12 Days Birding Rwanda and Gorilla Trekking Safari

Rwanda has three national parks that are Important Birding Areas (IBAs) according to Birdlife international. The parks are Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, and Nyungwe National Park with over 700 bird species. The other areas for birding include agricultural lands and swampy areas that are outside the protected areas. The birds are easy to see especially in Akagera national park which is mainly Savannah and woodland. Nyungwe forest offers the best site for the Albertine endemics found nowhere else in Rwanda.

Rwanda Key bird species

Shoebill, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turacos, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Chestnut Owlet, Olive Woodpeckers, Little grebe, White-bellied Robin Chat, Mountain Masked Apalis, Northern pintail, Handsome francoline, White-headed Black Chat, Secretary bird, Western banded eagle, African hawk eagle, black bellied bustard, Red-chested flufftail, African finfoot, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Caruther’s Cisticola, Collared Pratincole, Emerald spotted wood-dove, Klaas’s Cuckoo, African wood Owl, Broad billed Roller, Malachite Kingfisher,

Habitats for Birds in Rwanda

Forest, Acacia Savanna, grassland, agricultural lands, moist woodland, Papyrus Swamps, Lakes, and rivers

Optional activity

Chimpanzee Trekking


Day 1: Arrival for Birding Rwanda and Gorilla trekking safari

Today you arrive in Rwanda “the land of a thousand hills.” A representative of Kagera Safaris will be at the airport to pick you and transfer you to hotel. Depending on time of arrival you have an opportunity for a short Kigali city tour.

Drive time – 20 minutes

Day 2: Birding to Akagera National Park

After breakfast at your hotel, we set off for Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda bordering with Tanzania. We will bird the marshy areas for species like cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, and Pied Crow, Village, Black-headed, and Veillots Black Weavers.

We arrive at our lodge later that evening and check in for the night.

Drive time – 2 hours 30 minutes
B, L & D

Days 3 – 4: Birding in Akagera National Park

grey crowned cranes in Akagera National ParkWe will spend the next two days birding Akagera national park home to about 500 bird species. In the morning we bird the Savannah and woodland areas for species such as Pearl spotted owlet, brown snake eagle, red faced barbet and shouldered robin chat etc.

The afternoon we take a boat trip on Lake Ihema for African fish eagles, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Rufous-bellied Heron, Greater Swamp Warblers, Slender-billed Weavers, and Swamp Flycatcher. More species include Goliath, Black-headed, and Squacco Herons, Little Bittern, Grey Crowned Crane, African Open bill, African Darter, Black tern, African Wattled Plover, Long-toed and Senegal Lapwings, Water Thick-knee, and Giant, Pied and Malachite Kingfisher etc.

While birding Akagera national park, we may encounter herds of buffaloes, Impala, Zebras, water-bucks and Elephants.

B, L & D

Day 5: Birding Nyungwe forest

Today we drive to Nyungwe forest national park from Akagera national park with several short stopovers of birding. In the swampy marshes and Papyrus we search for White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, Papyrus Gonolek and Grauer’s Swamp Warbler before reaching our lodge.

Drive time –  7 hoursOr Helicopter (Robinson) –  35 minutes
B, L & D

Days 6 – 7: Albertine Rift Endemics

white-eyed slaty-flycatcherNyungwe forest national park is part of the remaining large montane forests on the African continent and rich in birds especially the Albertine Rift endemics.

We have two days of birding Nyungwe forest and some of the species we search for include the Handsome Francolin, Great Blue and Rwenzori Turacos, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers. Stripe-breasted Tit, Red-collared Babbler, Archer’s Robin Chat, White-bellied Robin Chat, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Mountain Masked, Black-faced, and Collared Apalises, Rwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Short-tailed Warbler, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, and Purple-breasted and Regal Sunbirds, etc.

Optional: Chimpanzee trekking, Colobus monkey trekking and canopy walk

B, L & D

Day 8 – 9: Birding to Lake Kivu

Today after breakfast, we start our journey northwards to lake Kivu with several stopovers for birding in the marshes, forested areas and agricultural areas. This journey can take the whole day depending on how active the birding en route. Lake Kivu will provide the much needed rest and opportunities for birding along the shores on arrival that evening.

Drive time –  3 hours
B, L & D

Day 10: Transfer to Volcanoes national park

volcanoes park rwandaThe Virunga volcanoes region shared between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda represent one of the richest biological areas of the world. It was here that Dian Fossey began her research into Mountain Gorillas in the late 1960’s. The drive to Musanze/Kinigi from Lake Kivu in Gisenyi is about an hour but with birding along the way it can be several hours. We will have a short stop at a patch of forest for possible sightings of Narina’s Trogon after which we proceed to our lodge for overnight before gorilla trekking.

Drive time –  3 hour 
B, L & D

Days 11: Volcanoes national park

mountain-gorilla-volcanoes-parkToday you explore the jungles of volcanoes national park in anticipation of meeting a group of mountain gorillas. We start with a briefing at the visitor’s center and later you are divided into different groups and allocated a ranger guide who will clarify in case of any questions and how to behave. The trek can last from a few minutes to several hours depending on where the gorillas nested the previous night – you need to be relatively fit to enjoy this experience. Once located, you spend one hour with these magnificent animals.

How you spend the rest of the day depends on what time you get back from the gorilla trek. You can choose to spend the rest of the afternoon ‘taking it easy’ in the lodge grounds which holds a variety of birds.

B, L & D

Day 12: End of the Rwanda Birding and gorilla safari

After birding  near the lodge area, you start on the return trip to Kigali birding along the way. On arrival in Kigali, you proceed to the airport for your return flight home. Thank you for birding Rwanda with us.

Drive time –  7 hoursOr Helicopter (Robinson) –  35 minutes
B & L

Suggested Safaris

Zebras in Serengeti
8 Days Tanzania Safari and Zanzibar Beach
6 Days Rwanda Primates Safari
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12 Days Uganda Primates and Wildlife Safari
7 Days Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration & Diani Beach Safari
14 Days Uganda’s Safari Highlights

Why Book With Us?

  • Customized travel
  • Accredited
  • Passionate Guides
  • Comfortable Vehicles
  • Intimate Lodges
  • Responsible travel

Got a Question?

Don’t hesitate to give us a call or write us. We are an expert team and we excited you.

Mob: +256 782 477992
Tel: +256 392 176513

info [at] kagerasafaris.com

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