package excludes international flights (which can be arranged upon request), visas, personal insurance, drinks, tips, personal expenses, and any items or activities not mentioned in the tour package.