Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour
Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour
TOP BIRDS OF THE TOUR – AS VOTED BY GUESTS
- Rwenzori Turaco
- Stripe-breasted Tit
- Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher
- Papyrus Gonolek
- Rwenzori/ Collared Apalis
- Rwenzori Batis
- Regal Sunbird
- Green-capped Eremomela
- Ruaha Chat
TOP MAMMALS OF THE TOUR – AS VOTED BY GUESTS
- Mountain Gorilla
- Eastern Chimpanzee
- Golden Monkey
- African Elephant
- Black Rhino
- Southern Giant Pouched Rat
- Common Large-spotted/ Blotched Genet
DAY 1: 27/05/2022 – ARRIVAL IN KIGALI; UMUSAMBI VILLAGE TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
We landed at the Kigali International Airport early, where our dedicated Driver-Guide, Claudien, was awaiting us. We transferred to our nearby hotel, where we enjoyed breakfast. This would mark the start to our great Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour. A Striped Skink was basking on the wall here. After breakfast, we took a short drive to the magical Umusambi Village and Cranes Center. We enjoyed birding here all morning as we walked various trails around the swamp.
Highlight birds included Spur-winged Goose, White-browed Robin-Chat, Long-crested Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture, Red-chested Sunbird, Swamp Flycatcher, African Stonechat, Lesser Honeyguide, Yellow-fronted Canary, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Arrow-marked Babbler, Black-headed Gonolek, Yellow-throated Greenbul/ Leaf-love, African Openbill, Grey Crowned Crane, Violet-backed Starling, Black-headed Weaver, Slender-billed Weaver, Grey-capped Warbler, Highland Rush Warbler, Trilling Cisticola, Woodland Kingfisher and African Pygmy Kingfisher.
We took a brief visit to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial; before leaving Kigali behind. Our drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park took us on a great route, as we enjoyed Rwanda’s countryside. Birds on the way included Hooded Vulture, Yellow-billed Kite and Pied Crow. We then checked in to our lodge for the night; at the foothills of the Volcanoes Mountains.
DAY 2: 28/05/2022 – VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK AND GORILLA TREKKING; TO NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
We had a great morning in the massive Volcanoes National Park. The peaks of all Volcanoes were visible today i.e. Mt. Muhabura, Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sabinyo, Mt. Bisoke and Mt. Karisimbi. Our morning majorly involved trekking Mt. Bisoke for the amazing Mountain Gorillas – the cream moment on our Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour. We had a wonderful family made up of adult females, youngsters, one black-back male and two silver-back males. We spent one very exciting hour with these great apes, as we watched them go about their day. On our way out, we bumped into a small group of Golden Monkeys near the forest edge.
The hike to and from the gorillas had some great birds as well and we added Yellow-crowned Canary, calling Albertine Boubou, Rwenzori Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Streaky Seedeater, Cape Robin-Chat, White-necked Raven, Chubb’s Cisticola, Abyssinian Thrush, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Green White-eye and Rameron/ African Olive Pigeon.
We then embarked on an afternoon drive to Nyungwe Forest National Park, driving along the scenic Lake Kivu Belt. Here we enjoyed watching some of the islands on Lake Kivu, as well as many roadside birds e.g. Hamerkop, Augur Buzzard, Pied Kingfisher, Cape Wagtail, Speckled Pigeon, Baglafecht Weaver, Variable Sunbird and Northern Grey-headed Sparrow. We also enjoyed great views of Mt. Nyiragongo and other Volcanoes visible across the border into DR Congo.
DAY 3: 29/05/2022 – NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK AND EASTERN CHIMPANZEE TREKKING IN CYAMUDONGO FOREST
Our day was packed with great activities; as our Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour explored deeper into the vast Nyungwe Forest National Park area. We started with a morning drive to Cyamudongo Forest. Here our target was the magical Chimpanzee Trek. We enjoyed a long walk through the forest trails, as our guides shared different aspects on the natural history. We finally arrived at the first Eastern Chimpanzee site, where we also had a group of Dent’s/ Mona Monkeys feeding. We were later joined by both Doggett’s Silver Monkeys and L’Hoest’s/ Mountain Monkeys. Near here we also enjoyed another larger group of Eastern Chimpanzees feeding and calling to each other.
L’Hoest’s/ Mountain Monkey
Today was a great day to maximize our Albertine Rift Endemic birds’ species; and many other exciting birds of Nyungwe Forest National Park. Birds were active all morning and we scored Narina Trogon, Green White-eye, Green-headed Sunbird, Grey-throated Barbet, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Mountain/ Black-tailed Oriole, White-headed Wood-Hoopoe, Golden-breasted Bunting, Western Citril, Ross’s Turaco, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and Afep Pigeon.
After lunch we had a nice walk along the main tracks within Nyungwe Forest National Park. We enjoyed L’Hoest’s/ Mountain Monkeys feeding near the road and a nice Bohm’s Bush Squirrel climbing a tree. Birds were active all afternoon, until dusk. We were able to add Rwenzori/ Collared Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Black-faced/ Mountain Masked Apalis, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Black-faced Prinia, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Neumann’s Warbler, Equatorial Akalat, Regal Sunbird, Black-billed Turaco, Great Blue Turaco, Stuhlmann’s Starling and Waller’s Starling. We closed the day with a calling Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo.
Black-faced/ Mountain Masked Apalis
DAY 4: 30/05/2022 – NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
We had a whole morning to explore Nyungwe Forest National Park, where Albertine Rift Endemics were the main target. Birding was active all morning and we enjoyed many great species; adding hugely to our growing Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour list. We followed wide roads as well as smaller trails deeper in the forest; as we scouted different habitats.
