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.