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Old Tuesday 27th December 2016, 19:12   #1
dwatsonbirder
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Self drive in Uganda

Hello, my partner and I are looking at the above for our next big trip (likely September 2017). Does anybody have any experience of doing this? We have found a reputable company which can sort the car/tent/equipment and Gorilla trekking permits for our budget. Our itinerary is looking like: Entebbe - Bwindi - Queen Vic NP - Kibale - Murchison falls NP - Kampala over a 2 week period, does this seem logical and feasible? We would be looking to spent 2-3 nights per location before moving on. The main focus would be Gorilla/Chimp and big game, but I don't want to leave the country without seeing Shoebill, so any tips on where/how to see them (along this route if possible) would be greatly appreciated!
Finally, would we stand a good chance of encountering some Albertine rift endemics if we were to stay in Bwindi for 2-3 days? Any recommendations for a budget guide would also be great, as I'd love to see Green broadbill (unlikely I know). I've bought the Helm East African guide as this seems the best, and I'll work my way through the Ugandan Birding website also.

Thanks in advance for any help offered.
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Old Tuesday 27th December 2016, 19:45   #2
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Jos did Uganda on his own - no surprises there, but his report was quality.
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Old Tuesday 27th December 2016, 20:25   #3
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Cheers Jon, I will have a trawl for that shortly. I think I did briefly look at that but I will need more time to take it all in properly.
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Old Tuesday 27th December 2016, 22:47   #4
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I spent 2 nights at Bwindi and another at Buhoma. We got 12 of the Albertine Rift endemics, but it was strickly birding so no Grillers! Shoebill is at Mabamba, about 2 hours from Entebbe. I didn't get to Murchison this time. Went there in 1962!
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Old Wednesday 28th December 2016, 11:29   #5
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We did something similar

We did a similar route using Churchill Safaris (met them at the UK Birdfair) who provided a driver/guide and booked the local accommodation - driver was a keen birder but not an expert but we still saw most target birds and Gorillas, Chimps and quite a few other monkeys near Kimbale plus big game at QE. So certainly doable.

We only saw Shoebill at Murchison Falls so good that you have that in itinerary as they were pretty easy there but it wasn't easy in other marshes / swamps where it occurs (we were there in October).
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Old Wednesday 28th December 2016, 17:24   #6
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Thanks to David/Sarah and Jon, that is all helpful information - D&S I will have a look at your trip report if I can find it on the forum. When I have some more specific questions nearer the time I hope you won't mind helping if possible.

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Old Thursday 29th December 2016, 17:53   #7
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I do have a few rather specific questions:

I've looked at the UWA website and I can see the option for an annual pass for a couple for all National Parks is $500 - which I don't think is too bad if you are visiting more than 4 parks for more than a day at a time - assuming this is unlimited access to all parks once you have this. Can anybody confirm this?

Also, it also states on the tariff page there is a $150 entrance fee for 4WD per national parks for "foreign" visitors - we are planning on hiring a Ugandan registered vehicle, so would we have to pay this each time or would we just pay the Ugandan rate? Sorry if that seems like a daft question, but I have conflicting information on this.

Finally in the National Parks would we have to hire somebody to walk around with us, or would we be able to head off on the trails ourselves? It looks like you can just drive about more or less as you please in QENP, but is a guide mandatory for general walking and birding in Bwindi/Kibali for example?

Appreciate these are not really birding related questions, but I want to ensure I get the costings correct before I get excited about seeing some of the amazing species on offer!

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Old Thursday 29th December 2016, 18:44   #8
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You do need a guide (and a guard) in Bwindi. If you do a proper tour for Grillers this would I think be covered. We did a walk in the morning along public roads/tracks which was very productive and no need for either, but the next morning we did the walk down to the swamp for Grauer's Swamp Warbler (amongst others) this is when we needed the guide and a guard with AK47 (eek)>
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Old Thursday 29th December 2016, 19:12   #9
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Cheers Jon, that was what I had understood from the information, just wanted to check. Any idea regarding the entrance fees? Thanks again
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Old Thursday 29th December 2016, 20:43   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwatsonbirder View Post
Cheers Jon, that was what I had understood from the information, just wanted to check. Any idea regarding the entrance fees? Thanks again
No, Valéry did all the payments. He knows how it all works and dealt with the admin for me. I didn't object to paying these guys - if it weren't for them the forest and the Grillers would be gone. The walk down to the swamp is wet, and I didn't have waterproof boots. Wellies would have been a big bonus!
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Old Sunday 10th September 2017, 22:03   #11
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A fair amount of time has passed, but we're travelling out early Friday morning.

I would appreciate any advice on budget accommodation (less than $50) options for Budongo forest/Royal mile, currently looking at hotels in Masindi or Hoima, but then a minimum 30-45 minute drive to attempt to get there early enough for some early morning birding.

The only options I can find are the eco-resort (out of our budget) and the forestry college (haven't heard anything from them and heard they don't always take tourists). We have our own car and tent - any options much appreciated.

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