10 Days Birding Safari in Rwanda

10 Days Birding Safari in Rwanda

10 Days Birding Safari in Rwanda.

The 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda delves into the montane forests and associated habitats that comprise the Albertine Rift Endemic Bird Area (EBA).

While Rwanda doesn’t host any bird species endemic exclusively to its borders, it is home to a significant portion of the Albertine Rift Endemic species, with 44 in total, including 27 thriving within Nyungwe Forest alone.

Additionally, birding adventurers can explore Akanyaru and Nyabarongo wetlands, Umusambi Village, and Rugezi Swamp. With approximately 750 bird species, including 29 Albertine Rift Endemics, Rwanda offers a rich avian diversity to explore.

The country’s habitats showcase remarkable diversity, ranging from the Albertine Rift montane forests in the west to grassland plains and swamps along the eastern border. Central Rwanda is dotted with swamps, rivers, wetlands, and lakes amidst its rolling hills, providing further birding opportunities.

The Top Bird Watching Locations in Rwanda.

Rwanda boasts 8 designated birding areas, including Volcanoes, Akagera, and Nyungwe National Parks, as well as Gishwati-Mukura National Park. On this 10 Days Birding Safari in Rwanda, you will explore Kigali, Akagera Park, Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes Park and Lake Kivu.

Nyungwe Forest National Park:

The park hosts about 300 bird species and 27 of these are Albertine Rift endemic. There are quite several birding trails in the park including Bigugu, Gisakura, Karamba, and Kamiranzovu.

Akagera National Park:

The park boasts about 480 bird species living in savannah and woodland areas with 100 species endemic to the park. It offers a mix of savannah and wetland bird species.

Volcanoes National Park:

The park has over 200 bird species of which 17 bird species are endemic to the Volcanoes in the Virunga ranges of the mountains.

Lake Kivu:

Lake Kivu / Rugezi Swamp is the only RAMSAR wetland in Rwanda. The swamp has 194 bird species including a number of globally threatened species and one Albertine rift endemic.  It attracts various water birds and migratory species.

When to go Bird Watching in Rwanda?

Birdwatching can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the period from December to February marks the migrant bird season when Rwanda welcomes a multitude of Wintering and Palearctic migrants. Below is the monthly guide on Bird watching in Rwanda.

The Dry Seasons:

June to September:

This is the main dry season and one of the best times for bird watching. Vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot birds. It coincides with the breeding season for many bird species, enhancing the chances of witnessing interesting bird behaviors.

December to February:

This is a short dry season, another excellent period for bird watching. The weather is generally favorable, and bird activity is high.

The Rainy Seasons:

March to May:

This is the long rainy season. While bird watching can still be productive, rain can make access to some areas more difficult. This period is beneficial for seeing migratory bird species from Europe and North Africa.

October to November:

This is the short rainy season. Similar to the long rainy season, it offers opportunities to see migratory birds, but rain might limit access to certain areas.

Overall, while bird watching in Rwanda can be ideal for bird watching at any time of the year, the dry seasons from June to September and December to February are particularly favorable due to better weather and visibility conditions. This 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda is recommended during the dry seasons.

Join us on the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda for an amazing Birding Expedition. Start Planning Your Bird Watching Safari Today!

Tour Itinerary for the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda

Day 1: Arrival in Kigali

Upon arrival in Kigali on the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda, you will meet your guide and proceed to your accommodation for check-in and relaxation. Then, venture to Nyarutarama Lake, adjacent to the Kigali Golf Course, where a plethora of bird species awaits your observation.

Look out for the 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, Cattle Egret, and Black-headed Heron, among others.

The vegetation surrounding the lake offers prime habitat for various avian species such as the Black Kite, African Fish Eagle, Pygmy Kingfisher, White-browed Coucal, Grey-capped Warbler, Winding Cisticola, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Paradise Flycatcher, African Hobby, and Swamp Flycatcher, among others.

On the eastern shore of the lake, you’ll find acacia woodlands that attract the Mountain Buzzard, Swifts, Sunbirds, and other fascinating species. After your birdwatching adventure, return to the hotel for further 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.  Look out for these specials: Red-faced Barbet, Northern Brown-throated Weaver; Papyrus Canary, Brown-Chested Lapwing,  Caruthers’s Cisticola, White-collared Oliveback, 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. 

10 Days birding safari in Rwanda

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 Nyungwe Forest. 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 Forest Lodge 

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 several birding trails in the park including 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. 

Other species include Albertine Owlet, the Congo Bay Owl, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, the 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 on the 10 days Birding Safari in Rwanda.  Accommodation and meals at Nyungwe Forest Lodge 

Day 6: Nyungwe National Park – Lake Kivu

Breakfast and then head to Lake Kivu arriving in time for lunch on the 10 Days Birding Safari in Rwanda. After lunch, head out 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 several globally threatened species and one Albertine rift endemic.

Look out for the Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Grey Crowned Crane, Caruthers’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 birdwatching safari in Volcanoes National Park. The park has over 200 bird species of which 16 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 after the birding session on this 10 days birding safari in rwanda.  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 a personal nature such as Room service, Alcoholic drinks, and Beverages, Tips and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and hotel staff, Shopping charges for Curios and Crafts, International Airport Departure Taxes, Optional activities.

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