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Wildlife and Birdwatching Across Rwanda and Bwindi National Park, Uganda



Top Animals and Birds

Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Golden Monkey, L'Hoest's Monkey, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Black Rhino, Hippo, Zebra, Nile Crocodile, Cape Buffalo, Bohor Reedbuck, Ugandan Topi, Defassa Waterbuck, Spotted Hyena, plus some of at least 13 more monkey species. Top Birds: Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Twinspot Batis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Kungwe Apalis, Dusky Twinspot and Grauer's Swamp Warbler, Doherty's Bushshrike, Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush, Strange Weaver, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, in the lush tropical forests of Bwindi and Nyungwe and Papyrus Gonolek, Shoebill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler and Red-faced Barbet and Red-faced Crombec in the savannah, swamps and lakes of Akagera National Park. Plus loads more, including many of over 27 Albertine Rift endemics best seen in Nyungwe National Park.

Tour Features

Richly lush and diverse
  • Rwanda, the Land of a thousand hills plus the forests of South West Uganda brings you the top wildlife of the Rift Valleys of central East Africa.
  • Located on the cusp of the savannah of East Africa and the Afro-Congolese Rainforests of the Albertine Rift, for the best of both worlds.
  • Rwanda has emerged from a troubled past and is a very safe and very welcoming country in the East African Union and Commonwealth.
  • Rwanda is ambitiously modern but retains a great African culture with its characteristic friendliness.
Wildlife abundance and variety with time to enjoy it all
  • Wildlife is abundant and diverse so the tour visits National Parks and other secluded corners, picking up the very best wildlife and giving you an exceptional experience.
  • Good roads in Rwanda, short travel distances and a joint visa programme make a trip into Uganda a viable and attractive option.
  • We want you to have enough time to enjoy the beautiful habitats of Rwanda and Uganda
Animals and reptiles
  • A highlight is an extraordinary trek in the misty mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda to the iconic Mountain Gorillas and the rare Golden Monkeys
  • Optional trek for Chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park.
  • Up to thirteen Monkey species in Bwindi and Nyungwe National Parks are on the tour agenda.
  • The Big Five of the Savannah, Lions, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Black Rhino are all there, plus Hippos, Giraffe, Zebra and over 12 Antelope species and reptiles including huge Nile Crocodiles and the large Nile Monitor Lizard Akagera National Park.
Extraordinary Birdlife
  • Rwanda has 735 species in beautiful, lush settings.
  • The much sought-after Shoebill can be seen in the wetlands of Akagera National Park in Rwanda for a more diverse, pristine and wild experience of Shoebill and lots of other birds.
  • A tour list of over 300 species is possible, depending on the season. Many are in abundance and the special endemics of the Albertine Rift are best seen in Nyungwe National Park, where we offer an unmissable birding bonanza and an expert local guide, close to the source of the Nile

Day 1: - Kigali:

Arrive Kigali (based on Rwandair 7.30am arrival) and drive to Mgahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda ( 5 hours), including a lunch stop and birding along the route. Arrive at accommodation late afternoon for 2 nights.

Day 2:

Explore the beautiful high elevation forest of Mgahinga National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Ruhija Sector for Albertine Rift endemics, the rich bird life, maybe including Cassin's Hawk-eagle, Cassin's flycatcher, Tiny Sunbird, Black Bee-eater and even Willard's Sooty Boubou, a localised species similar to the common Mountain Sooty Boubou and for Colubus Monkeys

Day 3:

Rise early on Day 3 for your trek to the amazing Mountain Gorillas. Golden Monkey Trek and birding in the afternoon and then head back to Rwanda in time for dinner and a 1-night stay in a comfortable hotel enroute to Akagera National Park.

