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  • Photograph of Mountain Gorilla

    A magnificent silverback Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda by Max Chiswick.

    RWANDA


    Best Wildlife in Rwanda

    Mammals
    Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, (Angola/Ruwenzori) Black-and-white Colobus, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Blue, Golden (Blue), L’Hoest’s and Silver (Blue) Monkeys, African Elephant, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Burchell's Zebra, Olive Baboon, Bushbaby (Greater Galago), Eland, Waterbuck, Topi, Impala, Bohor Reedbuck, Bushbuck and Oribi. Also a chance of Giraffe (introduced), Spotted Hyaena, Sitatunga, Roan and Sable, and an outside chance of Dent’s (Mona), Owl-faced and Red-tailed Monkeys.

    Birds

    Specialities
    Kungwe Apalis. Also a chance of Shoebill.

    Albertine Rift Endemics (21 out of 31)
    Handsome Francolin, Ruwenzori Turaco, Dwarf Honeyguide, Red-throated Alethe, Archer's Robin Chat, Black-faced and Collared Apalises, Grauer's, Grauer's Swamp, Red-faced Woodland and Short-tailed (Neumann's) Warblers, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Blue-headed, Purple-breasted and Regal Sunbirds, Strange Weaver, and Dusky and Shelley's Crimsonwings.

    Others
    Helmeted Guineafowl, African Darter, Hamerkop, Goliath, Madagascar Pond (mostly May-Oct) and Rufous-bellied Herons, White-headed Vulture, Bateleur, African Fish Eagle, African Crowned, Long-crested and Martial Eagles, Black Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, Grey Crowned Crane, African Jacana, Long-toed and Senegal Lapwings, African Green Pigeon, Meyer’s Parrot, Black-billed, Great Blue, Purple-crested and Ross's Turacos, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Scarce Swift, mousebirds, Bar-tailed and Narina Trogons, kingfishers including Giant, bee-eaters including Cinnamon-chested, Lilac-breasted Roller, African Hoopoe, Green Woodhoopoe, hornbills, Double-toothed and Red-faced Barbets, woodpeckers, Chin-spot Batis, White-crested Helmetshrike, Doherty’s, Lagden’s and Sulphur-breasted Bushshrikes, Black-headed and Papyrus Gonoleks, Grey-backed Fiscal, Montane Oriole, Blue-mantled and White-bellied Crested Flycatchers, African Paradise Flycatcher, Mountain Greenbul, White-winged Warbler, apalises, Banded Prinia, Red-faced Crombec, Violet-backed Hyliota, flycatchers, Arnot’s and Sooty Chats, robin-chats, White-starred Robin, Equatorial Akalat, scrub-robins, African (Ruwenzori) Hill Babbler, Splendid Starling, Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, sunbirds including Red-chested, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Mountain Wagtail, Golden-breasted Bunting, Papyrus Canary, weavers and waxbills.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Nile Crocodile. Also a chance of Ruwenzori Side-striped Chameleon.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Rwanda

    Photograph of Chimpanzee

    Chimpanzee by Alice Perry.

    Best Times for Wildlife in Rwanda

    The peak time to visit Rwanda is during the long dry season from June to September. The wettest times of the year are usually March to May and October to December.

    Recommended Books etc. for Rwanda

    Bradt Travel Guides: East African Wildlife by P Briggs and A Van Zandbergen. Bradt, 2015 (Second Edition).

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).

    Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa by J Fanshawe and T Stevenson. Helm, 2004.

    Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey. Phoenix, 2001.


    Apps etc.

    The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.

    Audubon African Wildlife.

    eGuide to Birds of East Africa.

    Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Rwanda

    Many trip reports, some for Rwanda, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Rwanda. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Rwanda' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Rwanda

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Rwanda

    Some Organized Tours to Rwanda

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to Rwanda include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.