Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest

Trek through the lush green tropical forest for amazing bird encounters of the endemic and migratory birds in the Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Forest national park is one of the four national parks in Rwanda that have proven to be the major tourist destinations in the region of “a Thousand Hills”. The national park is located in Rwanda’s southern district, between Lake Kivu and the international border with Burundi. The park is well-known for its lush greenery and is home to over 322 different bird species.

Rwanda has a total of 703 bird species (as of November 2018), and new species have been added to the official list since 2010. There are 29 Albertine Rift Endemics and many Lake Victoria Basin Endemics among the resident species, which should be on any birder’s bucket list; with most birding enthusiasts preferring birding in Nyungwe forest national park and Akagera national park.

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Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest

Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest is Africa’s largest and oldest montane forest. Bird-watching in Nyungwe Forest is possible at any time of year, although the finest months are December and January. Because of the fear of winter weather, hundreds of migrating birds flock to the nation. Because of the dense forest, various birds, such as the great blue turaco, flycatcher, red-throated leather, sunbirds, graver’s warbler, forest hornbills, red-colored bubbler, Rockefeller s sunbirds, and many others, may be seen in Nyungwe forest.

Because of the dense Nyungwe forest, it can be difficult to see the birds, and most of them prefer to stay on top of the canopy rather than inside the forest; however, there are some places where they can be seen, including Bigugu Mountain, the Karamba area near Gisakura, the Kamiranzovu swamp, and the Gisakura tea estate. Forest birding is difficult, but the large road that runs through the park provides excellent access to the canopy, which is particularly important.

Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest

Bird Species Found in Nyungwe Forest

Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda is a little-visited protected region that is one of seven Important Birding Areas (IBAs) that should be on your itinerary. It is home to a vast array of woods and rare species, allowing avid bird watchers to experience once-in-a-lifetime encounters.

Additionally, there are several pristine forest species, including the stunning chimpanzees and others that comprise the park’s 13 primates; this means that visitors not only view rare birds but also remarkable apes. Don’t pass up the opportunity to discover this gorgeous national park’s hidden gem. Bird species found in Nyungwe Forest include;

  • Regal Sunbird
  • Spur-winged Goose
  • Red-throated Alethe
  • African Black Duck
  • Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher
  • Great Blue Turaco
  • Yellow-billed Duck
  • Barred long-tailed cuckoo
  • White-tailed Flycatcher
  • Kungwe Apalis
  • Red-collared Babbler
  • Ruwenzori Apalis
  • Mountain sooty Boubou
  • Albertine Owlet
  • Neumann’s Warbler
  • Ruwenzori Batis
  • Handsome Francolin
  • Stripe-breasted Tit
  • Shelley’s Crimson wing
  • Ruwenzori Nightjar
  • Dusky Crimson Wing
  • Archer’s Robin-chat

What to pack for Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest.

While arranging your Nyungwe Forest National Park bird viewing safaris, bring your bird checklist, binoculars, a hat/cap, long trousers/shirts, sunscreen and insect repellent cream, food, water bottle, a decent pair of hiking boots, a light raincoat/jacket (in case it rains), and a camera.

How much is Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest?

Non-residents pay $40 for birdwatching at Nyungwe Forest National Park, foreign residents pay $20, and Rwandans pay $5. Birders who spend two or more days on a birding expedition in Nyungwe Forest National Park enjoy a 50% discount on admission costs. These fees exclude park entry fees of $100 per person if you are spending one night in the park, $150 for two nights, and $200 for three nights.

Birding in Volcanoes National Park
Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest

How to make the most of your Bird Watching Tour in Nyungwe Forest?

The easiest method to see the birds is to walk or bike through a piece of the Congo Nile route that cuts through the forest, or to use one of the well-developed forest trails that go to different areas of the forest. Another option to see and spot these birds is to take a canopy walk in the forest.

