Rwanda has long been seen as the premiere destination for gorilla tracking, but today more than ever
there are dozens of reasons to extend your stay, starting with the 13 species of primates and East
Africa’s only canopy walk, all to be found in the dense rainforests of Nyungwe Forest National Park. Still,
it’s hardly a surprise that Rwanda developed its reputation for Gorillas—experts estimate that there are
only 780 mountain gorillas still in existence anywhere on earth, and one third of these majestic
creatures can be found in Volcanoes National Park alone. With the recent reintroduction of lions to
Akagera National Park in the east, Rwanda has truly come into its own as a full-fledged safari
destination, and to top it all off, it’s not even a day’s drive between each of these world-class
Outside of the national parks, visitors can check out (or even participate in!) a traditional Intore dance,
tour one of Rwanda’s dozens of world-class tea and coffee plantations, and take a dip in Lake Kivu, all in
the same day! After all that, soak up the real Rwanda with a hike through lakeside villages on the Congo
Nile trail, pull out the binoculars to take a gander at the hundreds of species on Rwanda’s ornithological
checklist, or just get out on the water and hook a few fish for your evening brochettes. After all that,
save some time for Kigali’s vibrant dining scene, dozens of historic museums, memorials, and churches,
and forward-looking population just waiting to welcome you to their home.
Birding tourism in Rwanda
Rwanda is a small country in East Africa that is renowned for its mountain gorillas and stunning scenery. However, the country also offers a fantastic birdwatching experience, with over 700 bird species recorded in the country. Some of the most notable bird species in Rwanda include:
- Rwenzori Turaco: This is one of the most sought-after bird species in Rwanda. It is a stunning bird with bright blue, green, and red feathers.
- Grauer’s Swamp Warbler: This is an endangered bird species that is found only in a few locations in East Africa, including Rwanda. It is a skulking bird that is difficult to see, making it a prized sighting for bird enthusiasts.
- Red-faced Barbet: This bird is found only in the Albertine Rift region of East Africa, which includes Rwanda. It has a distinctive red face and a unique call that is often heard in the forests.
- Albertine Rift Endemics: Rwanda is part of the Albertine Rift, which is a region known for its high levels of endemism. The region is home to several endemic bird species, including the Grauer’s Broadbill, Handsome Francolin, and Kivu Ground Thrush.
Some of the top birding hotspots in Rwanda include the Nyungwe Forest National Park, Akagera National Park, and the Rugezi Marsh. These areas offer a variety of habitats and bird species, making it possible for birding enthusiasts to see a range of birds.
To make the most of the birdwatching experience, visitors are encouraged to hire local guides who are knowledgeable about the birds in the area. Many of these guides have extensive experience in bird identification and can help visitors spot and identify the birds they see.
Bird tourism in Rwanda also plays a vital role in the conservation of the country’s birdlife. The Rwandan government has established several protected areas and bird sanctuaries, providing habitats for the birds to thrive. Additionally, some birding tour operators in Rwanda contribute a percentage of their profits towards conservation efforts.
Apart from the birding experience, Rwanda is also known for its diverse culture and traditions. Some birding tours in Rwanda offer cultural experiences that allow visitors to learn about the local communities’ customs, traditions, and way of life.
Types of Birding Tours:
Rwanda offers several types of birding tours, including walking tours, boat rides, and longer safari expeditions. These tours cater to different interests and budgets, providing bird enthusiasts with a range of options to choose from.
There are several accommodation options for birdwatchers in Rwanda, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury lodges. Many lodges and campsites are located in or near birding hotspots, making it easy for visitors to explore the birdlife in the area.
In conclusion, bird tourism in Rwanda offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the country’s rich and diverse birdlife while contributing to the conservation of these species. With experienced guides, a variety of birding hotspots, and cultural experiences, Rwanda is an excellent destination for bird enthusiasts.