TWO WEEKS ALBERTINE ENDEMIC AND GORILLA TREKKING HOLIDAYS IN RWANDA
Upon arrival, a representative from the hotel will welcome you and transfer you to Chez Lando Hotel for accommodation and diner, a short drive away from the airport.
After the breakfast, we have a quick introduction on the two weeks ahead of exploring the natural beauty and nice people of Rwanda. We have a brief tour of Kigali City, the cleanest City in Africa, and we visit Kigali Genocide Memorial until lunch time. At the memorial, you will understand the events leading up to the genocide of 1994. After lunch we drive northwards to Musanze, a Town of Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys. On the way, we can see some bird species like Yellow-billed Kite, Hooded Vulture, Common Kestrel, Sacred Ibis, Northern Gray-headed Sparrow, Angola Swallow. We have a brief stop at Mukungwa river where we can see common and widespread African birds as well as some migrants, such as seen Barn Swallow, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Red-billed Firefinch, Common Sandpiper, Chubb’s Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Black-headed Weaver, African Yellow Warbler, Speckled Mousebird, Chin-spot Batis, Gray-crowned Crane, Bronze Sunbird, Western Citril, Yellow-fronted Canary, Dusky Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Augur Buzzard. The accommodation is at DAVINCI Gorilla Lodge, a medium tourist accommodation around on the foothill of Sabyinyo Volcanoes.
The unique opportunity to see gorillas in their natural habitat is unforgettable, some even say life changing. Encounters with gorillas as they go about their daily lives are carefully managed, with expert trackers and guides leading small groups of tourists up bamboo-covered slopes to spend a precious and awe-inspiring hour just a few feet away from the gentle creatures. There are twelve gorilla families living in the Volcanoes National Park, which are fully habituated, with a few others habituated solely for scientific research. The groups, or troops, consist of at least one silverback along with several females and youngsters. After breakfast, we drive to Volcanoes National Park headquarters in Kinigi at 7am (as it is required), and were allocated a family group according to fitness levels, as well as being briefed on protocols and rules for visiting the gorillas. After trekking, which can go until lunch time, we drive to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we have 2 hours birding around the HQ of Volcanoes NP, 20 minutes drive from our lodge, where we can see common birds around the mountain areas including Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, Hadada Ibis, Yellow-billed kite (Black Kite), Augur Buzzard, Northern Fiscal, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Chubb’s Cisticola, Mountain Yellow-Warbler, Plain Martin, Rock Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Saw-wing, Abyssinian Thrush, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Cape Robin-Chat, White-browed Robin-Chat, African Stonechat, Collared Sunbird, Bronze Sunbird, Baglafecht Weaver, Holub’s Golden-Weaver, Yellow Bishop (with many Juveniles), Black-crowned Waxbill, Bronze Mannikin, Pin-tailed Whydah, Northern Gray-headed Sparrow, Cape Wagtail, African Pied Wagtail, African Pipit, Yellow-fronted Canary and Streaky Seedeater; accommodation and dinner at Davinci Gorilla Lodge.
All activities at Volcanoes NP start at 7am with reporting at the office where a warming tea or coffee and brief introduction to the attraction is offered. As previous day, we report at the office at 7am; after briefing on tracking of Golden Monkeys we drive the foot hill of Sabyinyo Volcano, at Kabatwa Hill, which give the name of this group of Golden Monkey. The monkeys are easily found where they are swinging from the bamboo trees in the forest while others are collecting the remaining of Irish potatoes in the recently harvested farms. You stay 1 hour taking pictures, learning the family behaviours and ecology of these endemics primates to the Albertine Rift, from guides. The trekking ends between 11am and 12am when we start our drive to Nyungwe NP. On our drive, we have a brief stop at Nyirakiguhu Pond to try Hottentot Teal (Annashotentota). We spend one hour at this place and we can seeYellow-billed Duck, Little Grebe, Red-knobbed Coot, Three-banded Plover, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Great Cormorant, Pink-backed Pelican, Hamerkop, Gray Heron, African Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Kite (Black Kite), Pied Kingfisher and Mackinnon’s Shrike. We have a brief stop for lunch in Rubavu before we proceed to Nyungwe NP via KIVU Belt road and we reach Ken Barham Guest House around 6pm.
