Africa Green Travelers

16-Day Bird Watching Adventure Safari in Rwanda

16-Day Bird Watching Adventure Safari in Rwanda

16-Day Bird Watching Adventure Safari in Rwanda

This 16-Day Bird Watching Adventure Safari in Rwanda is more than just a trip; it’s a journey into the soul of a country that cherishes its natural heritage. Whether you are a seasoned birder or a nature enthusiast, this safari offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the avian treasures and stunning landscapes of Rwanda.

Rwanda, often called the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” is a birdwatcher’s paradise with its diverse habitats and over 700 bird species. This safari offers a unique opportunity to explore the avian diversity of this East African gem, visiting iconic locations such as Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park, and Volcanoes National Park. You’ll traverse restored wetlands, highland forests, and serene lakeshores, guided by expert ornithologists who will help you spot both endemic and migratory species.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Kigali, Birding at Umusambi Village

Upon arrival in Kigali, you will be greeted by your birding guide and driver, who will transfer you to your hotel. After a briefing, you will visit Umusambi Village, a sanctuary for Grey-crowned Cranes and various bird species. Here, you might spot the White-collared Oliveback, Green-winged Pytilia, Lesser Honeyguide, Spot-flanked Barbet, Black-shouldered Nightjar, Purple-crested Turaco, and African Firefinch as you explore the restored wetland habitat.

Day 2 – Bird Watching in the Nyabarongo Wetlands

Start your day with an early breakfast before heading out to the Nyabarongo River Wetlands (IBA) in Bugesera. These wetlands are home to various species, including the Papyrus Gonolek and White-winged Swamp Warbler, exclusive to the Lake Victoria Biome. After lunch, continue birding in forests, woodlands, and open fields around the area, then return to Kigali by evening.

Day 3 – Journey to Akagera National Park

After breakfast, drive to Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda, known for its savanna habitats. As an Important Bird Area (IBA) with over 525 bird species, the park offers diverse birding opportunities. Upon arrival, start birding immediately, spotting species such as the Little Rush Warbler. Enjoy a sunset boat ride on Lake Ihema, where you can see African Jacana, Swamp Flycatcher, African Fish Eagle, and various migrant species like Wood and Common Sandpipers.

Day 4 – Birdwatching Safari in Akagera National Park

Wake up early for a day of birdwatching in the southern region of Akagera National Park. This area features acacia thickets, woodlands, grasslands, and lakeside swamps. Key species include the Red-faced Barbet, an East African endemic. Continue exploring towards the northern regions of the park, keeping an eye out for nocturnal species like Nightjars after dark.

Day 5 – Birdwatching Safari in Northern Akagera National Park

Explore the northern region of Akagera, known for its wetlands and savannahs. While the Shoebill is a rare sighting, the Kilala Plains are excellent for spotting savannah birds and game such as lions and hyenas. Spend the night at Karenge Bush Camp, overlooking the stunning Kilala Plains.

Day 6 – Morning Birding in Akagera and Transfer to Kigali

Begin your day with birdwatching in the Kilala Plains, then check out and drive back to Kigali, reflecting on your experiences in Akagera National Park.

Day 7 – Journey to Musanze and Birding in Buhanga Forest

After breakfast, drive to Musanze in northwestern Rwanda, the gateway to Volcanoes National Park. Upon arrival, explore Buhanga Forest, home to various forest bird species, though it lacks Albertine Rift endemics.

Day 8 – Birdwatching at Rugezi Swamp (IBA)

Spend the day birdwatching at Rugezi Swamp, an Important Bird Area (IBA) that supports numerous wetland species. This area is vital for conserving Rwanda’s birdlife.

Day 9 – Birdwatching in Volcanoes National Park (IBA)

After breakfast, head to Volcanoes National Park, renowned for its diverse bird species. Trek through different forest habitats, spotting Albertine Rift endemics and other mountain birds. Optional early morning gorilla trekking is available.

Day 10 – Golden Monkey Trekking and Transfer to Lake Kivu

Early morning, go on a golden monkey trek in Volcanoes National Park. Afterward, transfer to Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu. Spend the afternoon birdwatching around the lake, looking for species like the Southern Red Bishop.

Day 11 – Transfer to Gishwati–Mukura National Park

Check out early and drive to Gishwati Forest in Gishwati-Mukura National Park. Explore this newly protected area, home to 17 Albertine Rift endemic birds. Overnight at the Forest of Hope Guest House.

Day 12 – Reach Nyungwe, Experience Canopy Walk

Transfer to Nyungwe National Park and experience the famous canopy walk, offering a unique bird’s-eye view of the forest. Look out for various bird species in the forest canopy.

Day 13 – Birding at Gisakura, Karamba, Kamiranzovu Marsh

Spend the day birding in Gisakura, Karamba, and Kamiranzovu Marsh areas of Nyungwe National Park. These regions are rich in bird diversity, including many Albertine Rift endemics.

Day 14 – Mt. Bigugu Trail Birding in Nyungwe

Hike the Mt. Bigugu Trail, which offers excellent birdwatching opportunities. Spot high-altitude species and enjoy breathtaking views of Nyungwe’s landscapes.

Day 15 – Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe

Embark on a chimpanzee trekking adventure in Nyungwe National Park. Besides the chimpanzees, continue birdwatching to spot more species in this biodiverse forest.

Day 16 – Drive to Kigali, Birding

Drive back to Kigali, stopping for birdwatching along the way. Visit nearby birding spots in Kigali and reflect on the incredible birdwatching adventure before your departure.

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