11 days Rwanda Birding and Primate Safari

Safari Overview

The Rwanda Birding and Primate Safari offer an experience of some rare innermost feelings of bird watching, sensational primate viewing, and the beautiful peoples of historical Rwanda on this 11 days Rwanda Birding and Primate Safari. 

Birdwatching in Rwanda is a rewarding experience as the country has over 750 species.  Rwanda’s habitats include the Albertine Rift montane forests in the western region and the grassland plains and swamps along the eastern border. There are also numerous swamps, rivers, wetlands, and lakes scattered through the grassy hills of the central region and across Rwanda.

There are no birds endemic exclusively to Rwanda, however, there are 44 Albertine Rift Endemic bird species, of which 27 are found in Nyungwe Forest alone.

The breathtaking landscape of grassy hills and misty volcanoes inhabited by amazing wildlife such as the endangered Mountain Gorillas and several primates make Rwanda ideal for birding enthusiasts.

The Rwanda Birding and Primate Tour explore the renowned Volcanoes National Park, home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys and bird species, and Nyungwe Forest famed for Chimpanzee Trekking and bird watching. Akagera National Park with its diverse habitats is great for its bird watching.  While at Lake Kivu, take in the beach scenery and boat ride for birdwatching Kigali, the nation’s sprawling capital has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

Safari Highlights of the 11 days Rwanda Birding and Primate Safari

  • Amazing bird watching in Akagera NP with over 525 bird species
  • Amazing bird watching in Nyungwe Forest NP with over 275 bird species
  • Amazing bird watching in Volcanoes NP with over 200 bird species
  • Sensational Chimp trekking in Nyungwe Forest
  • Boat ride on Lake Ihema Akagera NP and Lake Kivu
  • Gorilla trekking and Golden Monkey in Volcanoes NP


Tour Itinerary for the 11 days Rwanda Birding and Primate Safari

DAY 1: Arrival in Kigali

Arrive at Kigali Airport and thereafter you will be met by the company representative heading straight to your place of an overnight stay. Overnight at Hotel des Mille Collines BB

DAY 2: Kigali – Nyungwe Forest National Park 

After breakfast, we calmly transfer to the south of the country with a (lunch) stop in Butare. Here we will visit the Rwanda National Museum, which houses one of the finest collections in East Africa. In the afternoon we continue to Nyungwe Forest. This protected area is a birder’s paradise and known for its 13 species of primates. Accommodation and Meals at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel B-L-D

DAY 3: Nyungwe Forest National Park – Chimpanzee Trekking 

Breakfast and then have an early start to go and trek the Chimpanzees. Depending on the availability you are likely to trek chimpanzees in Cyamudongo Forest, a very small, isolated ‘island’ of forest surrounded by tea estates a little over an hour’s drive from the park office at Gisakura. This group consists of about 40 individuals. 

Alternatively, you might be taken to see a second habituated group, the Uwinka group, which is the largest with around 65 individuals.  The duration of your trek depends on the location of the chimps – this could take from between 30 minutes to 3 hours to find them depending on how far they have moved in search of food.

After lunch, you will have a 3-hour round trip canopy walk along a 160m-long and 70m-high canopy walkway. Take in the scenery rewarding you with an entire forest coverage with a few primate species.  Return to the hotel for relaxation. Accommodation and meals at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel. 

DAY 4: Nyungwe Forest National Park – Lake Kivu 

After breakfast, we depart Nyungwe NP and head to Gisenyi the largest port on the Rwandan shore of Lake Kivu. Have a relaxed lunch and thereafter relaxation enjoy the view from your hotel.  Accommodation and Meals at Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel

DAY 5: Lake Kivu- Bird watching & Local Market 

Relax breakfast and then head for a boat ride on the lake, while exploring the small islands and rich birdlife. The lake supports huge numbers of White-breasted Cormorants, Pied Kingfishers, and Osprey can be seen fishing during its migration. After lunch head for the local market or wander through the leafy streets admiring the old colonial buildings. Accommodation and Meals at Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel

DAY 6: Lake Kivu – Volcanoes National Park 

After a relaxed breakfast, we proceed to one of the most beautiful safari parks of the country: Volcanoes National Park. It is an area with rich Montaigne ecosystems, from bamboo forest to open grassland and swamps.  You will have lunch and thereafter proceed for a nature walk to Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo, the crater lakes that are situated just outside the national park. You will enjoy fabulous views and scenery of the Volcanoes Mountains and the lakes. Accommodation and Meals at Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel 

DAY 7: Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking

Arise early today and prepare for the highlight of your safari, an unforgettable encounter with the gentle giants of Bwindi!  Following breakfast, transfer to the national park offices where you will be allocated a gorilla family in groups of 8 as well as a gorilla tracking guide.

