Birding Safaris in Rwanda: With 703 species, 29 Albertine Rift Endemics, diverse habitats, and some of Africa’s greatest mountain birding, Rwanda is a birder’s delight. Rwanda boasts some of the world’s greatest African montane bird watching. When you combine this with a great road network, safety and security, and a broad range of ecosystems, you get one of Africa’s top eco-tourism destinations. Because of the country’s small size, many birding spots may be visited in a single day, allowing access to some of Africa’s most sought-after species.
The majority of birders would like to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda’s west and Akagera National Park in the eastern part of the country. However, fantastic birding can be found across the country, even close to Kigali, so no matter how long you stay, there will be fantastic birding to be experienced.
Birding Safaris Destinations in Rwanda.
Birding Safaris in Kigali City.
Kigali has good urban birding, hotel gardens often include rare bird species, and Nyarutarama Lake, on the fringes of the Kigali golf course, is often productive. Even those with only a few hours will be satisfied with a visit. African Goshawk, Palm Nut Vulture, Crested Barbet, Grey-backed Fiscal, Rüppell’s Starling, and Black-headed Weaver are among the species, as are the White-collared Oliveback, African Swamphen, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Bat Hawk, Narina Trogon, Lesser Honey guide, Brown-backed Honey bird, Black Cuckoo-Shrike, Olive-bellied, Red-chested Sunbird, and others.
Furthermore, Umusambi Village offers close-up views of rescued Grey-crowned Cranes, and over 100 species have been spotted in the restored ecosystem to far. The Rwanda Environment Management Authority is also constructing a park on the outskirts of Kigali, which will be a good place for urban birding when completed. There are also lovely places near wetlands on the city’s outskirts.
Birding Safaris in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Nyungwe Forest National Park, located in the western province of Rwanda, is a tropical highland rainforest with 322 bird species, 13 primate species, and various plant species that are unique to the area. There have been 29 bird species discovered here thus yet. The Red-collared Babbler is without a doubt the main attraction, and Rwanda is the only safe place to see this lovely bird. Among the other specialities are Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal, Blue-headed, and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, and Neumann’s Warbler. All of these and more may be seen from the park’s well-maintained network of paths, with the help of knowledgeable bird guides.
You could also see Kungwe Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, and Willard’s Sooty Boubou if you have more time and luck. The Congo Bay Owl, Albertine Owlet, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, and Rockefeller’s Sunbird are among Nyungwe’s rarest species, having been reported but seldom seen. Night treks will be available soon, with the prospect of spotting the park’s rare nocturnal species.
Birding Safaris in Akagera National Park.
The Akagera National Park is a savannah park with rolling hills, lakes, marshes, and woodlands. It offers a more traditional African Big 5 safari experience, but it also has excellent birding due to the diversity of habitats. So far, 490 different bird species have been identified in Akagera National Park. The park offers a similar experience to others in the area, but its small size allows you to swiftly explore the diverse habitats and create a good bird list.
The range was restricted. The red-faced barbet is the most sought-after bird, and it should be easy to locate near Akagera Game Lodge and Muyumbu campsite. Among the other range-restricted species and highlights are the Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Papyrus Gonolek, White-Winged Swamp Warbler, Carruthers’ Cisticola, White-collared Oliveback, and Grey-crowned Cranes. The Shoebill is another sought-after species that may be observed on a regular basis in the region. There are also good raptor populations and a large number of water birds in the park.
A boat trip on Lake Ihema should give great views of various water bird species, including African Finfoot, which may also be seen from the Ruzizi Tented Lodge’s deck. A night drive allows you to observe a variety of nocturnal bird species, including Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and various Nightjar species.
Birding Safaris in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes National Park, which includes Rwanda’s tallest peak, Mount Karisimbi, is situated in a region of mostly dormant, densely wooded volcanoes. The park is well-known for its mountain gorillas, but it also has a significant birding potential, with 200 bird species documented from this region, including 17 Albertine Rift Endangered species. The species here are comparable to those seen in Nyungwe, but the Scarlet-Tufted Sunbird can only be found in Rwanda, and the only way to observe it is to trek to the summit of Mt Bisoke. There are also a handful of lakes around VNP that are worth a little trip. Buhanga Eco-Park is also nearby, and African Pitta has been sighted during their migration here, Birding Safaris in Rwanda.
Birding Safaris in Rwanda’s Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
Rwanda’s recently designated Gishwati-Mukura National Park is located in the highlands of west Rwanda, above Lake Kivu. This is Rwanda’s newest national park, and it is now undergoing extensive renovations. Gishwati contains 232 bird species, whereas Mukura has 163, with several Albertine Rift Endemics and forest specialists.
Birding Safaris on Lake Kivu in Rwanda.
Lake Kivu is a delightful layover on an otherwise interesting birding expedition. White-breasted Cormorants, Pied Kingfishers, and Osprey may be seen fishing in the lake throughout their migration. Some of Rwanda’s more frequent terrestrial species may be seen on the lake’s shores, while hotel gardens in Karongi, Rubavu, and Rusizi can give intriguing birding chances. The Double-toothed Barbet, as well as the Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Familiar Chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, and Spot-flanked Barbet, inhabit this region. The area around Kinunu is great for bird watching, particularly for the more common species.
Aside from that, Rwanda’s wetlands and marshes encompass around 10% of the country. Rugezi, Akanyaru Wetlands, and Nyabarongo Wetlands have been recognized as Important Bird Areas by Birdlife International.