The 18-days Rwanda birding and wildlife tour is a memorable adventure as it combines both birds and wildlife animals found in Rwanda’s three prominent Parks that is; Akagera, Nyungweforest, and Volcanoes National Park.
Day 1: Arrival at Kigali Airport
On arrival at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, you will be received by one of our professional bird guides who will transfer you to check-in at the hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you shall visit Nyarutarama artificial Lake, one of the convenient birding spots within Kigali city.
This will give you an enjoyable introduction to some waterfowls like; White-faced Whistling Duck, Little Grebe, Common Moorhen, Yellow-billed Duck, Squacco Heron, Spur-winged Geese, Little Egret, Hadada Ibis, Black Crake among others. Different types of Weavers, Warblers, Cisticolas, raptors and many others. Overnight in Kigali
Day 2: Transfer to Akagera national park for birding and wildlife safari.
Early morning breakfast, check out from Kigali, 110km drive towards the northeastern region to Rwanda’s only savanna national park. Akagera National Park embraces a rich bird checklist of over 525 species. On the way to the park, you shall be driving through Rice fields, cultivations, mountains and different Villages, where you should expect to encounter a number of birds like Palm Swifts, Black-crowned Waxbill, Common Bulbul, Village Weavers, Red-eyed Dove, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret and many more.
Through the southern part of Akagera National Park, you will check in to the park, after a few minutes of registration on entry, you will straightaway start birding in the park. Driving slowly, from side to side the park is covered by woodland, wetland, some grassland and thickets, all this gives you chances of sighting different species of birds like White-browed Coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Grey Hornbill, Long-crested Eagle, Woodland Kingfisher, Red-necked Francolin, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Ross’s Turaco, Eastern Plantain-eater with many others. You’re also most likely to encounter a variety of wildlife which includes, elephants, buffalos, Giraffes, Zebras, Hyenas and several antelopes like Bushbuck, Topis, Oribis and waterbucks, Checkin to the lodge for lunch and prepare for the evening Sunset cruise at lake Ihema.
After lunch with your guide, you shall go for the evening game viewing, trying to search for the highlight birds of this southern Akagera National park, the Red-faced Barbet, Ruaha Chat, Crested Barbet and others, this game drive will also offer you many chances of sighting’ Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Speckled Mousebird, African Gray Hornbill and Broad-billed Roller. Overnight in southern Akagera National Park.
Day 3: Morning birding in the southern part of the park and boat cruise at Lake Ihema
Early morning breakfast, you shall start your morning game drive as early as possible, before the day gets hot, many birds are very active and most of the animals feed on wet grass and hide in shades when the sun gets hotter, you will try a number of different spots for specific bird species, like Crested Barbet, Black-crowned Tchagra, Black-bellied Bustard, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Tabora Cisticola. As it gets hotter you will drive back for lunch at the hotel and get set for an evening boat cruise at lake Ihema.
After lunch with your guide you can choose to do a brief game viewing towards lake Ihema, many chances of sighting Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Speckled Mousebird, African Gray Hornbill, Broad-billed Roller. You shall do a boat trip along the shores of Rwanda’s second-largest Lake after lake Kivu. Here you’re most likely to get great aquatic bird sightings, a single nicest way to explore the park and you can also spot some of the wildlife which does live in the waters of Ihema lake. This will give you a great experience and increase your reptiles, mammals and bird checklist in Akagera National Park.
After the boat cruise, you can choose to do a night game drive to look out for the nocturnal birds like Black-shouldered Nightjar, Swamp Nightjar, Square-tailed Nightjar, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, African Scops-Owl with many others. Night hours also highlight chances of sighting Leopard, Hyenas and lions actively trying to hunt.
Note: Night game drive, is an activity paid differently from park entry and is conducted by the park authorities. Overnight in the south of Akagera national park
Day 4: Full day birding towards the Northern Akagera National Park
After early morning breakfast, you shall check out from the lodge with your packed lunch, you will drive while scanning through the woodland towards the northern part of the park, providing you chances of sighting different birds and animals at your pace. In the northern part of Akagera national park, you shall drive to Mutumba hill in the western boundaries of the park to experience the highest point of the Park, this hill will give you an excellent view of the park and surrounding areas.
Being the highest point, it highlights chances of sighting different rare Francolins like Coqui, Ring-necked and Red-winged Francolin, Golden-breasted Bunting can also be a good catch. This same trail as you begin to slop provides you with a chance to see many different animals including, elephants with other unalike species of antelopes. You shall spend a night in the northern part of this park for a game drive in Kilala plain, before driving departing the park. Overnight in Northern Akagera National Park
Day 5: Birding Kilala Plains, transfer to Kigali for afternoon birding at Umusambi Village
Early morning breakfast, you shall check out of the lodge and start birding towards Kilala plains for the morning game drive. Since Kilala Plains has a variety of herbivores like Impalas and waterbucks that attracts predators like lions and leopards, this heightens the chances of sighting different species of birds that come to scavenge on the carrions. Among these birds are the White-headed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture and Marabou Storks sometimes. After birding Kilala Plains you will transfer to Kigali, where you shall have your lunch and prepare for evening bird at Umusambi Village.