Day 4 and Day 5

Head into Akagera National Park in North East Rwanda and explore all the lush and expansive savannah, open forest and wetland habitats for which East Africa is known, with a great diversity in a relatively small area. The Park has a pristine and quiet ambience making it a fabulous environment for wildlife watching. See the savannah Big 5 on the Kabila Plains in the North, in a National Park that hosts over 50 mammal species including Giraffe, Zebra, Cape Buffalo and many antelope species including Uganda Topi and 480 bird species. Lions have recently been re-introduced and are thriving. There are plans to re-introduce Black Rhino. We will drive along the lakes of the Akagera river system where Shoebill and a rich waterbird list can be found. Board a boat to see fabulous waterbirds and lots of Hippos and Nile Crocodiles at Lake Ihema. Along the lake sides are a wealth of woodland birds and don't be surprised if a Giant Forest Hog pops out. Accommodation is in the Park and the hotel compounds are a great source of birds such as Weavers, Crested and other Barbets and Red Faced Crombec, as well as a full range of hirondines. The giant Nile Monitor Lizard is quite common. Akagera is unmissable! Stay 2 nights in the Park.

Day 6:

After some early wildlife watching in Akagera, return to Kigali (2.5 hours) for some city visits including optional visits to Nyarutarama Lake and surrounds, The Genocide Museum and Memorial, the Kandt House Museum and city markets. Stay in Kigali for 1 night.

Day 7:

Early drive (5 hours) to Nyungwe National Park via Butare visiting the grounds of the University of Rwanda Huye Campus enroute for woodland birds in the open parkland, with woodpeckers and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird round the buildings. Lunch nearby (maybe at http://www.bluemarbledreams.org/Rwanda/ Inzozi Nziza Ice Cream shop, looks ideal for a quick lunch). Late afternoon birding and look for primates enroute. Arrive in time for dinner and stay at the Gisakura Guesthouse for 3 nights.

Day 8 and Day 9

An immersion into the stunning high montane forest of Nyungwe National Park with its glorious Symphonia trees and highly diverse forest cover. Look out for some of 13 Monkey species, including Angolan Pied Colobus Monkeys and L'Hoest's Monkey. Birdlife is diverse, including the fabulous Albertine Rift endemics bonanza to be seen on the Uwinka Trail and the highly localised Grauer's Swamp Warbler in the lost world of the Kamiranzovu Swamp, accompanied by an expert local guide. You can add in Chimpanzee trekking at Cyamudongo Forest near to the DR Congo border for an added adventure. You will be enthralled by every moment here, including localised birding around Gisakura guest house and local walks. The stunning Doherty's Bushshrike might turn up along the road side, along with Mountain Apalis and lots more. The sound of Turacos fills the air and pairs of Great Blue Turaco gliding through give a “Lost World” feel to the forest. The much sought after and colourful Ruwenzori Turaco is there to be found

Day 10

Morning wildlife and birding at Nyungwe and then drive back to Kigali in time dinner and an evening in the city.

DAY 11:

Morning departure from Kigali to London (based on Rwandair Schedule).

When to visit: March and April for bird breeding; July to September and December to February for the dry season and peak Gorilla trekking season, September and October for bird migration. Best times for this trip February and March, September and October.

Groups of 2 to 8 people for 11 days approximate guide price USD $6,000 per person to USD $5,000 per person in two countries of Rwanda and Uganda.

Walking is easy to moderate except Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking which is moderate to difficult depending on their location. Both can be optional. Gorilla trekking is one of those extraordinary “things to do experiences” and this “up and close” meeting with our close primate relative is highly recommended. The permits are expensive, at USD1500 in Rwanda and USD600 in Uganda, but the fee money goes in part to sustaining the conservation effort including training, equipping and paying rangers and veterinary support for the Gorillas. Many former poachers are turned rangers in a great success story. Fees also support local communities, so that they value Gorillas and the environment. Fees also help fund the enlargement of the forest edge buffer zone, to protect the Gorilla community and some goes into the wider support of communities and economic development throughout Rwanda and Uganda. It is well worth it!

Fully inclusive guided tour, Park Permits, expert wildlife guide, accommodation, all meals, water, 4 x4 safari vehicle. Excludes flights, visa, health requirements, travel insurance, tips, alcoholic drinks, personal items.

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