Birding Safaris in Rwanda
Birding Safaris in Rwanda : Rwanda is a birder’s paradise, with 703 species, 29 Albertine Rift Endemics, varied habitats, and some of Africa’s greatest highland birding.
Rwanda has some of the greatest African montane birding in the world. Combine that with an excellent road network, safety and security and a diverse range of ecosystems, and you have one of Africa’s greatest eco-tourism locations. Because of the country’s small size, numerous birding locations may be visited in a very short journey, providing access to some of Africa’s most coveted species.
Rwanda has a total of 703 bird species (as of November 2018), and new species have been added to the official list since 2010. There are 29 Albertine Rift Endemics and numerous Lake Victoria Basin Endemics among the resident species, which should be on any birder’s bucket list to thrill while on Rwanda Safaris
Most birders would wish to visit Nyungwe National Park in the west of Rwanda and Akagera National Park in the east. However, wonderful birding can be found across the nation, even close to Kigali, so no matter how long you stay, there will be great birding to be had.
Birding Destinations in Rwanda
Birding Safaris in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe National Park is a tropical highland rainforest with 322 bird species, 13 primate species, and several unique plant species. So far, 29 bird species have been discovered here. The Red-collared Babbler is unquestionably the headline attraction, and Rwanda is the only safe spot to observe this magnificent bird. Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal, Blue-headed, and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, and Neumann’s Warbler are among the other specialties. All of this and more may be viewed easily from the park’s well-maintained network of trails, with the assistance of professional bird guides.
With a little more time and luck, you may also see Kungwe Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, and Willard’s Sooty Boubou. The Congo Bay Owl, Albertine Owlet, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, and Rockefeller’s Sunbird are possibly the rarest of Nyungwe’s species, having been recorded but seldom observed. Night-walks will be offered shortly, with the possibility of tracking down the park’s elusive nocturnal animals.
Birding Safaris in Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is a savannah park that includes undulating hills, lakes, wetlands, and forests. It provides a more typical African Big 5 safari experience, but because of the diversity of ecosystems, it also boasts great birding. To far, 490 bird species have been recorded in Akagera National Park. The park provides a comparable experience to others in the region, but its compact size allows you to quickly explore the various ecosystems and compile a respectable bird list.
The range was limited. The most sought-after bird is the red-faced barbet, which should be easy to spot near Akagera Game Lodge and Muyumbu campground. Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Papyrus Gonolek, White-Winged Swamp Warbler, Carruthers’ Cisticola, White-collared Oliveback, and Grey-crowned Cranes are among the other range-restricted species and highlights. Another desired species that may be seen in the area on a regular basis is the Shoebill. The park also has healthy raptor populations and a high number of water birds.
A boat excursion on Lake Ihema should provide excellent views of several water bird species, including African Finfoot, which may also be viewed from the deck of the Ruzizi Tented Lodge. A night-drive provides the opportunity to see numerous nocturnal bird species, including Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and several Nightjar species.
Birding Safari in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park, which features Rwanda’s highest peak, Mount Karisimbi, is located in an area of largely inactive, thickly forested volcanoes. The park is famed for its mountain gorillas, but it also has a strong birding potential, with 200 bird species recorded from this area, including 17 Albertine Rift Endemics. The species here are similar to Nyungwe, but the Scarlet-Tufted Sunbird can only be seen in Rwanda, and a hike to the peak of Mt Bisoke is your best option for seeing it. There are also a number of lakes in the vicinity of VNP that are worth a brief detour. Buhanga Eco-Park is also close by, and African Pitta has been spotted here during their migration.
Birding Safaris in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is located in the western province of Rwanda, above Lake Kivu, in the highlands. This is Rwanda’s newest national park, and it is now undergoing major repair. Gishwati has 232 species of birds, while Mukura has 163 species, including many Albertine Rift Endemics and forest specialists.
Birding Safaris within Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is a pleasant stopover on a birding journey that is not without its attractions. During its migration, White-breasted Cormorants, Pied Kingfishers, and Osprey may be observed fishing in the lake. Some of Rwanda’s more common terrestrial species may be seen along the lake’s beaches, while hotel gardens in Karongi, Rubavu, and Rusizi can provide fascinating birding opportunities. This area is frequently visited by the Double-toothed Barbet, as well as the Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Familiar Chat, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, and Spot-flanked Barbet. The region near Kinunu is very ideal for birding, especially for the more common species.
Birding Safaris in Rwanda
Kigali offers excellent urban birding, hotel gardens typically have unusual bird species, and Nyarutarama Lake, often known as “Lover’s Lake,” on the outskirts of the Kigali golf course, is always fruitful. Even those with only a few hours to spare will be pleased with a visit. Species include the African Goshawk, Palm Nut Vulture, Crested Barbet, Grey-backed Fiscal, Rüppell’s Starling, and Black-headed Weaver, as well as 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 many more.
Other Birding Destinations in Rwanda
Other than that, Rwanda’s wetlands and marshes cover around 10% of the nation. Birdlife International has designated Rugezi, Akanyaru Wetlands, and Nyabarongo Wetlands as Important Bird Areas.
Rugezi Marsh, situated in northwest Rwanda nearby Gicumbi, is Rwanda’s sole RAMSAR Site and is habitat to healthy populations of Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, as well as Grey-crowned Cranes, Papyrus Canary, and Papyrus Yellow Warbler. At the southern end of the marsh, there is an area of open water known as Lake Nyagafunzo; a boat trip here is ideal for watching some of the country’s most frequent waterbirds, as well as the potential of seeing White-backed Duck and Lesser Jacana.