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119, KG 9 Av, Kigali (Co-Located in Hotel Villa Portofino)

Birding Safaris in Rwanda

Rwanda is arguably the one of the best Africa’s birding destinations. Its location in the Virunga massif allows for a variety of bird species, some endemic to the region. Combined with a diversity of habitat, road safety and security, Rwanda is one of the go to places for birding safaris in Africa. Rwanda’s small size is an added bonus on your birding expedition because many different destinations can be visited without long drive times.

703 bird species have been recorded in Rwanda, 29 of which are endemic to the Albertine rift and several others endemic to the Lake Victoria basin. Birding in Rwanda is done throughout the country. However, Akagera national park and Nyungwe national park are the prime destinations for birding safaris in Rwanda

Rwanda Birding Destinations

Nyungwe Forest
Red faced barbet
Volcanoes National Park
Brown thoated wattle eye
Akagera National Park
African stone chat
Lake Kivu
Gray cuckoo shrike

Birding in Nyungwe National Park.

Nyungwe national park is home to 322 bird species. The tropical montane forest in full bloom in summer attracts some of the stunning bird species. The Star attraction in Nyungwe is the Red-collared Babbler. This is only found in Rwanda, DR Congo, Burundi and Uganda. Other major attractions include; the Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Night Jar, Handsome Francolin, Neumann’s Warbler, Blue headed and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Regal and the Grauer’s warbler. The Kungwe Apalis, Kivu Ground thrush and Willard’s sooty boubou and rare and need more time and luck to spot. The most elusive is the Congo bay owl. Other rare species are Albertine owlet, Shelley’s crimson wing and the Rockefeller’s sunbird.

The pristine network of trails led by an expert guide ensure a spectacular birding experience.

Birding in Akagera national park.

Akagera national park has an amazing ecological composition of wetland, savanna plains, woodlands and rolling hills. Although the park offers the Bi 5 viewing, its diversity makes it an excellent birding destination. 482 bird species have been recorded in this national park offer remarkable birding safaris in Rwanda. These dwell in the different habitats found in the national park. The Red-faced barbet is one of the most sought after in the park. Other major attractions include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged swamp warbler, Northern Brown-throated weaver, white collared Oliveback, Shoebill, Carruthers’s Cisticola, and Grey crowned cranes. Catch the water birds on a boat trip on Lake Ihema. They include; African finfoot, Verreaux’s eagle owl, nightjar and many more.

Birding in Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes national park is located in the Virunga massif which is highly dominated by dormant and vegetated volcanoes. Although the park is famous for the endangered mountain gorillas, it is a prime destination for birding safaris in Rwanda. 200 bird species have been recorded and 17 of them are endemic to the Albertine rift. Most of the bird species here are found in Nyungwe national park except the Scarlet-Tufted Sunbird. This species can be seen on a summiting trek to the Mt Bisoke. The migratory African Pitta can be spotted around the Buhanda Eco park.

Birding in Gishwati-Mukura National Park

Gishwati-Mukara National park, Rwanda’s newest park, lies in the mountains above Lake Kivu. 232 bird species called this reserve home. Some of the bird species here include; Ruwenzori Turaco, Red-throated Alethe, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Regal Sunbird, Woodhoopoe, Ruwenzori Batis, Martial Eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, Purple-breasted Sunbird and many more.

Birding in Lake Kivu and Marsh lands

Lake Kivu offers more than a relaxing break on your Rwanda safari. Birding is a major safari activity on and around the Lake. Large numbers of birds are seen on the shores during the boat cruise or nature walk. White-breasted cormorants, pied kingfishers, Double-tooth Barbet, yellow-bellied Waxbill Brown throated Wattle-eye, Familiar chat sot-flanked Barbet and Osprey are seen during your birding expedition.

10% of Rwanda is covered by wetlands and marshes. Here, birds have thrived and as such, Birdlife international has declared the wetlands of Nyabarongo, Rugexi and Akanyaru as Important Bird Areas. The Rugezi marsh located in the North western part of Rwanda harbors good numbers of birdlife. These include; Grey-crowned cranes, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Papyrus yellow warbler, papyrus canary, white backed duck and the lesser Jacana.

Lake Mugesera and the surrounding wetlands in the south east of Kigali offer spectacular birding. 415 bird species have been recorded in the area and they include; Lesse Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, white winged swamp warbler, white collared oliveback, papyrus canary, red chested sunbird, African fish eagle, palm nut vulture, white backed duck and many more.

Birding in Kigali

Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda. Here, modernity meets the wild. The hotel gardens and the “lover’s Lake” Nyarutarama Lake offers excellent birding even with a constrained amount of time. Bird species like African Goshawk, Bat Hawk, Red-chested Sunbird, Grey-headed Bushshrike, White-collared Oliveback, Lesser Honeyguide, Black Cuckoo-Shrike, Bronzy Sunbirds, Narina Trogon, African Swamphen, Palm Nut Vulture, Crested Barbet, Grey-backed Fiscal, Black-headed Weaver, Brown-backed Honeybird, and Rüppell’s Starling can be seen on this short birding safari. Get up close with the grey crowned cranes by visiting the Umusambi village and interact with the rescued bird species.

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