Birding Safari in Rwanda

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10 Days Birding Safari in Rwanda

On the 10 days Birding  Safari in Rwanda, explore the montane forests of Rwanda and associated habitats that harbors the Albertine Rift Endemic Bird Area (EBA). There are 8 birding areas in Rwanda (Important Birding Areas (IBAs) found Volcanoes, Akagera, and Nyungwe, Gishwati-Mukura national parks and then in Akanyaru wetlands, Nyabarongo wetlands,  Umusambi Village and Rugezi Swamp.  Rwanda has about 750 bird species of which 29 are Albertine Rift Endemics.  

The habitats are remarkably diverse and include, majorly, the Albertine Rift montane forests in the western region, and the grassland plains and swamps along the eastern border. There are also numerous swamps, rivers, wetlands, and lakes scattered through the grassy hills of the central region and across Rwanda.

Though there are no birds endemic exclusively to Rwanda, it accounts for most of the Albertine Rift Endemic bird species (44), 27 of which are found in Nyungwe Forest alone. Birding can be done all year round, however, the period from December to February is the migrant bird season during which Rwanda hosts lots of Wintering and Palearctic migrants.

Tour Itinerary for the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda


Day 1: Arrival in Kigali

Arrive in Kigali and head to your accommodation place for check-in and relaxation. Thereafter head to Nyarutarama Lake, located near the Kigali Golf Course, a great sight for bird watching. Look out for bird species Yellow-billed Duck, Squacco Heron, White-faced Whistling Duck, Hottentot Teal, Red-billed Teal, African Spoonbill, Spur-winged Geese, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen, Hadada Ibis, Black Crake, Black Egret, Cater Egret, and Black-headed Heron among others.

The vegetation on the fringes of the lake provides many birds such as Black Kite, African Fish Eagle, Pygmy Kingfisher, White-browed Coucal, Grey-capped Warbler, Winding Cisticola, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Paradise Flycatcher, African Hobby, Swamp Flycatcher among others.

The eastern side of the lake has acacia woodlands that attract the Mountain Buzzard, Swifts, and Sunbirds among others.  Later return back to the hotel for relaxation.

Accommodation and meals at Hotel des Mille Collines  

Day 2: Kigali- Akagera National Park

After breakfast at your hotel, we start on our journey to Akagera National Park arriving in time for check-in, relaxation, and lunch.

After lunch, you will head out for a bird-watching session along the marshy areas for species like Pied Crow, Veillots Black Weavers, African Darter, and Great Egret among others. dinner and an overnight stay. Accommodation and meals at Ruzizi Tented Camp 

Day 3: Birding in Akagera National Park

After breakfast, you will spend the day in the park which boasts about 480 bird species living in savannah and woodland areas with 100 species endemic to the park. Look out for these specials: Red-faced Barbet, Northern Brown-throated Weaver; Papyrus Canary, Brown-Chested Lapwing,  Carruthers’s Cisticola, White-collared Olive back, and Grey-crowned Cranes among others. 

In the afternoon head to Lake Ihema and take a boat cruise looking out for African finfoot, Papyrus Gonolek; White-Winged Swamp Warbler; the elusive rare Shoebill Stork, African fish eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, and African Openbill among others.

Accommodation and Meals at Ruzizi Tented Camp. 

Day 4: Akagera NP- Nyungwe National Park

After breakfast, we start on our journey to Nyungwe National Park, the recommended birding trails are Karamba Trail, Rangiro Road, and Waterfall Trail.

After lunch, you may have a birding session in the most popular birding spot in Rwanda. Look out for the frequently sighted species, the Rwenzori Nightjar, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, the Handsome Francolin, Dwarf Honeyguide, Great Blue Turaco and Rwenzori Turaco, montane Double Collared Sun, and the Red- Throated Alethe.

Accommodation and Meals at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel.

Day 5: Birding in Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park has about 300 bird species and 27 of these are Albertine Rift endemic. There are quite a number of birding trails in the park that include Bigugu, Gisakura, Karamba, and Kamiranozu.