Nyungwe NP is a home to over 13 species of primates including Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). We start our journey to trek chimpanzees at 5am with our packed breakfast and trekking can go up to lunch time. We spend only one hour with the Chimpanzees and also get another opportunity of observing them very closely in the treetops. Afternoon transfer we have a brief birding around the guest house and we can seeAfrican Golden Breasted Bunting, Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, etc; Accommodation and dinner at Ken Barham Guest House.
We have the first full day to try Albertine Rift Endemics at Umuyove trail and Rangiro road where we can see endemics like Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis,Stripe-breasted Tit, Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Kungwe Apalis, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, , Purple-breasted Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing. We can also see other eye-catching species like Black-billed Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Gray Cuckoo-shrike, Black-tailed Oriole, Chinspot Batis, Lühder’sBushshrike, Albertine Boubou, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Black-throated Apalis, , Chestnut-throated Apalis, Banded Prinia, Chubb’s Cisticola, Black Saw-wing, Shelley’s Greenbul (Kakamega), Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Common Bulbul (Dark-capped), Abyssinian Thrush, African Dusky Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Red-throated Alethe, Collared Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, Forest Weaver, we continue after lunch and at 5pm when we drive at Ken Barham Guest House for dinner and overnight
Second full day birding in Nyungwe National Park to continue with photography and observation of Mountain species and Albertine Rift Endemics; we take Ndambarare, a trail on the western side of Nyungwe NP. We can see Great Blue Turaco, Red-collared Mountain-Babbler, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Northern Double-collared Sunbird,White-breasted Nigrita, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Mountain Illadopsis, Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Rwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Warbler, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, White-browed Crombec, Black-throated Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Gray Apalis, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler, Chubb’s Cisticola, Black Saw-wing, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Waller’s and Stuhlmann’s Starling, African Dusky Flycatcher, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black-billed Weaver, Forest Weaver, Black-crowned Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater. At this trail we can also see the rare primates of the forest; Grey-checked Mangabay and Mona Monkey along with the Rwenzori Sun Squirrel. After a lunch break, we head to Karamba trail, a few minute driving from the western entrance of the forest and we can see Blue Malkoha, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Dusky Tit, White-browed Crombec, Black-faced Apalis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Northern Double-collared Sunbird and White-breasted Nigrita. We stop our day birding at 5.30pm and we head back to Ken Barham Guest Housefor dinner and accommodation.
This is a day to try Handsome Francolin at Pindura-Bweyeye road. We can also see Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Strange and Forest Weavers, Abyssinian Thrush, Albertine Boubou, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, Mackinnon’s Shrike, White-necked Raven, Black-throated Apalis, Chubb’s Cisticola, Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Common Bulbul (Dark-capped), African Yellow White-eye, African Dusky Flycatcher, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, During the migration period, we can also see raptors like European Honey-buzzard, Black Kite and Mountain Buzzard. After lunch we head again at Rangiro road to see Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Black-tailed Oriole, Northern Puffback, Albertine Boubou, Rwenzori Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, African Yellow White-eye, White-starred Robin, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Regal Sunbird. We will end up our day birding at the office of the park (Gisakura) where we stop for some minutes to seeAfrican Green-Pigeon, Black-billed Weaver, and we can also try Rwenzori Nightjar in communities’ farm around the Lodge.
