10-day Uganda birding Safari ( March 13th to 23rd 2019)
BRYAN AND KRISTIN ARNOLD, Denver, Colorado, USA
Birding in Paradise set up and executed a fantastic Uganda visit for my wife and me! From the first contact nearly a year before the trip, I knew that Johnnie and Agnes Kamugisha would be terrific hosts. They listened to my feedback on initial versions of their itineraries and they made sure that we would maximize our time there. While Johnnie is an elite bird guide, he knew that the first reason I wanted to visit Uganda was to see mountain gorillas. The itinerary worked birding around the gorillas, and we also worked in a day for chimpanzee trekking. The itinerary also included visits to Mabamba Swamp to see the mighty shoebill, Lake Mburo National Park to find African finfoot, Ruhija for mountain gorilla trekking and birding, and Queen Elizabeth National Park for more birding, looking for lions, and chimpanzee trekking. I knew Johnnie had amazing attention to detail when he met us at the airport and said he was tracking our flight status live so he could be there at the right time. The places we stayed, Lake Victoria View Guest House, Rwakobo Rock, Trekker's Tavern, and Bush Lodge were all perfect for our budget. The food was great, and each place took care to ensure we had a good experience. From Bush Lodge, our deck looked out to the Kazinga channel with elephants and hippos! Johnnie is, simply put, an incredible birder. He has an amazing ear, and he helped us spot, identify, and list 353 species of birds, something special for a 10-day trip. He also knows the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians one might encounter while birding. He drove us safely for 1,000s of kilometers around the country in a well-stocked 4x4, including a cool box, plenty of water, and a power outlet to charge all our gadgets. He always paid attention to what was happening with our activities to ensure we would have the best experience. All of this was done in a way that met our budget perfectly. I recommend Johnnie and Agnes unreservedly to plan your East Africa adventure!
"For all you nervous nellies, Uganda is VERY SAFE with modern conveniences in their lodges, and friendly smiling people everywhere. I'd been to Africa twice before, the first time on a budget 3-week safari in Tanzania 28 years ago, the second time last fall in Kenya, on a luxury tented safari for a week, and this most recent time with Johnnie Kamugisha Birding in Paradise. In any safari so much depends on what YOU want to see, do, and experience. I wanted to trek mountain gorillas, and see lots of unique and beautiful birds. A friend recommended Johnnie Kamugisha highly, and boy was she spot on. He is possibly the best bird guide in Uganda, maybe the entire world. Our safari explored four National Parks, and surrounding regions, mainly in the south and west. Of the 1078 bird species in Uganda we saw 225 species in 10 days in the field, including the Shoebill stork and lots of kites, buzzards, eagles, and hawks, not to mention smaller beauties such as mousebirds, bee-eaters, and sunbirds. Wow! Although we really enjoyed birding it was not the major focus of our group. Mountain gorillas were. About 50% of the world's mountain gorillas live in Uganda. We trekked into the Bwindi Impenetrable NP and spent an indescribably beautiful hour with a family of seven, including a tiny, one month old baby. Double Wow! Additionally our safari included boat excursions through swamps and lakes, a chimp trek, bird walks and game drives. We trekked after chimpanzees, and saw several species of monkeys, antelopes, zebras, giraffes, hippos, Nile crocodiles, Lake Chad buffaloes, warthog families, mongoose, a magnificent leopard, and lots of elephant families up close.
I cannot say enough about our driver and guide Johnnie Kamugisha. We enjoyed his dinner conversations and information about Uganda and its wealth of natural resources, animals and birds. His skillful driving guided us through muddy, flooded roads and Land Cruiser swallowing ruts. He worked very hard to ensure a successful, enjoyable experience.
Camera, binoculars, waterproof hiking boots or shoes, long pants and sleeved shirts, and rain gear are essential."
ELAINE HENLEY NOVEMBER 2017 AND MATY 2018
"After visiting Uganda with another well known tour company in 2016, I was keen to return and have a different experience- a better experience. With this company it is all about the experience with animals, coupled with superb accommodation choices- taking into account budget restrictions. For this visit I wanted to visit less known areas of Uganda as a priority for some research I am doing; from first point of contact, Johnnie's unique and unrivalled knowledge shone through, and put him and his company ahead of competitors. ......."
Best birding guide in Uganda ( NATHAN DEC 2017)
"I spent nearly two weeks with Johnnie as part of an arranged trip to Uganda. He is, simply put, one of the best if not *the* best birding guide in Uganda. The man just knows where to find birds and works hard to get you on them. I would not hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend Johnnie for anyone traveling to Uganda for nature tourism, and especially if you want to run up a big bird list."