RWANDA BIRDING SAFARIS.
Rwanda is a landlocked country situated in East Africa neighbouring Uganda - the pearl of Africa, Tanzania, DR Congo and Burundi. This country has had a dark political history characterised by genocide and civil conflicts, but for the past 25 years, Rwanda has been an iconic of peace in the region and this has immensely boosted tourism as well as other sectors.
The country is known and mostly described as the land of a thousand hills and this is true, owing to the romantic hills dotted in every corner. She has a lot to see, ranging from the rare Mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and historical sites like Genocide memorial site among others but also she boasts excellent birding opportunities given the presence of over 703 bird species.
These birds can be found in water bodies like lakes, swamps, forests and savannah areas.
Are you a birder and interested to take a birding safari in Rwanda? There are some good spots where your birding trip can be memorable and this is because the trails and roads are accessible compared to any other neighbouring country.
You can easily cover all the birding areas due to the country’s small in size, advanced trails and roads compared to other east African birding destinations.
Where to do birding in Rwanda?
The most important areas to do birding in Rwanda include;
This is great news, right? As you arrive at the airport in Kigali, birding commences and this is due to massive population of birds found in the city. For those having limited time then this is a sure deal to do urban birding. Right from your hotel in Kigali you can view a lot of birds but taking a visit to Lake Nyarutarama towards the golf course, which has good walkways can expose you to unique birds like black-headed herons, the grey capped warbler, white-faced whistling duck and winged geese.
Other important birding areas within the vicinity include Mount Kigali, Nyabarongo wetlands where you can spot birds like spur-winged geese, squacco turaco and yellow-billed stork, red chested cuckoos among others.
Nyungwe national park.
Another area where birding is done is Nyungwe national park which boasts being the largest montane forest in Africa homing over 300 bird species and these can be spotted within the forest, along Bigugu Mountain and Gisakuru tea estate. Some of the birds that can be spotted include Blue-headed Sunbird, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Handsome spur fowls, Neumann’s Warbler, Purple Breasted Sunbirds and much more.
You can spot these birds either by walking in the forest or by using the canopy walk way which is the only one of its kind in East Africa.
Akagera national park.
With over 310 bird species, visitors can find them in wetlands, lakes, rolling hills, savannah plains among others. The park is situated in the north-eastern part of the country and Lake Ihema seems to be one of the best birding spots here. Birding on Lake Ihema is done during a boat cruise which happens in the morning and evening.
Birds here that can be spotted include Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Papyrus Gonolek, White-collared Olive back and much more.
Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes national park is prominently known as a home to mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and hiking. But it also harbours over 200 bird species including 16 endemics. Birds spotted here among others include Grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori batis, White-tailed blue-flycatcher and Black and white manikin.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
This park is still new in the country but has remarkable bird types with over 390 species that can be spotted and these include Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Red-throated Alethe, Regal Sunbirds, Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori turaco among others.
This lake is not only good for beaches and sport fishing; but also a good birding destination which attracts both migratory and resident birds. While here, spot birds like White-breasted Cormorants and Pied Kingfishers and also visit Nkora Island which is the best birding spot and at same time a fish landing site.
Best time for bird watching in Rwanda.
Birding in Rwanda is possible all year round because some months are good for meeting the elusive migratory birds while others you can spot resident species and this calls for birding in any month of the year. Note that Rwanda has only two rainy and dry seasons though dry season remains the best time, because of the favourable conditions like easy accessibility to the birding destinations, dry trails and photography; however wet season is good for viewing migratory bird species.