After lunch in Kigali, you shall, we shall check in to the lodge refresh and get ready for evening birding at Umusambi Village, its 13 kilometres from Kigali town to this beautifully restored wetland area, it provides a sanctuary for the endangered Grey Crowned Cranes saved from the illegal pet trade. In the same wetland, you shall have a chance of sighting many other special species of birds like African Firefinch, Green-winged Pytilia, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, White-collared Olive back, Holub’s Golden-Weaver. After 2 to 3 hours of birding, you shall drive back to the lodge to rest and prepare for another long drive to Kinigi, Musanze (volcanoes national park) the next morning. Overnight in Kigali
Day 6: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park and afternoon birding in Buhanga forest
Early morning breakfast will make you read to checkout for over 3 hours’ drive towards the northwest of Rwanda. As you approach Musanze town, you shall have a quick stop at Mukungwa river, where you shall try to scan around the river for Malachite Kingfishers, Common Stonechat and Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. Drive and check in to your lodge for lunch.
After lunch, you will drive to the Volcanoes National Park head offices to make payments and pick up the ranger who will lead you to the Buhanga forest. This forest will give you a good orientation to forest birding as you prepare for the next day’s birding in the Virunga’s: Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, African Yellow White-eye, Green-headed Sunbird, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Northern Puffback and many others. later in the evening, you will retire back to your lodge. Overnight in Musanze (kinigi)
Day 7: Birding in Volcanoes National Park
As soon as you finish your early morning breakfast, your guide shall lead you to the park head equators to meet a ranger who will escort you with your bird guide, throughout the whole birding activity in the volcanoes forest. While hiking in this forest, you shall highlight chances of ticking a good number of bird species out of about 200 bird species, including 15 Albertine rift endemics recorded in Volcanoes National Park. Cape Robin-Chat, Brown-capped Weaver, Rwenzori Turaco, and White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, can be sighted on a good day. Night in Kinigi
Day 8: Full day birding Rugezi Wetland
Very early breakfast will set you ready to drive, over 64 kilometres to Rwanda’s largest protected marsh (wetland), where you shall spend the day birding on the edges of this wetland, Rugezi wetland is also a natural habitat to one Albertine Rift Endemic, well known as the Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, which is mostly the major target of this day. Lanner Falcon, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Gray-capped Warbler, Chubb’s Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, White-winged Swamp Warbler, Swamp Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher can be sighted with many others. Overnight in Kinigi
Day 9: Golden monkey Trekking in Volcanoes National Park and Transfer to Lake Kivu
Today you will need to wake up very early for breakfast, the activity begins with a briefing at the park headquarters, where you will be allocated a golden monkey group to trek with and a guide who will be showing you the trails to follow during the activity. This activity takes place between 30 minutes to 4 hours and once the Golden Monkey is found, you will be allowed only one hour with them in their natural habitat, watching them swinging from one tree to another as you take photos and record the moment. After trekking, you will then be driven back to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, you will check out from the lodge and transfer to Lake Kivu. Overnight in Lake Kivu
Day 10: Morning boat cruise at Lake Kivu and transfer to Gishwarti forest
Morning breakfast will be at your letup, as you will be waiting to take a boat. This morning boat cruise will also provide you with a chance of getting more waterbird species, that you may not have marked seen on your checklist during this safari. The boat can take between 1 to 3 hours depending on the interest of the client, however, charged differently. After the boat, you will have lunch and be transferred to Gishwati forest. Depending on the time you will reach Gishwati, you will check in to the lodge and consider a leisure evening birding that will prepare you for the morning full birding. Overnight in Gishwati
Day 11: Birding in Gishwati forest and transfer to Nyungwe Forest.
Early morning breakfast, birding in Gishwati forest will begin straight away, the forest beyond doubt will be the best Albertine Rift Endemic curtain-raiser, before reaching Nyungwe Forest, here, 17 Albertine Rift Endemic bird species have been confirmed present in this forest out of the 27 that are recorded in Nyungwe Forest. You should carefully lookout for the Black-billed Turaco, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Black-tailed Oriole, Rwenzori Batis, White-browed Crombec, Black-throated Apalis, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler with many more. you will have lunch after birding and check out for transfer to Nyungwe Forest. Overnight in Nyungwe.
