Birding Trails in Nyungwe are pathways/routes which travelers who visit Nyungwe forest can take to be able to catch a better glimpse of the famous birding life in this montane forest. Nyungwe national park is one of the seven important birding areas found in Rwanda that has been considered as an Important Bird Area by the Birdlife International. Nyungwe is home to 310 bird species and surprisingly 29 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
Nyungwe is the rich in terms of biodiversity with different flowering plants, marsh area which provides food and shelter for birds to keep them around because Nyungwe forest was the only forest to stay green during the ice age! Besides, Nyungwe is the best birding site in Albertine Rift & it is also known to be the most easily accessible tropical rain forest in the Albertine Rift with its well-constructed trails that help birders during bird watching safaris.
Nyungwe National park its self has several birding trails and each one gives a different experience as they are different in terms of the altitude, vegetation, accessibility, and ease of hiking. But there are trails that are used specifically for birding which offer the rich checklist to birders including:
Karamba trail: Is an Amazing trail of all Birding Trails in Nyungwe. The located in the West of the park, it is moderate, flat and quite open than any other birding trail. Because of its past history as it was center of the market in Nyungwe also mining degraded the area. Here you are going to get a chance to see the red wings of Turaco flying and chorus of yellow ramped tinkerbird. You can also sit for a short moment and see them flying freely. If you are staying around the Park I advise you to go birding there but in the dawn, because the sunrise view of the trail is incomparable one, nevertheless morning bird’s songs.
Bigugu trail: One of the best Birding Trails in Nyungwe. The trial takes 6hours just to complete it. It is also 7km long, the trail is the highest peak of the Nyungwe with 2950m above the sea level so, and the trail is difficult because it is steep. When it is the rainy season there is much muddy and slippery, even the trail is difficult but in this trail, there is good chance to spot Red collared mountain babbler than any other trail in the forest. The trail is rich in terms of biodiversity. Don’t ever leave behind your mineral water, hiking stick and hiking boot.
Kamiranzovu trail: the trail is known to be unique because it serves both plant and animals experience, the trail is a moderate difficulty, swamp in the high altitude. It takes 3hours to complete the trail but the time may be more than that as you visit it you get excited and slow down your speed. It is 6km long the best site in Nyungwe to spot the endemic Grauer’s swamp warbler, pairs of the great blue Turaco, and many other endemic species. For the botanist, this the right place as the Kamiranzovu trail accommodates many orchids’ species as possible.
Isumo waterfall trail: This trail heads to the biggest waterfall of Nyungwe national park. Isumo waterfall trail is an amazing of all the Birding Trails in Nyungwe. Before reach to the entry of the trail, you first pass through Gisakura while enjoying the beautiful view of tea plantation estate where it is hard to miss common stonechat, Blue-headed Coucal, striped pipit, tropical Boubou, and many others are common there. So you can experience the view of the tea harvest, and a nice view of the Lake Kivu and high mountains of Nyungwe as you out of the forest. The trail is quite difficult and the long part of it is steep all the way from the waterfall to the starting point, the entry of the trail. Here birders are lucky for one of the best Turaco, Ruwenzori Turaco, and many others. It is a 6 km hike thus it takes 4hours for all trail.
Inganji trail: Inganji is the Kinyarwanda name of Turaco. This is the newest trail of Nyungwe National Park named after the beautiful bird species called Turaco but is also rich one in terms of bird watching which is located on side of the Gisakura reception, as you enter into the trail you are welcomed by choruses of the different species of birds mostly, Blackface Rufous Warbler, short-tailed warbler and starlings flying over you.
What to carry for Birding in Nyungwe
Some of the essentials for Birding in Nyungwe include; Binocular, Field guide book “Birds of East Africa” is recommended, All-weather Notebook and pencil, Raincoat, Hiking shoes, Camera, Snacks and water.
Remember to book a professional park guide for a memorable experience from the oldest and untouched tropical rainforest.