12 Days Birding Rwanda and Gorilla trekking Safari

Rwanda has three Important Birding Areas (IBAs) i.e. Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, and Nyungwe National Park with over 700 species of birds including the Red-Faced Barbet, Bennett’s Woodpecker, and Papyrus Gonolek. Rwanda is located in the Albertine Rift valley, which offers an ideal landscape and habitat for birds.

Safari tour package:
A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Price per person*:
$3530 - $7200
Includes internal flights:
Length of safari:
12 days
Best months:
All year
Countries visited:
Parks visited:
Activity level:
Very Active - Trekking, mountain biking, kayaking
Safari type:
Birding safaris Birding Boating safaris Boating
*Prices are estimates and used as guidelines only. Please contact the tour operator for an exact quote.
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This tour will take you to the three important birding areas in Rwanda to explore and watch some of the over 700 bird species found within the borders of Rwanda. Akagera national park will offer the savannah bird species and those normally found in the marshes. Nyungwe forest and volcanoes national park will offer you the albertine rift endemics with forest species.

Day 1: Arrival for the Rwanda Birding Safari

Rwanda known as the land of “a thousand hills,” on this trip you will confirm this slogan as you transverse the country. Your guide/ representative staff will be at the airport to pick you and transfer you to hotel.

Day 2:Transfer to Akagera National Park

After a hearty breakfast, we set off for Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda,bordering with Tanzania. While on the way, we bird as we look out for species such as Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, and Pied Crow, Village, Black-headed (or Yellow-backed), and striking Vieillot’s Black Weavers who seem to always be busy nest building, or a White-headed Black Chat perched up. Grey-backed Fiscals love lining the fence poles whereas Fan-tailed Widowbirds and Carruther’sCisticolasare seen in the marshes.

Days 3 - 4:Explore Akagera National Park

Akagera national park is a varied habitat and home to about 500 bird species and other wildlife. A boat trip on Lake Ihemawill provide opportunities to watch the herons, African Fish Eagles, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and egrets, and the Rufous-bellied Heron. The Lesser Swamp Warblers, Slender-billed Weavers, and the dainty Swamp Flycatcher are usually in the dense papyrus.

The wetlands species will include Goliath, Black-headed, Striated, and Squacco Herons, Little Bittern, Grey Crowned Crane, African Open bill, African Darter, Black Crake, African Wattled Plover, Long-toed and Senegal Lapwings, Water Thick-knee, Blue-headed Coucal, and Giant Kingfisher.

In the savannah and forests, we search for Black-chested, Brown, and Western Banded Snake Eagles, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-necked Spurfowl, Ross’s Turaco, White-headed Vulture, Black-collared and Red-faced Barbets, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, and Klaas’s, Red-chested and Black Cuckoos. 

The whole time we will enjoy sights of African Buffalo, Impala, Zebra, Bushbuck, and African Elephants. The Hippopotamus are usually in the water bodies or surrounding areas when the weather permits.

Day 5: Transfer to Nyungwe forest with birding enroute

This morning we leave for Nyungwe forest and have various stopovers searching for different bird species especially in the papyrus along the roads before reaching our lodge.

Days 6 - 7: Albertine Endemics in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe forest is rich in birds, including most of the Albertine Rift endemics and hosts one of the largest expanse of montane forests on the African continent. Look out for White-bellied and Archer’s Robin Chat, Mountain Masked, Black-faced, and Collared Apalises, Handsome Francolin, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turacos, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Stripe-breasted Tit, the remarkable Red-collared Babbler, Rwenzori Batis, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Chapin’s Flycatcher, and Purple-breasted and Regal Sunbirds, and many more.
There will be lots of other wildlife to see as well. If you are interested, Chimpanzee tracking can be included on the itinerary. We are more likely to see L’Hoest’s or Blue Monkeys, and several butterfly species.

Day 8 Drive by the shores of Lake Kivu

After an early breakfast, we start journey to Lake Kivu through a forest trail and later drive along the shores of Lake Kivu and breaking our journey with a night on the lakeshore.

Day 9: Transfer to the Virunga Volcanoes - Home to Mountain Gorillas

The Virunga volcanoes are sharedbetween Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda representing one of the richest biological areas of the world. We will have a short stopover birding along the way.

Days 10 &11: Gorillas in the Mist

Today we trek the dense jungles of the Virunga ranges, where Diane Fossey began her research into Mountain Gorillas in the late 1960’s. We trek through the habitat of these enormous animals after a briefing at the visitor’s center. The trek can last from an hour to seven hours depending on where the gorillas nested the previous night – you need to be relatively fit to enjoy this experience. Once sited, we spend one hour with them. 

How we spend the rest of the day depends on what time we get back from our Gorilla trek, but we expect to have a late lunch and then spend the rest of the afternoon resting.

We will have an opportunity to visit bisoke which requires us to be relatively fit and later visit a cultural village.

Day 12: End of Rwanda Birding Tour

We set out on the return trip to Kigali, arriving in time for the flight back home. 

Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.

  • Akagera Game lodge, Ruzizi tented camp, Nyungwe forest lodge, Nyungwe top view lodge, Lake Kivu serena, Water front, Paradise malahide, mt Gorilla lodge, Le Bambou, Virunga lodge

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Kagera Safaris

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- We offer private/custom safaris
- We offer group tours/safaris
- Our main focus is: Mid-level safaris
- We book pre/post-safari attractions
T: 256 782 477992
Since: Jul 2012

Parks you will visit

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Animals you will see

African buffalo
African buffalo
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Activities you can do

Bird watching
Bird watching
Boating / canoeing
Boating / canoeing
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Game drives
Game drives
Night drives
Night drives
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