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Birdwatching, Rwanda

Rwanda Forest Birdwatching & Gorilla Tracking Tour - 6 Days

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Rwanda Forest Birdwatching & Gorilla Tracking Tour - 6 Days

Rwanda has 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.  

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.

  • Day 1: Nyungwe Forest National Park
  • Day 2: Birdwatching Nyungwe Forest Reserve
  • Day 3: Whole day birding Nyungwe Forest
  • Day 4: Birding from Nyungwe to Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorilla trekking and birds
  • Day 5: Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
  • Day 6: End of Rwanda Birdwatching & Gorilla Tracking Tour - Departure
Itinerary

Day 1: Nyungwe Forest National Park

Arrival for tour and transfer to Nyungwe Forest Reserve

Overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 2: Birdwatching Nyungwe Forest Reserve

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 Rockefeller’s 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-Thrushm, 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 Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 3: Whole Day Birding Nyungwe Forest

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 Forest Lodge | Gisakura Guest House (Full Board)

Day 4: Birding from Nyungwe to Volcanoes National Park for Mountain Gorilla Trekking and Birds

Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Full Board)

Day 5: Gorilla Trekking in 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.

Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge | Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Full Board)

Day 6: End of Rwanda Birdwatching & Gorilla Tracking Tour - Departure

 

 

Accommodation
Inclusions
  • Private transportation using a 4x4 safari vehicle
  • Services of a good English speaking birding guide
  • Accommodation with meals during the tour
  • Birding fees and entrance to the parks
  • Gorilla tracking permit

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“ The rangers at the park where excellent and the gorillas did not seem at all fazed by us joining their family for the hour. We could see how much the rangers cared for these beautiful apes which made the experience all the more special.”

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