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13 Days Bird Watching in Volcanoes, Nyungwe and Akagera NP
Rwanda is continuously becoming one of Africa’s top safari destinations, though birding safaris in Rwanda are overshadowed by Mountain gorilla trekking Rwanda is still listed in one of the top birding destinations in East Africa.
Nyungwe forest national park and Volcanoes national park are one of the few areas in East Africa where you will see the Albertine rift endemics like Regal sunbird, Shelley’s crimson wing, stripped breasted tit, this birds have a restricted area and Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park is also one of those few areas to see them.
Day 1: Pick up from Hotel and bird around Kigali
After morning breakfast you will meet your bird guide and go through a briefing and after you will visit several wetlands around the main capital Kigali some of the birds you expect to encounter include Madagascar Squacco Heron, Papyrus Gonolek, Caruthers’s Cisticola, White-winged Scrub-warbler, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Sharpe’s Pied-babbler, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, White-collared Olive back, and Papyrus Canary.
Day 2: Drive to Akagera national park evening game drive for birding
After morning breakfast you will start your drive to Akagera national park, this is one of the few savannah habitats in Rwanda, the permanent rivers in park provide a perfect habitat for birding, this will be a slow drive as you will check a few areas in the park, upon arrival in the park you will meet the park rangers and do a night game drive in the park and some of the night jars you expect to encounter include Pennant-winged nightjar, Eurasian nightjar, Black-shouldered nightjar, Fiery-necked nightjar, Rwenzori nightjar, Swamp nightjar, Freckled nightjar, Slender-tailed nightjar, Square-tailed nightjar.
Day 3: Full day birding on game drives and boat cruise on Lake Ihema
After morning breakfast with packed lunch you will head out for a full day birding excursion, you will start with safari game drive and later you will do a boat cruise on Lake Ihema and some of the bird species to look out for include Amur falcon, Beaudouin’s snake eagle, Blue shouldered robin-chat, booted eagle, Brown chested lapwing, Cabanis’s bunting, Carruther’s cisticola, crested barbet, Denham’s bustard, dimorphic egret, Eleonora’s falcon, Grasshopper buzzard, papyrus Gonolek, Northern brown throated weaver, Red faced barbet, Red winged francolin, Ring necked francolin, Shelley’s francolin.
Day 4: Drive to Lake Muhazi for birding and relaxation
After morning breakfast you will continue birding in the park en route lake Muhazi where you will also do a birding on the boat in the park.
Day 5: Drive to Volcanoes national park
After morning breakfast you will start your drive to one of Rwanda’s premier birding destinations, the volcanoes national park which sits in the edge of the rift valley is one of the top birding destinations for Albertine rift endemics, this drive will be slow as you bird along the way to volcanoes national park upon arrival toy will check in to the lodge for relaxation and overnight.
Day 6: Full day birding in Volcanoes national park
After morning breakfast you will drive to the park headquarters for a full day birding experience in the forest some of the birds to look out for include Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal, Blue-headed and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler and Neumann’s Warbler.
Day 7: Optional gorilla trekking or birding around Lake Bulera and Ruhondo & Drive to Gishwati Mukura forest
On this day clients will have their own choices in the morning, you could go gorilla trekking in park or you can choose to drive to the twin Lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo, after you will start your drive to Gishwati mukura national park which is one of the new national parks in Rwanda providing stunning birdlife depending on the time of Arrival you will check in to your lodge and bird around the lodge.
Day 8: Full day birding in Gishwati Mukura forest
After morning breakfast you will drive to the park headquarters to meet the rangers, after you will drive to forest edge and start birding some of the birds to look out for include Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Ruwenzori Batis, Wood hoopoe, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Martial Eagle, Strange weave, Grey Crowned Crane, Dusky Crimson wing, Ruwenzori Turaco, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Red-throated Alethe etc.
Day 9: Drive to Nyungwe forest national park
After morning breakfast you will start your drive to Nyungwe forest national enroute you will bird in the fields to see more bird species upon arrival in the park you will check in for relaxation and overnight.
Day 10: Full day birding in Nyungwe forest
After morning breakfast with packed lunch you will drive to the park to meet the rangers and head in to the forest some of the birds to look out for include many Albertine Rift endemics (birds restricted to the Albertine Rift). Three birds unrecorded elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine Rift are Albertine owlet, red-collared babbler and Rockefeller’s sunbird.
Day 11: Optional Chimpanzee trekking or Birding in Nyungwe forest
This day will be optional you may choose to go chimpanzee trekking in Cyamudongo or head again in to the park for birding we shall book the chimpanzee permits way ahead of time for those interested in chimpanzee trekking.
Day 12: Drive to Kibuye or Karongi for Boat cruise and Relaxation
After lazily morning you will drive to the shores of Lake Kivu to do a boat cruise on Lake Kivu in the evening this will be a slow day and clients will get time to relax and take it easy.
Day 13: Drive back to Kigali
After morning breakfast you will bid farewell to the lodge and start your drive to Kigali depending on your flight time you will be transferred to the airport for your flight or those staying overnight will then be taken to their hotel for overnight.
- 4X4 Safari vehicle, bird guide and Fuel
- All park entrance fees
- Site guides in all the birding areas
- Free airport transfers
- Enroute meals and drinking water
- Boat cruises included on the itinerary
- International flights
- Rwanda tourist Visa
- Travel insurance
- Tips for hotels and guides
- Pre and post safari accommodation
- personal expenses like Alcoholic drinks, shopping and donations
When to book safari package
This trip can be booked 3-6 months in advance but those willing to add on gorilla and chimpanzee trekking will need to book the permits 1 year in advance as there are limited gorilla and chimpanzee permits available.
Best time to Travel
Rwanda is a fine destination any time of year, especially since the main draw here is the resident birds. Most of Rwanda’s special birds can be found in Nyungwe Forest; the birding is best here from January to June as most birds are vocal at that time. April is extremely wet, however, so logistics can become challenging. The Dry season months from June to September are easier, as forest trails are drier and hiking is less difficult. This is also the best time for gorilla trekking. Migrants are present from November to April.