Birding in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Birding in Nyungwe Forest National Park

December 31, 2021
Safari Tips

Birding in Nyungwe forest national park is a very exciting adventure in Rwanda where twichers meet and spot several bird species including the rare species, residents and Albertian rift endemics.  Nyungwe Forest is one of the important birding areas in Rwanda that was recognized the Bird Life International. The forest hosts over 310 bird species, 29 of them are endemic to the Albertine Rift.

Nyungwe Forest has a rich biodiversity and endowed with different flowering plants and marsh area that act as food and shelter to respectively to several bird species. And yes, Nyungwe forest is green throughout the year. Besides, Nyungwe forest is the best birding site in Albertine Rift dues to easy accessibility from the major towns of Rwanda and also the birding trails are well maintained to allow better birdwatching activities.

If you are planning to book a birding tour in Nyungwe forest national park, consider using the following birdwatching trails;

Kamiranzovu trail

Kamiranzovu is a 6km trail and among the most popular trails in Nyungwe forest national park; well known for having several plant species including the Orchids among others. Using this trail, expect to see birds like Short-tailed Warbler, Grauer’s swamp warbler, and Grey-crested Kakamega.

Karamba trail

Karamba is a 4 km trail and its gives visitors a great opportunity to see birds like Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed sunbird among others. The trail also shows history of the remaining evidence of traditional houses the local people who used to stay in Nyungwe Forest.

Bigugu trail

This is one the popular birding trail in Nyungwe forest national park with its highest point at mountain Bigugu; raising at an altitude of 2950m above from the sea level. Bigugu trail is about 13km. Most birds normally spot several birds on this trail like the Red-Collared mountain warbler.

Gisakura trails

Gisakura trails offers wonderful opportunities to see a number of birds including; Mountain Masked Apalis, Short-tailed Warbler, Regal Sunbird, Kivu ground Thrush among others.

Bird species in Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest hosts over 300 bird species of birds with 16 endemics, 27 Albertine rift endemics, and 121 forest species. Yes, the following are the key birds in Nyungwe forest; African paradise flycatcher, Chinspot batis, Eastern mountain greenbul, Crowned hornbill, Neumann’s warbler, Long-crested eagle, Albertine owlet, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed sunbird, Buff-throated apalis, Dusky crimsonwing, Dwarf honeyguide, Red-collared babbler, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Stripe-breasted tit, Handsome francolin, Kivu ground thrush, Mountain masked apalis, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Purple-breasted sunbird, Red-throated alethe, Regal sunbird, Rockefeller’s sunbird, Ruwenzori apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar, Ruwenzori turaco, Shelley’s crimsonwing, Strange weaver, Red-faced woodland warbler among others. Besides birds, Nyungwe forest is a home to 13 recorded primates including the Chimpanzees, Olive baboon, Silver monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Owl-faced monkey/ Hamlyn’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Golden monkey, Blue Monkey and Angolan Colobus Monkeys.

Currently, the price for birdwatching permit in Nyungwe forest national park is $50 per person per day however, if you are planning to bird the forest not less than three days, birders pay $50 for the first day and $25 per person per day for the remaining days.

Best time for birding in Nyungwe Forest

Birdwatching in Nyungwe forest national park is done all year round however, the best time to go birding in Rwanda is July and late March. During this time the country generally hosts several migrants and also this is the breeding season for most birds; others do come from the neighboring countries of Uganda, DR Congo and Burundi in search for food. We therefore rcommend you to book your birding trip to Nyungwe forest during this period.

Where to stay on birding safari to Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest national park has limited accommodation, therefore if you are planning to visit this beautiful park, you need to book your accommodation in advance to avoid any disappointments. Guests may also decide to stay around Lake Kivu in Cyangugu if they fail to find space in lodges around the park. Below is a list of accommodation you can book during your birdwatching tour in Rwanda’s Nyungwe;

  • One & Only Nyungwe House
  • Nyungwe top view lodge
  • Gisakura guest house
  • Nyungwe Nziza Ecolodge
  • EAR Guesthouse
  • Chimpanzee Lodge
  • Emeraude Kivu Resort (located in Cyangugu)

How to get to Nyungwe forest national park for birding tours

Getting to Nyungwe forest National park is very easy by both road and air transport. By rod; Nyungwe forest National park is 226 km away from Kigali city center and it is about 5hours drive from Kigali. The park is located in the southwest part of Rwanda, bordering Lake Kivu and Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Burundi in the south. You can hire a private vehicle form trusted tour operators like us or board a bus that head to Ruzizi from Nyabugogo Bus Park in Kigali. However, buses take approximately 8hours.

Getting to Nyungwe National park by Air s travelers to book with RwandaAir transport. This company offers the best domestic flights to Nyungwe forest national park, with a total of 9 flights in a week from Kigali to Kamembe international airport. After arriving to Kamembe airport, it takes just 40km to Nyungwe forest.  And yes, some lodges offer helicopter pickups, and one can book helicopter flight at an affordable rate. One & Only Nyungwe Lodge is one of the lodges that offer helicopter pick ups in Rwanda.

What to pack for birding tour in Nyungwe forest national park

Are you ready for your birding safari in Nyungwe forest national park Rwanda? Check on what to pack for your birdwatching experience in Rwanda with Africa Adventure Vacations. These include the following;

  1. Binoculars for zooming small birds from a distance
  2. Good camera to enable you take as many photos as possible
  3. Field Clothes such the rain gear, gardening gloves, hiking boots/shoes among others. We strongly encourage birders to pack light, closed and waterproof shoes.
  4. Several toiletries like tissues, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, hair gels and sanitary wear for the case of women.
  5. Pack insect repellants to protect you from dangerous insect bites
  6. Extra batteries and power bank to avoid your gadgets from blacking out in the middle of the experience
  7. Several toiletries like tissues, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, hair gels and sanitary wear for the case of women.

Other top things to do in Nyungwe forest national park Rwanda

Besides bird watching safari in Nyungwe forest national Rwanda, travelers can do the following activities;

  • Cultural tours in Nyungwe forest national park
  • Canopy Walk in Nyungwe forest
  • Nature and hiking walks in Nyungwe forest
  • Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
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