We have a morning birding at Waterfall trail, this trail shows really how Nyungwe NP is an indigenous forest. At this trail we shall seeLemon Dove, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Many-colored Bush-shrike, Siffling Cisticola, White-bellied Crested-Flycatcher, African Green-Pigeon, Great Blue Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Rwenzori Batis, Northern Puffback, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Apalis, Black-faced Apalis, Gray Apalis, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler, Rock Martin, Angola Swallow, Red-rumped, Swallow, Black Saw-wing, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul. After lunch we head to Kigali and on the way we stop at Uwasenkoko Swamp to try Grauer’s Swamp Warbler (Bradypterus graueri) and wetland species endemic to the Albertine Rift region. After lunch we drive to Huye and our accommodation is at Gallileo Hotel
After the morning breakfast, we have an experience of coffee processing at Maraba Coffee washing station. We learn how coffee is planted and other process until the final product ready to be consumed. After coffee, we visit the Ethnographic Museum to learn more about Rwandan culture and general life before, during and after colonial period. After lunch we drive to Akagera NP, via Kigali. We have our accommodation at Akagera Rhino Lodge.
We enter the park at 6am and after registration at the park reception, we start birding and game viewing in a savanna park and we can see Ruhuaha Chat and Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Trilling, Croaking and Tabola Cisticolas, African Grey Hornbill, Greater Blue-eared and Long-tailed Starlings, Lilac-breasted Roller , Speckled and Blue-napped Mousebirds, Bateleur, Lizard Buzzard, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, Collared Pratincole, Ring-necked Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Sooty Chat, Blue-headed Coucal, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Pearl-spotted Owlet , Hildebrandt’s, Common Cuckoo, Flappet Lark, Rufous-naped Lark. We can also encounter herds of Buffaloes, dazzle of Zebra andImpala; accommodation at Akagera Game Lodge.
We start birding in garden of Akagera Game Lodge to see Red-faced Barbet. After we continue on hills sides for a full day birding and animal viewing. We can see Coqui Francolins, Brubru, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Red-chested Cuckoo, Striped Kingfisher, Woodland Kingfisher, Common Scimitarbill, Green Wood Hoopoe African Grey Hornbill, Grey Kestrel, Meyer’s Parrot, Black-headed Gonolek Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Chinspot Batis, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Grey-Backed Fiscal and Crested Barbet, and we can see many animals like Giraffe, Elephants, Cape Eland, etc. At 4.30pm to 6pm we go for a sunset boat on Lake Ihema and we can see flocks of waterbirds at the breeding area including Great Cormorant, Striated Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Common Squacco Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Reed Cormorant, African Darter, African Fish Eagle, Black Crake, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Grey Crowned CraneAccommodation and dinner at Akagera Game Lodge
We have a morning birding and game viewing on Lake Circuit and we can see Senegal Lapwing, African Jacana, Crowned Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Broad-billed Roller, Saddle-billed Stork, African Palm Swift , Little Swift, African Green Pigeon, Ross’s Turaco, Little Bee-eater, African Hoopoe, Lesser Striped Swallow, Red-faced Crombec, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Spot-flanked Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Bearded Woodpecker, Stout Cisticola, Short-winged Cisticola, Tabola (Long-tailed) Cisticola, Tawny-flanked Prinia, White-chinned Prinia, MiomboWren-warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, after lunch we drive to Kigali; accommodation at Chez Lando Hotel.
After an earlier breakfast, we head to wetlands of Bugesera to see Papyrus Gonolek at Gashora Wetland where can also see easily Papyrus Canary, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Hottentot Teal, White-winged Swamp Warbler, Banded Martin, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Spur-winged Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Eurasian Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Black Crake, Long-toed Lapwing, Wattled Lapwing, African Jacana, Wood Sandpiper, Long-tailed Cormorant, Pink-backed Pelican, Little Bittern, Gray Heron, Black-headed Heron, Purple Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, African Sacred Ibis, Long-crested Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, Black Kite (Yellow-billed), Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Eurasian Kestrel, Papyrus Gonolek, Winding Cisticola, Carruthers’s Cisticola, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Common Bulbul (Dark-capped), Swamp Flycatcher, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Red-chested Sunbird, Holub’s Golden-Weaver, Lesser Masked-Weaver, Red-billed Quelea, Southern Red Bishop, White-winged Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Grosbeak Weaver, Common Waxbill, Red-billed Firefinch, Western Yellow Wagtail, African Pied Wagtail, Yellow-fronted Canary, later afternoon we drive to the airport for the evening flight. END