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9 days Rwanda Birding & Gorilla Tracking Tour

With 9 days Rwanda Birding & Gorilla Tracking Tour you will see approximately 735 bird species including 44 Albertine rift endemics plus 4 pure endemics;

The avitourism potential has been overshadowed by the gorilla tourism dominance and lack of publicity, awareness about birding products and good birding guides. However, considering the size of the country, Rwanda has the highest concentration of bird species in Africa.

In Akagera National Park you have at least 525 bird species including the rare shoebill stock plus 4 endemics, Nyungwe National Park has approximately 283 bird species with 27 endemics “The highest concentration of Albertine Rift endemics of anywhere in the world!” and Volcanoes National Park has approximately 90 species with 13 endemics.

This, besides tracking the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and an opportunity for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

9 days Rwanda Birding & Gorilla Tracking Tour Overview

  • Day 1: Arrival for Rwanda birding safari

  • Day 2: Whole day birding Akagera National Park

  • Day 3: Birding to Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorilla trekking

  • Day 4: Rwanda Gorilla trekking – Volcanoes National Park

  • Day 5: Birdwatching tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park

  • Day 6: Birding Nyungwe Forest National Park of Rwanda – (Optional chimpanzee tracking)

  • Day 7: Another day birdwatching Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda

  • Day 8: Transfer to Kigali for the last night

  • Day 9: Departure – End of Rwanda birdwatching tour

9 days Rwanda Birding & Gorilla Tracking Tour Full Itineraries

Day 1: Arrival for Rwanda Birding Safari

Arrival for tour and transfer to Akagera National Park.

Akagera boosts of a rich bird checklist of over 525 species, this reflects the extremely wide diversity of habitat. 44 species of raptor, Papyrus Gonolek, Shoebill Stork and a good number of Palearctic migrants, amongst which Lesser Kestrel, Great Snipe and Black-winged have been recorded. The park represents the northern limit of distribution of a number of Zambezian biome species, including Sauza’s Shrike, Arnot’s Chat, and Long-tailed Cisticola.

One species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome, seven of the Afrotropical Highlands biome, nine of the eleven species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site.

The park also has a health mammal list of over 50 species among which include the African elephant which was introduced to the park in 1975.

On the way, we hope to pocket African Palm Swift, Little Swift, Mottled Swift, Black-headed Waxbill, Black-crowned Waxbill, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Archer’s Robin-chat, Collared Apalis, Crowned Eagle, Slender-billed Starling, Grauer’s Scrub-Warbler, Common Bulbul, Village Weaver, Red-eyed Dove, and many more.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 2: Whole Day Birding Akagera National Park – Rwanda Birding Safaris

Today we look for the species listed in the over 500 species checklist known to Akagera.

Species will include; White-crowned Black Chat, Familiar Chat, Black-winged Bishop and Arrow-marked Babbler, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Shoebill, African Open-billed Stork, Egyptian Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, Spur-winged Plover, Black Crake, Long-tailed Cormorant, Great Cormorants, Goliath Heron, African Marsh Harrier, Bateleur, Red-faced Barbet, Long-tailed, Trilling, Tabora, Rattling and Winding Cisticolas, Miombo Wren Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Red-faced Crombec, Rueppell’s Long-tailed Starling, Amethyst Starling, Senegal Lapwing, Water Dikkop, Brubru, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Brown Parrot, Red-necked Spurfowl, Broad-tailed Warbler, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Sooty Chat, White-winged Black Tit, Flappet Lark, Souza’s Shrike, Crested Barbet and many more. Other wildlife may include; Giraffe, African Elephant, Hippopotamus, Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Warthog, Impala, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge (Full Board)

Day 3: Birding to Volcanoes National Park for Mountain Gorilla Trekking

We set out in the morning, bird some birding spots along the way arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Full Board)

Day 4: Rwanda Gorilla Tracking – Volcanoes National Park

The main activity today will be mountain gorilla tracking.

Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates and the world’s most endangered apes with an estimated population of less than 800 left in the wild of the whole world and none in zoos. The mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei), was not yet known to scientist until 1902. They are the next closest living relatives to human beings after the two chimpanzee species, sharing 97% DNA with us.

Do leisurely birding in the afternoon around Volcans environs.

Overnight at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Full Board)

Day 5: Birdwatching Tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Overnight at Nyungwe Top View Lodge (Full Board)

Day 6: Birding Nyungwe Forest National Park of Rwanda – (Optional Chimpanzee Tracking)

Nyungwe forest is situated in south-west Rwanda between Lake Kivu and the international border with Burundi. Nyungwe is divided north–south by a line of mountains that reach 2,600–2,900 m and which form part of the Congo–Nile watershed. As a result, Nyungwe is composed of two areas differing in pedology, vegetation, water-flow and biodiversity.

This wonderful birding area lies west of Butare, with the Butare to Cyangugu road passing straight through the middle, providing excellent roadside birding. A total of 275 species have been recorded in Nyungwe, reflecting the wide habitat diversity and altitudinal range.

These include, all the 25 species of the Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area that occur in Rwanda, Chapin’s Flycatcher and Rockefellers’ Sunbird (both globally threatened, restricted-range and biome-restricted).

In addition, 11 of the 23 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and 71 of the 74 species of this biome of Afrotropical Highlands that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site. Generally, Nyungwe is certainly the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in the region.

We have an early morning breakfast then set out to Uwinka for the Albertine Rift endemic birds search.

Among the many we look out for, include; Kivu Ground-Thrush, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Red-chested, Regal Sunbird, Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Miombo Rock-Thrush, Mountain Masked Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Collared Apalis, Grauer’s Warbler, few Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red- throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Ruwenzori Turaco, Great Blue Turaco, Handsome Francolin, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Olive Woodpecker, Mountain Greenbul, Rwenzori Hill-babbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Northern Puffback, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Variable Sunbird, Waller’s Starling, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, just to mention but a few.

Overnight at Nyungwe Top View Lodge (Full Board)

Day 7: Another Day Birdwatching Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda

We look for species probably missed the previous day, we hope to tick-off Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Batis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Sharpe’s Starling, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Dusky Tit, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Siffling Cisticola, Bronze Mannikin, Golden-breasted Bunting, Neumann’s Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Mountain Wagtail, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Equatorial Akalat, Black Cuckoo, Kungwe Apalis, White-bellied Robin-chat, and many more.

We try our luck and listen out at night fall for the Rwenzori Nightjar (a nocturnal species), Albertine Owlet and Red-chested Owlet.

Overnight at Nyungwe Top View Lodge (Full Board)

Day 8: Transfer to Kigali for the Last Night

While birding to Kigali, we visit Murambi Genocide Memorial Museum and National Museum.

Stay at Chez Lando (Full Board)

Day 9: Departure – End of Rwanda Birdwatching Tour

1 Day Akagera national park tour;

Tour includes

  • Ground transport per 4WD
  • Bottled water
  • Park entrance fees
  • Game drive
  • Service of an English-speaking driver-guide
  • All mentioned activities except for the optional ones

Tour excludes

  • Extras at the accommodation i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry, etc.
  • Tips to porters and driver/ guide
  • Insurance

What to bring

  • Sun hut
  • Sunscreen

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