Top birds of the day included Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Kungwe Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Olive Woodpecker, Slender-billed Greenbul, Olive-breasted/ Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Grauer’s Warbler, Strange Weaver, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Sharpe’s Starling, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Bar-tailed Trogon, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Archer’s Ground Robin/ Robin-Chat, Albertine/ Mountain Sooty Boubou, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, and Rwenzori Turaco.
Mammals were also active all day and we enjoyed great views of Black-fronted Duiker, Carruther’s Mountain Squirrel, Bohm’s Bush Squirrel, Olive Baboon, Doggett’s Silver Monkey and L’Hoest’s/ Mountain Monkeys. The mammal experience here was a top highlight on the whole Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour.
We birded a little more in the afternoon, before setting off to Kigali for the night.
DAY 5: 31/05/2022 – BUGESERA AND GASHORA SWAMP AREAS; TO AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Our morning involved birding along some exciting wetlands in the larger Bugesera and Gashora regions. We also explored some bushland and savannah habitats near these wetlands. Our main target was adding many papyrus species to our Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour list; with the main target being the Papyrus Gonolek. We managed to get two individuals at the first wetland along River Nyabarongo.
Other exciting birds we found this morning included African Marsh Harrier, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Purple Heron, Papyrus Canary, Carruthers’s Cisticola, African Reed Warbler, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Malachite Kingfisher, Trilling Cisticola, Buff-bellied Warbler, African Grey Hornbill, White-headed Saw-wing, Brimstone Canary, Black-headed Weaver and Red-chested Sunbird.
We then carried on to Akagera National Park adding Ruaha Chats on the way. Soon, we were at the Akagera National Park main gate, where African Buffalo, Olive Baboon and Rock Hyrax welcomed us. We enjoyed many exciting birds here including Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Red-headed Weaver, Highland Rush Warbler, Angolan Swallow, African Wattled Lapwing, Red-necked Spurfowl, African Hoopoe, Western Citril, Black-lored Babbler and Yellow-fronted Canary.
Our evening involved an exciting night drive inside Akagera National Park – a key experience on the Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour. We enjoyed birds such as Water Thick-knee, Square-tailed Nightjar and roosting African Fish Eagles. Mammals were plentiful too and we scored Common Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyena, Bushbuck, Common Large-spotted/ Blotched Genet, Southern Giant Pouched Rat, Thick-tailed (Brown or Large-eared) Greater Galago and Common Zebra. We also saw several Nile Crocodiles along the shores of Lake Ihema.
DAY 6: 01/06/2022 – AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
We had a full day to explore the wonders of Akagera National Park. Our morning involved birding around our lodge after breakfast. We then took a game drive into the park transecting different routes and habitats; seeking new species for our Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour list. We enjoyed some of the local wetlands, grasslands and bushland habitats. Many mammals were seen including Topi, African Buffalo, Common Impala, Common Zebra, Bohor Reedbuck, Maasai Giraffe and four Southern White Rhinos. We also enjoyed a nice Blue-headed Tree Agama basking in a tree.
Birds included Crested Barbet, Grey Penduline-Tit, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Plain-backed Pipit, Black-crowned Tchagra, Red-billed Teal/ Duck, African Cuckoo, Sooty Chat, Ruaha Chat, Peregrine Falcon, Brown Snake-Eagle, Green-winged Pytilia, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Marico Sunbird, Flappet Lark, Pale Flycatcher, Striped Kingfisher, Bearded Woodpecker, Green-capped Eremomela, Miombo Wren-Warbler and Long-tailed/ Tabora Cisticola.
Our afternoon was absolutely exciting as we enjoyed a game drive towards Lake Ihema. This was one of the best locations on the entire Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour. On our way, we met a big troop of Olive Baboons and a large African Elephant bull. We then enjoyed a sunset boat cruise on Lake Ihema. This was the highlight of the afternoon as we enjoyed many Common Hippos and two Black Rhinos feeding close to the shore. Nile Crocodiles of all ages were also abundant along the lake shore. We also added a troop of Doggett’s Silver Monkeys.
Black Rhino with a Western Cattle Egret
Birds were abundant all afternoon and we enjoyed Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Common Squacco Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Spur-winged Lapwing, Reed Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Spur-winged Goose, Holub’s Golden Weaver, African Darter, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret and a hunting Bat Hawk. On our way to the lodge we added Hildebrandt’s Francolin/ Spurfowl; a great species for our Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour list.
DAY 7: 02/06/2022 – AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK TO KIGALI
Our final morning in Akagera National Park involved birding some of the smaller lakes in the park, as well as the rocky hillsides. It was indeed a great morning and we also enjoyed many mammals such as Oribi, Common Hippo, Common Zebra, Vervet Monkey and Defassa Waterbuck. We enjoyed a nice Nile Monitor Lizard hunting along the shores of Lake Birengero; and then saw one more on the way to Lake Shakani.
Birds included Lesser Masked Weaver, African Palm Swift, Rock-loving Cisticola, Woodland Kingfisher, Bateleur, Lilac-breasted Roller, Arrow-marked Babbler, Hamerkop, Common Scimitarbill, Black-backed Puffback, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Flappet Lark, Sooty Chat, Reed Cormorant and Double-toothed Barbet.
We then started our journey back to Kigali, adding a Common Kestrel along the way. We arrived at the Kigali International Airport in good time for our evening flights home. This marked the end to our lovely Rwanda Birding and Wildlife Custom Safari Tour.
Common Hippopotamus with a Western Cattle Egret
Red-faced Woodland Warbler
African Elephant on the road
Nile Monitor Lizard with a Hamerkop