Birding around Kigali city : Kigali city is ranked the best greenest city in Africa which makes it a haven for many different fascinating bird species. With the environmental protection policies and laws whereby wetlands and other natural reserves have been recovered from other activities like agriculture, farming and construction to serve as tourism reserves, this has made Kigali a good place for bird watching. The cleanliness of Kigali, the security and easy accessibility of different places, makes Kigali the best birding choice for every tourist who come in the city. Various places have been noted as the best spots for birding in or around Kigali city.

Kigali city boast a lot of a fantastic birding areas where you may explore a range of habitants such as lakes/ swamps, wetlands, grassland, forests, gardens and woods. Many more wetlands that were reclaimed from settlements, agriculture and for other purposes have been reclaimed by the government and are being transformed in to protected green area and natural reserves that will serves as a birding havens within the city. In actuality, Kigali will be a birding paradises in a few years to come, birding in Kigali city is made quite lovely by the city’s perfect organization and cleanliness, safe, nice roads and simple accessibility.

Where to do birding in or around Kigali city

Umusambi Village is one of the best birding hotspot and possibly the best in the city, is Kigali’s first wildlife reserve, is the first wildlife reserve in Kigali, purposely established to rehabilitate and give a home to rescued Grey Crowned Cranes in Rwanda. It is located on the edge of Kigali City along the way to east of the country. Umusambi Village is home to over 100 species of native and migratory birds, by far Umusambi Village nature reserve is the best spot for bird watching in Kigali, and offers an excellent place to begin your birding tour in Rwanda the place is gifted with the excellent trail network the birder can access the grasslands, swamps, bush, and woodlands areas of the reserve spotting an array of birds. With a full day on the birding trail, while on your birding adventure safari to Umasambi conservancy village you will encounter with variety of majestical birds such as Trilling Cisticola, White-collard Oliveback, African Firefinch, Purple-crested Turaco, Olive Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Black-shouldered Nightjar, Lesser Honey guide, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Green-winged Pytilia, Brown Parrot, Black Kite (Palearctic migrant blacked-billed migrants) among others.

 Nyarutarama Lake

Nyarutarama Lake is located near the Kigali Golf Course. Has a route around it which offers exceptional bird watching at the lake, providing a good count of water species. Some of this fantastic bird species that can be spotted in this beautiful Lakes includes, African spoonbill, Yellow-billed Duck, Common Moorhen, Hottentot Teal, Red-billed Tea, White-faced Whistling Duck, Hadada Ibis, Cater Egret, Black-headed Heron, Spur-winged Geese, Black Egret, and Little Grebe among others.

Many of this species are found on the lakes border such as African Hobby, Windind Cisticola, Black Kite, Swamp Flycatcher, Grey-capped Warbler, Pygmy Kingfisher, African Fish Eagle, White-browed Coucal, tawny-flanked Prinia and many more. Small acacia woodland in its surrounding in the east of the lake will also add to your list of raptors such as Mountain Buzzard and various lesser species including Swifts, Martins, Swallows, and Sunbirds.

 Nyabarongo wetland

The Nyabarongo wetland also offers the best bird watching spot, the wetland can be accessed from many points and walking along the edges will grant you a chance to see almost all the different waters birds species that makes the swamp their home such  as Papyrus Gonolek, Goliath Heron, Spur-winged Geese, Black-headed Gonolek, African Jacana, Black-headed Heron, African Marsh Harrier, Cattle Egret, White-winged Warbler, Squacoo Heron, Long-toed Lapwing, African Open bill, Little Egret, Great Swamp Warbler, Yellow-billed Stork among others

Nyandungu Eco-tourism Park

Nyandungu Eco-tourism Park was currently introduced in 2022, making it the newest bird watching destination in Kigali city, the park is situated in a magnificently reserved wetland, the park occupies an area of approximately 121.7 hectares of wetland and woodland ecosystem ad houses over 100 different species of birds. The Nynadungu eco-park has 10 kilometers of covered walking and cycling path. Some of the birds species sighted in the park includes striking Black Cuckoo-shrike. Driving to the park is less than 30 minutes from Kigali city center making it ideal for prime birding destination. Birding in Nyandungu Eco-park cam be joined with birding in Umusambi village because both destinations are located along the same path to the east of Kigali city. That’s to say, you can have a half-day at Nyandungu and a half-day at Umusambi provide the best one-day birding experience in Kigali city.

Birding around Kigali city
Nyandungu Eco-tourism Park

Birding at mount Kigali

Mount Kigali is the largest hill in the neighborhood of Kigali at its southern part. Being cover by a forest with accommodates various bird species makes it ideal choice for bird watching in Kigali. The birds that can be sighted on the mountain includes  African Paradise Flycatcher, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Southern Black Flycatcher, Red-chested Cuckoo, Green-backed Camaroptera, Thick-billed Seedeater, Tropical Boubou, Northern Puffback, Common Bulbul, Bronze Mannikin, and the Yellow-fronted Canary among others.

The best time for Birding in Kigali City

In Kigali city, bird watching is done throughout the year. However, the best period to watch birds in their breeding down is from December to February. This is also the time of year when migrating birds, particularly Eurasian and Palearctic migrants, visit Rwanda’s diverse range of habitats.

What to pack for a birding safari in Kigali 

When planning to go birding in Kigali city, there essentials to consider on your birding safari adventure in Kigali city such as birds guidebook good pair of hiking boots, a pair of binoculars, a water bottle, energy snacks, a camera and extra batteries, a portable voice recorder, a birding guide and checklist, insect repellant and sunscreen, hat/cap, long sleeved shirts and trousers among others.

Where to stay during a birding safari in Kigali City

There are quite a number of accommodation facilities  where you can stay while birding in Kigali city and these include Marriot Kigali Hotel, Serena Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton, Ubumwe Grande Hotel, Step Town Hotel, Des Milles Collines Hotel, Onomo Hotel and the Manor hotel to mention but a few.

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