After a pre-tracking briefing by your guide touching on the gorillas generally, your assigned gorilla family as well as appropriate safety precautions, you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure – participants can expect to walk long distances in steep and sometimes muddy conditions with rain overhead, which can be challenging, however, the thrill of coming face to face with a giant Mountain Gorilla silverback far more than makes up for the effort in their quest. Granted the time taken can be quite unpredictable taking anything from 2 to 8 hrs or longer. 

You will have a packed lunch from the lodge for this hike. Upon sighting the gorillas, you spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life; feeding, moving, playing, raising their young, and sometimes wrestling by the juveniles – it is a totally unique and unforgettable experience. Accommodation and Meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

DAY 8: Golden Monkey Hiking and Birding watching in PM 

Breakfast and then head for the Golden Monkey Trekking:  There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo.  Departure for the Golden Monkey trek is from the Park’s Kinigi Headquarters at 07:00 am. The visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. The monkeys can often be found playing and feeding in the rich bamboo forests where tourists can expect a close encounter with these beautiful animals. After lunch, you will have a bird-watching session in the park.  The park has over 200 bird species of which 27 are endemic to Rwanda while 15 of them are only endemic to volcanoes in the Virunga ranges of the mountainsLook out for the Red-backed Shrike, Bateleur, Blue-spotted wood dove, and the Cinnamon chested bee-eater among others.  Accommodation and Meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge 

DAY 9: Volcanoes National Park – Akagera National Park 

Early morning breakfast and then head for the low-lying undulating plains of Akagera National Park the home to elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and zebras, more than a dozen types of antelope species, and elusive lions and leopards, you with a stopover in Kigali for early lunch before proceeding to Akagera arriving for an evening game drive thereafter heading to your lodge for a cool relaxed evening, Accommodation and Meals at Ruzizi Tented Camp

DAY 10: Akagera National Park- Birding watching 

After breakfast, you will spend the day in the park that boasts about 480 bird species living in savannah and woodland areas with 100 species endemic to the park. The best birding spots are on Lake Ihema, its islands, marshes, and wetlands. Look out for the Northern Brown-throated Weaver; Papyrus Gonolek; White-Winged Swamp Warbler; Carruthers Cisticola, White-collared Olive back, and Grey-crowned Cranes and the rare shoebill stork. 

In the afternoon we drive to Lake Ihema and take a boat cruise on the lake looking out for African finfoot, elusive rare Shoebill Stork, African fish eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, African Openbill, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Malachite Kingfisher, African Wattled Plover, African Darter, Greater Swamp Warblers, Black tern, Long-toed, Senegal Lapwings, and Rufous-bellied Heron, Slender-billed Weavers, and Swamp Flycatcher, Nightjars and the Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Overnight at Ruzizi Tented Camp. 

Relaxed breakfast in the morning and afternoon. Later in the evening, you will have a night game drive in the park in search of nocturnal animals.  Accommodation and Meals at Ruzizi Tented Camp

DAY 11: Akagera National Park – Kigali – Departure (120 km / 3hrs)

Breakfast and then head back to Kigali town to visit the Kigali Memorial Centre. This is a grim reminder of the 1994 senseless massacres. The museum is built on a site where over 250,000 people are buried. The exhibits in the museum powerfully tell the story of Rwanda, its history, and the unfolding genocide. Included are touch screens which have on them the testimonials of some of the survivors present during this turbulent time. Have lunch and thereafter continue to the Airport for your international flight at the end of the 11 days Rwanda Primate and Birding Safari. (B-L)


Included in the 11 days of Rwanda Birding and Primate Safaris

  • Ground transportation in a safari customized 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser with gasoline/fuel
  • Mineral water in the vehicle,
  • Services of an English speaking Driver/guide,
  • Accommodation as shown at the lodges mentioned in the itinerary,
  • Meals as shown (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner),
  • All Park Entrance Fees,
  • Birding excursions
  • Boat cruises
  • Primate permits


Excluded in the 11 days of Rwanda Birding and Primate Safari

  • International Airfares; Excess baggage charges;
  • Ugandan Entry Visa Fees
  • International travel Vaccinations and Inoculations;
  • Items of personal nature such as Room service,
  • Beverages, Communications charges (telephone, fax, internet), Laundry, etc.;
  • Postage fees, Porterage fees, Tips and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and Hotels staff,
  • Shopping charges for Curios and Crafts,
  • International Airport Departure Taxes,
  • Optional activities unless specified as included,
  • Any other services not expressly shown in the itinerary or indicated as included.


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