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Birdwatching in Rwanda
Birdwatching in Rwanda

Rwanda birdwatching

Our birdwatching tips in Rwanda

Birdwatching in Rwanda is somewhat overlooked in favour of gorilla-trekking trips. However, birdlife in Rwanda is excellent, giving visitors the chance to see some of the Albertine Rift endemic bird species. There are over 600 species in Rwanda, which is amazing for such a small country and makes for great birding.

Perhaps the key area for bird watching in Rwanda is the vast Afromontane forest of Nyungwe National Park, which is recognised as an IBA ('Important Bird Area') by Birdlife International. Look here for some of Rwanda's Albertine Rift endemics, including the Albertine owlet, collared apalis, red-collared mountain-babbler and Grauer's and Neumann's warblers.

As an aside, the papyrus swamps in Akagera National Park are one of few places in Africa where shoebill storks are found - although we haven't yet found a good way for our travellers to see them here.

Sabyinyo Silverback

Set in seven hectares of land, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge makes a good base for birdwatching in Rwanda. Just walking through the gardens affords the opportunity to see many species of birds, including some endemic to the Albertine Rift. There is a local ornithologist available if you wish to have a guide.


Nyungwe House

Nyungwe Forest is arguably the most important location for birders in Rwanda, with over 300 species recorded here including 27 Albertine Rift endemics. Head out with a specialist bird guide from Nyungwe House and look for the Gret Blue Turaco and Rockefeller's sunbird among others.


Ruzizi Tented Lodge

Akagera is a bird rich area with over 450 savannah and water birds recorded here. It is one of the best places in East Africa to observe papyrus endemics. Head out on a boat safari to try and spot the papyrus gonolek or the highly elusive shoebill.


Rekero

Kenya birdwatching is good here for the variety of habitats in the vicinity. Birders will enjoy the privacy of the tent veranda areas with uninterrupted views across the rocky valley of the Talek River.


Kwara Camp

The environment at Kwara Camp is incredibly diverse resulting in superb birdwatching. Seasonal floodplains and wooded islands surround camp while papyrus-lined waterways, lagoons, mopane woodland and scrub savannah are all easily accessible.

Birdwatching elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Birdwatching in other countries.


Birdwatching in Botswana

Botswana

Much of northern Botswana consists of vast tracts of untouched wilderness with plenty of wildlife...

Birdwatching in Kenya

Kenya

Kenya is a prime destination for a birdwatching holiday at any time of year. Tremendous geographical ...

Birdwatching in Malawi

Malawi

Malawi has a number of species which are rare in the rest of Southern Africa, and birdwatching ...

Birdwatching in Mozambique

Mozambique

Mozambique stretches over 2000km from north to south. It is a lush and varied country, and birding ...

Birdwatching in Namibia

Namibia

The best time for bird watching in Namibia is during the rains - typically between around November ...

Birdwatching in Seychelles

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a disparate group of islands - some granitic; some coralline - scattered around ...

Birdwatching in South Africa

South Africa

South Africa has the highest number of endemic bird species in mainland Africa. Birding in the ...

Birdwatching in Tanzania

Tanzania

With a range of endemic bird species, Tanzania is a great location for a birdwatching holiday. ...

Birdwatching in Zambia

Zambia

Birdwatching in Zambia will reveal a mix of south, east and even central African birds. Birdlife ...

Birdwatching in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Whilst Zimbabwe doesn't have any endemics, it's still great for bird watching. A Zimbabwe holiday ...

Where to see wildlife species in Africa

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite African animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.


Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

1,112 sightings from 1,335 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes

The chimpanzee is our closest living relative. This highly intelligent great ape is a forest animal with a sophisticated social life. Any encounter in the wild is a memorable experience.

100% SUCCESS

17 sightings from 17 observations

Where to see chimpanzee in Africa

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

1,590 sightings from 1,750 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

83% SUCCESS

1,523 sightings from 1,833 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

1,168 sightings from 1,310 observations

Where to see hippo in Africa

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

50% SUCCESS

903 sightings from 1,799 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Africa

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

45% SUCCESS

840 sightings from 1,873 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa

Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

80% SUCCESS

1,314 sightings from 1,646 observations

Where to see lion in Africa

Mountain Gorilla

Mountain Gorilla

Gorilla beringei

The world’s most impressive primate, the mountain gorilla inhabits a handful of locations in Africa’s equatorial cloud forests, where guided treks offer an intense wildlife experience.

95% SUCCESS

18 sightings from 19 observations

Where to see mountain gorilla in Africa

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

29% SUCCESS

261 sightings from 899 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

27 sightings from 1,487 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

3% SUCCESS

43 sightings from 1,572 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

45% SUCCESS

613 sightings from 1,362 observations

Where to see eland in Africa

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

1,724 sightings from 2,057 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

24% SUCCESS

228 sightings from 959 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

21% SUCCESS

198 sightings from 954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

Sitatunga

Sitatunga

Tragelaphus spekii

The sitatunga is the most aquatic of Africa’s antelopes and specially adapted to its swampy habitats. Though widespread across Africa, only a handful of places offer reliable sightings.

20% SUCCESS

25 sightings from 122 observations

Where to see sitatunga in Africa

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