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15 Days Birding Safari Rwanda 2015

Day 1: KIGALI

On arrival in Kigali and welcomed by your tour guide at the airport then proceed to Mubwiza courts with magnificent views of Kigali. Get full briefing of the tour by the tour guide.

DAY 2: BIRDING AROUND KIGALI - EASY DAY

Breakfast at 8:30am then drive to Kigali golf club area for the early birds around the lake. Proceed to Bugesera on Nyabarongo wetland and Gashora Lake. We will have lunch in Gashora and meeting with Gashora Birding Club under Rwanda Birding Association plus receiving donations from RSPB members. Media will be invited to highlight on avitourism development in Rwanda and its impact to the local livelihoods and the economy, multiplier effect, conservation etc. You will have late evening birding in Bugesera before returning to Kigali. Dinner at Chez Lando.

Dinner and overnight at Mubwiza courts.

DAY 3: BIRDING AROUND KIGALI - GENOCIDE MUSEUMS IS OPTIONAL:

Visit Kigali genocide memorial site, Ntarama and Nyamata Genocide Memorial sites; visit the church in Ntarama where 5000 people were massacred in a winkle of an eye then transfer to Nyamata where 10,000 were butchered by government soldiers, local leaders with support from some catholic priests. Birding on Nyabarongo - Kigali to Butare route. Dinner and overnight at Mubwiza courts.

DAY 4: TRANSFER TO AKAGERA

Transfer to Akagera National Park in the morning. Afternoon for a thrilling boat ride on Lake Ihema to go see schools of hippos, the giant Nile crocodiles and lots of water birds. Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge.

Day 5: AKAGERA

Early breakfast at 5:45am; in preparation for an early bird watching day at 6am. It's important to start early before it gets hot and avoid birds go in hide due to heat. A good day to see other wildlife such as the big 5 plus 12 species of antelopes including the biggest antelopes such as the eland cape and roan antelopes, in addition to the 525 bird species including 4 Albertinerift endemics recorded in this park. Diversity of reptiles, amphibians, plants, magnificent landscapes, historical sites etc. The park is known for holding the highest concentration of birds per square kilometer in any national park of Africa. Dinner and overnight at Akagera Game Lodge.

Day 6: BIRDING IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK

Spend your day birding on the lake circuit searching for the rare and threatened shoe bill stocks plus the papyrus gonoleks, red-faced barbet etc. Return to the hotel for lunch and refreshments. Late afternoon go for game drives on the mountain circuit to catch up on what we missed in the morning. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight. Dinner and Overnight at Akagera Game Lodge.

Day 7: TO NYUNGWE VIA BUTARE NATIONAL MUSEUM

Transfer to Nyungwe National Park; - enroute has stops along Nyabarongo river basin for more bird watching. Optional - visit to the Cathedral of Kabgayi and other many historical sites such as the ancient King's palace at Nyanza, National Museum at Huye. Visit to the women drumming group and hear history, taboos etc about Rwanda drums. May also proceed to Nyungwe via Murambi Genocide Memorial site. Overnight at Gisakura Guest House.

Day 8: TO NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK

The biggest afro-mountain forest in East and Central Africa & the remotest source of River Nile according to National Geographic Society:

Early breakfast at 5am then drive through the park searching for as many as we can from the 278 bird species listed here. Chimpanzee trekking will be optional. The fantastic tea plantations around Nyungwe National Park add more value to scenery as you wait to add more lifers. In the afternoon, visit the waterfalls in the park - enroute site some new species of birds.Overnight at Gisakura Guest House.

DAY 9: KAMIRANZOVU SWAMP & THE CANOPY WALK IN NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK

This day is dedicated to birding in Kamiranzovu swamp searching for the rare Ruwenzori turaccos, and the grauer's swamp warblers etc. You will visit different locations in the park to try and see as much as you can and if possible all the 27 endemic birds of Albertine rift found in Nyungwe forest. End the day with a canopy walk in the forest. Overnight at Gisakura Guest House.

DAY 10: BIGUGU TRAIL IN NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK

This day is dedicated to birding on mountain Bigugu searching for more rare bird species. You will continue to visit different locations in the park to try and see as much as you can and if possible all the 27 endemic birds of Albertine rift found in Nyungwe forest. Overnight at Gisakura Guest House.

DAY 11: TO KINIGI:

Transfer to Kinigi via Ngororero on good roads; taking you through towns of Kibuye and Gisenyi as you several fantastic wetlands and remote towns that are great for bird watching. Arrival in Musanze then enjoy a comfortable night at St. Anne hotel

DAY 12: GORILLA TREKKING

Volcanoes National Park:

After breakfast we transfer to the park. After completing our park formalities we are embark on a once in a life time experience of tracking mountain gorillas. Once you spot them you are allowed to spend an hour watching your closest long lost cousin. This is perhaps one of the most breathtaking wildlife experiences on earth!!! You get so close to these awesome giant primates. You stare at each other blankly not knowing who to break the long silence first. Tracking the gorillas through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virunga is a magical experience. A combination of birdwatching will be extra ordinary! Be back at the base in time for lunch! Some gorilla families however are more elusive and tracking can take a full day, especially when it is wet and muddy. Dinner and overnight at St. Anne hotel

DAY 13: GOLDEN MONKEY TREKKING & BIRDING AT BUHANGA FOREST IN THE AFTERNOON

Follow the same procedures but choose the rare golden monkeys for a memorable experience. In the afternoon, transfer to Buhanga forest in search for the rare Africa Pitta and other species in this small Volcanic forest catchment. Dinner and Overnight at Anne hotel

DAY 14: LAKE EXPEDITIONS

Transfer to Lake Burera and Ruhondo - the twin lakes for more birdwatching with options to reach the Uganda - Rwanda border. In the afternoon, transfer to Lake Kivu to enjoy the last day relaxing at a nice beach. Overnight: - Palm Resort Hotel.

DAY 15: AIRPORT TRANSFER

At your convenience, transfer to Kigali which is 3 hours drive then proceed to the airport at 6pm.

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