Rwanda is a highly attractive birding destination in Africa with an impressive list of 710 bird species. Despite its small surface area, Rwanda is home to varied habitats, ranging from high altitude and montane rainforests to savannah woodlands and savannah grasslands.
On this 7-day Rwanda birding tour we will explore the birding opportunities in Nyungwe National Park, Kigali and the wetlands of Bugesera, with our main focus to see as many of the endemics of the Albertine Rift area as possible.Nyungwe National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, is the easiest place in the region to see 29 of the Albertine Rift Endemics including Handsome Francolin, Mountain Sooty and Willard’s Boubous, Stripe-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Rwenzori Batis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Red-throated Alethe, Equatorial Akalat, Purple-breasted Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, Strange Weaver and Dusky Crimsonwing.
Additional to Nyungwe, the Wetlands and lakes of Bugesera offer excellent birdlife and are probably some of the most accessible birding areas in Rwanda. Several sites offer great chances to observe waterbirds and savannah species like Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, White-winged Swamp Warbler, White-collared Oliveback, Carruther’s Cisiticola, Lesser Jacana, Ruhuaha and Sooty Chat, Black and White Mannikin and Blue-naped Mousebird.
Tour starts and ends in Kigali
Tour duration:7 days / 6 nights
Type of accommodation: Comfortable / Mid-range
Next Group departure date: September 2024
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Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Chez Lando Hotel in Kigali for dinner and accommodation where we will also have a briefing of our exciting Rwanda birding tour that awaits.
Birding at Umusambi Village and transfer to Nyungwe National Park
After breakfast, we will drive to Umusambi Village to look for the White-Collared Oliveback.
Around this area we can also see Black-headed Gonolek, Winding Cisticola, Yellow-throated Leaf-love, Black and White Mannikin, Blue-headed Coucal, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Green-headed Sunbird, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Red-cheeked Cordon-blue, Red-chested Cuckoo, Ross’s Turaco, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Spot-flanked Barbet, Swamp Flycatcher, Tropical Boubou, African Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Apalis and Yellow-throated Longclaw. After a cup of coffee at the Village coffee shop, we will start our drive to Nyungwe National Park, a journey of about 5 hours. We will have lunch on our way and arrive at our accommodation at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel in time for dinner.
First day of Albertine Rift Endemics in Nyungwe National Park
After an early breakfast, we drive to the Uwinka reception, at 12km inside the forest, to find the Albertine Rift Endemics. After registration, our birding adventure starts at Umuyove trail and Rangiro road where we can see endemics like Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Kungwe Apalis, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing and Red-throated Alethe.
We can also see other eye-catching species like Black-billed Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Gray Cuckoo-shrike, Black-tailed Oriole, Chinspot Batis, Lühder’s Bush-shrike, Albertine Boubou, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Black-throated Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Banded Prinia, Chubb’s Cisticola, Black Saw-wing and Shelley’s Greenbul (Kakamega). We will stop for a quick lunch at Uwinka reception and information center. After lunch we will continue our birding day and hope to see Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Abyssinian Thrush, African Dusky Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Olive Sunbird and Forest Weaver. We will return to our hotel for dinner.
Second day of birding and photography in Nyungwe National Park
Our second full day of birding in Nyungwe National Park will start with photography and observation of mountainous and endemic birds of the Albertine Rift region.
Today we will take Ndambarare, a trail on the western side of Nyungwe National Park. Here we can see Great Blue Turaco, Red-collared Mountain-Babbler, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Mountain Illadopsis, Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Rwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Warbler, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, White-browed Crombec, Black-throated Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Gray Apalis, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler, Chubb’s Cisticola, Black Saw-wing, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Waller’s and Stuhlmann’s Starlings, African Dusky Flycatcher, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-billed Weaver, Forest Weaver, Black-crowned Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater.
On this trail we will also get the chance to see the rare primates of the forest like Grey-checked Mangabay, Mona Monkey and the Rwenzori Sun Squirrel.
After a lunch break at the hotel, we head to Karamba trail, a few minutes’ drive from the western entrance of the forest, where will will hope to find White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Dusky Tit, White-browed Crombec, Black-faced Apalis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Northern Double-collared Sunbird and White-breasted Nigrita. Will return to our hotel in the late afternoon for dinner and a good nights rest.
Third full day of birding in Nyungwe National Park
Today we will focus on finding the Handsome Francolin at Pindura-Bweyeye road. This trail offers great opportunities to see Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Strange and Forest Weavers, Abyssinian Thrush, Albertine Boubou, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Mackinnon’s Shrike, White-necked Raven, Black-throated Apalis, Chubb’s Cisticola, Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, African Yellow White-eye, African Dusky Flycatcher, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher and White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher. During the migration period, we can also see raptors like European Honey-buzzard, Black Kite and Mountain Buzzard.
After lunch we head back to Rangiro road to find Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Black-tailed Oriole, Northern Puffback, Albertine Boubou, Rwenzori Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Regal Sunbirds. Our day ends with dinner and a comfortable night at our hotel.
Half day birding and transfer to Kigali
We will head out for a morning of birding at Waterfall trail. Our targets for today are Lemon Dove, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Many-colored Bush-shrike, Siffling Cisticola, White-bellied Crested-Flycatcher, African Green-Pigeon, Great Blue Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Rwenzori Batis, Northern Puffback, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Grauer’s Warbler, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler, Rock Martin, Angola Swallow, Red-rumped, Swallow, Black Saw-wing and Yellow-whiskered Greenbul.
After lunch we take a drive to Kigali. On the way we will stop at Uwasenkoko wetlands to try for Grauer’s Swamp Warbler (Bradypterus graueri), an endangered and endemic species of the Albertine Rift.
Depending on the Covid measures at the time of your tour, we may stop at Huye Hospital for a COVID-19 test. We will arrive at Kigali in time for dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Sainte Famille.
Birding in wetlands of Bugesera and evening flight
Our last day will start with an early breakfast, where after we head to Gashora wetland in Bugesera to find the Papyrus Gonolek. We will also see the Papyrus Canary, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Hottentot Teal, Winding and Carruthers’s Cisticolas, White-winged Swamp Warbler, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Spur-winged Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Red-knobbed Coot, Black Crake, Long-toed Lapwing, Wattled Lapwing, African Jacana, Long-tailed Cormorant, Pink-backed Pelican, Purple Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis, Long-crested Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, Yellow-billed Kite, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Lilac-breasted Roller, Swamp Flycatcher, Red-chested Sunbird, Holub’s Golden and Lesser Masked-Weavers, Red-billed Quelea, Southern Red Bishop, White-winged and Fan-tailed Widowbird, Grosbeak Weaver, Common Waxbill and Yellow-fronted Canary.
As our amazing Rwanda Birding tour comes to an end ,we will depart for the airport and your evening flight in the late afternoon
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