You may also experience the greatest birding in Nyungwe forest by leaving the park and visiting the Gisakura tea plantation to observe your favourite species. The canopy walkway is designed at such a height that you are above the canopy trees, giving you an aerial perspective. The canopy walkway bridge in Nyungwe forest is 160 meters long.

Why you should hire a professional birding guide for Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest?

Just like any other tour, bird watching in Nyungwe forest in Rwanda also requires a professional guide who will help you identify species like the Red-chested Owlet, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori Blue-headed Sunbird, Sharpe’s Starling, Slender-billed Starling, Striped-breasted Tit, Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Sunbird, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Thick-billed Seed-eater, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher and many more. The experienced guide will also take you to the ideal bird-watching sites in Nyungwe forest where you may see the birds and their nests up close. Birding also introduces you to other animals such as golden monkeys and others.

Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest

Other Activities to do in Nyungwe Forest

Sebitoli Sector of Kibale Forest National Park

Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest begins at 5 a.m. at the park headquarters and involves traversing the forest dotted by counts of bird species, lush flora, and impressive hiking landscapes before approaching the apes thriving in their natural habitat, with one hour allotted to explore these chimps as they forage, make pant hooting calls, socialize, and hunt. The excursion lasts 2 to 6 hours and costs $150 for a Chimpanzee trekking permit.

Canopy Walk

One of the most recent activities implemented in Nyungwe Forest National Park is a third of its quality on the African continent. Canopy Walk was created in Nyungwe Forest in October 2010, and it extends 70 meters above the forest floor and is 160 meters long.

The canopy walk allows you to explore the upper forest canopy panoramas while seeing gorgeous butterflies, primates, and birds on the forest’s tallest branches. At certain points, the path traverses a deep valley, which creates a terrifying moment when you cross it. It creates a lasting memory. A permit is required for this Canopy walk, which begins at the Uwinka tourist centre and lasts 2 hours.

Visit Gisakura Tea Estate.

Gisakura tea estate is a large tea plantation with several parallel slopes and beautiful mountains in the background. There will be an exciting trip to Nyungwe Forest National Park for all tea enthusiasts. Gisakura tea estate’s hardworking farmers’ labour from Monday through Saturday and do not work on Sundays. Visitors who arrive on Sunday will be unable to meet since they will be resting in their rooms. These farmers are busy gathering and collecting into baskets, yet they welcome individuals who want to work with you. Have a camera with you to see the ridges Because they are willing to explain, associating with them will help you learn how tea is picked, processed, and made.

Tea Plantations tour Uganda - Laba Africa Expeditions - Photo

Primate Trekking in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Forest is home to 13 different primate species. The Albertine Rift’s most prevalent primate is the Rwenzori Colobus. The colobus monkeys are quite gregarious, and the ones in Nyungwe are even more so since they roam in groups of numerous animals, hopping from one tree to the next. There are also Golden Monkeys that travel in groups of three or four. There is one adult male in each group of Golden monkeys.

Silver monkeys, L’hoest Monkeys, Owl faced monkeys, golden monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, crowned monkeys, Dent’s Mona Monkeys, vervet monkeys, and Olive baboons are among the numerous varieties of monkeys. Olive baboons, sometimes known as Anubis baboons, have a greenish-grey coat that covers their body. They discovered them along the road in Nyungwe Forest national park and within Akagera National Park. They live in big groups and are mostly terrestrial primates.

Hiking and forest nature walk in Nyungwe Forest

Almost 130 kilometers of hiking trails have been established in the Nyungwe Forest for hikers and nature enthusiasts to explore the interior and its interesting ecosystems. The incredible Igishigishigi Trail is one of the shorter walks but features East Africa’s tallest canopy walk with fantastic views across Nyungwe Forest, while the Bigugu Trail climbs to the Park’s highest mountain at 2950m. This provides an overhead picture of Nyungwe Forest National Park’s canopy vegetation as well as the many monkeys, butterflies, and colorful birds.

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