Day 12: Morning birding and afternoon canopy walk in Nyungwe forest
After breakfast you will set off for morning birding, some kilometres drive to Uwinka park offices, you will pick a ranger, walk while birding watching on the waysides, most of the birds are always busy enjoying the rising sun, pruning, calling and flying around in the morning hours. Rwenzori Batis, Northern Puffback, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, African Yellow White-eye, Strange Weaver, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbird can be sighted.
After lunch you will enjoy, the canopy walks, this is an exhilarating experience done in Nyungwe Forest National Park on a suspended bridge 70m high above the great Nyungwe forest, the ranger will guide you on this 160m walkway, this will offer you, great views of the great East African Region, Lake Kivu, different animals, birds, monkeys and many others. Overnight in Nyungwe
Day 13: Full day birding in Nyungwe forest national park
Early morning breakfast, you shall be joined by the ranger and drive straight to Kindura trail, here you’re likely to try looking for, Doherty’s Bushshrike, Great Blue Turaco, Black-throated Apalis, Brown-caped Weaver, White-starred Robin, Mountain Illadopsis, Albertine Boubou, White-headed Woodhoopoes and many other good birds of this forest, most of these birds are very active during morning hours, which gives high chances and joy to bird watcher and photographers as well.
You shall have your parked lunch break in the wildness, this still provides you with the chance of sighting more birds even when you’re having lunch. After lunch your guide with the ranger will find another favourable trail ahead for the evening birding, you will still search for the nice birds that may not yet be on your watch list for that safari. Overnight in Nyungwe
Day 14: Full day Birding Nyungwe forest National Park
After your early breakfast, the ranger will still join you and drive to the park, this day you will try the Kamiranzovu marsh trail, this hiking trail to Kamiranzovu swamp is home to many different birds species including the water birds, this trail takes between 3 to 4 hour respectively. A monger birds you can expect are Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Cinnamon Branken-Warbler, Rwenzori Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler.
You shall have a lunch break and continue with afternoon birding. After lunch, you will try to walk along the roadsides in the forest, here your number one target can be the Handsome Francolin that always likes feeding on the roadside edges of the forest. Your guide will drive you back to the lodge. Overnight in Nyungwe.
Day 15: Chimpanzee trekking and evening birding in Nyungwe forest.
Today you will wake up around 0400hr in the morning, 0430hr should find you at one of the three reception centres of Nyungwe Forest depending on the side of the park. This is because chimpanzees are most easily seen very early morning. By 0500hrs you head to the starting point of the trek.
And after finding these Chimpanzees like the Golden monkeys and Gorillas you will strictly spend one hour experiencing their daily activities. Depending on how tired you shall be after trekking, you will choose from resting or birding around the forest. Overnight in Nyungwe.
Day 16: Birding in Nyungwe forest national park
Early morning breakfast will make you ready for another full day of birding in Nyungwe forest, this time you will try the Igishigishigi trail from Uwinka head offices, the amazing walk through the Igishigishigi trail in Nyungwe will give you an opportunity to encounter an abundant array of unique and captivating birdlife, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Albertine Boubou, Dusky Tit, Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Red-collared Mountian-Babbler and Brown-capped Weaver are some of the bird you are likely to sight with many others. After the lunch break, you will start birding while coming back to the Uwinka offices to find your car and drive back to the lodge. Overnight in Nyungwe
Day 17: Morning birding in Nyungwe forest and transfer to Kigali
Today you will have early morning breakfast and checkout from the lodge, since the ranger will not join you this last day, you shall do different birding stops along the way and scan from the main road as you drive out of the Nyungwe forest to Kigali. Lunchtime will find you in Kigali, here you can choose to have lunch before or after checking in to the lodge depending on your arrival time in Kigali. In the evening you can take a drive through Kigali for some shopping if necessary and even visit the Kigali Genocide memorial, this is the place set for remembrance, learning, and honouring victims of genocide against the Tutsi. Overnight in Kigali
Day 18: Departure
Today depending on your check-in hours for your flight, the guide will drive you to the airport and this will end your trip.
18-days Rwanda Birding and wildlife tour Includes
- Park fees(For non-residents)
- Chimpanzee permits(one per person, non-resident)
- All activities(Unless labelled as optional)
- All accommodation(Unless listed as upgrade)
- A professional driver/guide
- All transportation(Unless labelled as optional)
- All Taxes/VAT
- Meals(As specified in the day-by-day section)
- Drinking water(On all days)
18-days Rwanda Birding and wildlife tour Excludes
- International flights(From/to home)
- Roundtrip airport transfer
- Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour
- Tips(Tipping guideline US$10.00 pp per day)
- Personal items(Souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)
- The government imposed an increase in taxes and/or park fees