Head out to the 13 km Bigugu Trail in the forest, one of the best spots for observing the Red Collared Warbler. Look out for Some of Nyungwe’s specials: Kungwe Apalis, Regal Sunbird, Red-collared Babbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Spurfowl, Rwenzori Batis, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Blue-headed Sunbird, Albertine Owlet, the Congo Bay Owl, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Dusky Crimsonwing, Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Handsome Francolin, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Chestnut Owlet, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, among others.

Along the Gisakura trails, look out for the Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-chat, and the elusive Kivu Ground Thrush among others. Accommodation and meals at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel. 

Day 6: Nyungwe National Park – Lake Kivu

Breakfast and then head to Lake Kivu for a boat cruise while on a birding safari. Look out for huge numbers of White-breasted Cormorants, Pied Kingfishers, Yellow-Bellied Waxbill, Familiar Chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, and Spot-flanked Barbet and Osprey can be seen fishing during its migration. Accommodation and meals at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel. 

Day 7: Lake Kivu -Rugezi Swamp – Volcanoes Park

The drive from Lake Kivu in Gisenyi to Musanze is about one hour. Head to Rugezi Swamp which is the only RAMSAR  wetland in Rwanda. The swamp has 194 bird species that include a number of globally threatened species and one Albertine rift endemic.

Look out for the Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Grey Crowned Crane, Carruthers’s Cisticola Cisticola, Papyrus Canary, and the  Papyrus Yellow Warbler. Later head to your accommodation for relaxation. Accommodation and meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge 

Day 8: Birding in Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, embark on your birding safari in Volcanoes National Park. The park has over 200 bird species of which 16 bird species are endemic to the Volcanoes in the Virunga ranges of the mountains.

Look out for the Archer’s ground robin, Grauer’s rush warbler, Cinnamon bracken warbler, Black and White mannikin, Rwenzori batis, white-tailed blue flycatcher, and Rwenzori Batis. Head back to the lodge thereafter the birding session. Accommodation and meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. 

Day 9: Volcanoes National Park – Kigali

After breakfast, proceed back to Kigali arriving in time for check-in, relaxation, and lunch.  You will then visit Nyabarongo wetland, The wetland has different species which include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-collared olive bark, Madagascar squacco heron, White-winged scrub warbler, Papyrus yellow warbler, Northern brown-throated weaver, African jacana, long-toed lapwing, African open bill and Caruthers’s Cisticola.

You may also visit Mount Kigali, the largest hill in Kigali that has a forest atop which is a worthy birding spot some of the birds you can find include: the African Paradise Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Southern Black Flycatcher, Red-chested Cuckoo, Green-backed Camaroptera, Thick-billed Seedeater, Tropical Boubou, Northern Puffback, Common Bulbul, Bronze Mannikin, Yellow-fronted Canary.  Overnight at Hotel des Mille Collines. 

Day 10: Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight back home at the end of the 10 days Birding  Safari in Rwanda. 

Included in the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda

Ground transportation in a safari customized 4WD Toyota Landcruiser with gasoline/fuel, Mineral water in the vehicle, services of an English-speaking Driver/guide, Activities, Birding Excursions, Nature walks, Boat cruises,  Game drives, Accommodation, Meals, all Park Entrance Fees, Statutory Taxes where applicable.  

Excluded in the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda

International Airfares; Excess baggage charges; Rwanda Entry Visa Fees USD 30; Items of personal nature such as Room service, Alcoholic drinks, and Beverages, Tips and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and Hotels staff, Shopping charges for Curios and Crafts, International Airport Departure Taxes, Optional activities.

  • Ground transportation in a safari customized 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser with gasoline/fuel
  • Mineral water in the vehicle,
  • Services of an English speaking Driver/guide,
  • Accommodation as shown at the lodges mentioned in the itinerary,
  • Meals as shown (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner),
  • All Park Entrance Fees,
  • Gorilla Trekking Permit per person.
  • International Airfares; Excess baggage charges;
  • Ugandan Entry Visa Fees
  • International travel Vaccinations and Inoculations;
  • Items of personal nature such us Room service,
  • Beverages, Communications charges (telephone, fax, internet), Laundry, etc.;
  • Postage fees, Porterage fees, Tips and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and Hotels staff,
  • Shopping charges for Curios and Crafts,
  • International Airport Departure Taxes,
  • Optional activities unless specified as included,
  • Any other services not expressly shown in the itinerary or indicated as included.

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