Best places for bird photography in Rwanda And Filming Activities

Best places for bird photography and filming in Rwanda

What are the best places for bird photography and filming in Rwanda? Rwanda is a birding paradise and home to an impressive variety of bird species, making it a popular birding destination in Africa. The avifauna of Rwanda includes over 700 confirmed species with 29 Albertine Rift Endemics among others. With its diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity, Rwanda offers excellent bird photography and primate filming opportunities. Here are some of the best places to capture avian wonders in this beautiful country and land of rolling hills.

Photography and filming of birds in Volcanoes National Park

The park is known for the iconic mountain Gorillas but is also a fantastic location for bird photography and filming. Over 165 bird species have been confirmed and inhabit the park including 17 endemics. Usually while taking pictures and filming bird species, visitors may encounter primates such as golden monkeys and gorillas in the Parc National Des Volcans. Some of the bird species occurring in this area include the high-altitude Black-faced Apalis, the small and insectivorous Rwenzori Apalis, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler and Handsome Francolin, Abyssinian Thrush, Cape Robin-chat, Regal Sunbird, Streaky Seed-eater, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Dusky-turtle Dove known for their distinctive calls among others.

Photography and filming of birds in Nyungwe Forest National Park

This park is another bird watcher’s paradise with over 310 bird species including 27 Albertine rift endemics. Nyungwe Forest is a treasure trove. Keep an eye out for the striking Red-throated Alethe often seen flitting through the forest understory, the ground-dwelling Kivu Ground Thrush with its beautiful plumage, Chapin’s Flycatcher adding melodious calls to the forest chorus, the shy Shelley’s Crimsonwing with its crimson plumage, Dusky Crimsonwing and the delighting Rockefeller’s Sunbird. Some of the best trails for filming, watching and photographing birds in Nyungwe Forest National Park include;

  • The Karamba Trail located in the western part of the park is moderately flat and quite open hence an amazing choice for bird watching, photography and filming. Keep an eye out for the sunrise view and the morning bird songs while on this trail.
  • Bigugu Trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park leads to the highest peak of Nyungwe and spans 7 kilometres. This trail is strenuous due to its steepness but offers a chance to spot rare bird species such as the Red-collared Mountain Babbler.
  • Kamiranzovu Trail is unique because it offers both plant and wildlife experiences. The trail passes through swampy areas at high altitudes. Commonly sighted birds along this trail include Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, and pairs of the Great Blue Turaco among others

Photography and Filming of Birds in Akagera National Park

The park is a true haven for bird watchers, boasting approximately 550 unique bird species. Whether one is an avid birder or a casual observer, Akagera National Park provides an unforgettable experience. Some of the notable species one can encounter in this diverse game park include the Majestic African Fish Eagle, Black-headed Weaver, African Jacana commonly found around freshwater ponds and lakes, the stunning Lilac-breasted Roller with vibrant plumage, the colourful Saddle-billed Stork, the melodious Fork-tailed Drongo and the secretive White-browed Coucal, Red-faced Barbet, Coqui Francolin and Sooty Chat. Some of the best birding spots in the park include; Lake Ihema which is a perfect habitat for both resident and migratory species, Savannah grasslands also offer diverse birdwatching opportunities.

African Jacana

The cost of bird photography and filming in Rwanda

Visitors interested in photography and filming wildlife in Rwanda are required to pay for a filming permit. The cost of filming permits for bird photography and filming birds is as follows;

  • 15-day permit: $30
  • 30-day permit: $50

The filming permits are issued by the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture which is a division of the Ministry of Sports and Culture. Also, you will need to clear customs at the point of entry in Rwanda for your filming equipment.

What you need for a bird photography and filming safari in Rwanda.

  1. Filming permits and their costs

Visitors interested in photography and filming wildlife in Rwanda are required to pay for a filming permit. The cost of filming permits for bird photography and filming birds is as follows;

  • 15-day permit: $30
  • 30-day permit: $50

The filming permits are issued by the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture which is a division of the Ministry of Sports and Culture. Also, you will need to clear customs at the point of entry in Rwanda for your filming equipment. Visitors should ensure to book early with Journeys Uganda as your film fixer to process their filming permit. Make sure to fill out all the application forms and send them back to your local Rwanda Production fixer.

  1. Rwanda Press filming accreditation

To film in Rwanda, media accreditation is mandatory for everyone. This accreditation allows you to operate as a journalist or filmmaker within the country and is issued by the government of Rwanda. Here are some of the key details:

  • Media Pass/ card:
Jazmin one of our former photography and filming clients

Everyone must hold a media pass issued by the government. To obtain this, one should follow the following steps;

Provide an official letter from your media or production company

The letter should state your purpose and request media accreditation

Ensure that the letter meets all requirements specified by the authorities

  • Cost and duration:

The media card permits you to work for 15 or 30 days. The cost is USD 30 for 15 days and USD 50 for 30 days

  • Application Process:

Download the Press accreditation forms from the Rwanda Media Council website

Make sure you fill out the forms properly and attach all required documents

Submit your application for media accreditation.

One should note that having the proper Media accreditation ensures a smooth filming experience in Rwanda.

3. Other permissions and fees while on a bird photography and filming safari.

After getting the filming permit, one may also need to pay other small permission fees for example permission to film inside a protected area, permission for drone filming and nighttime filming. On the whole, many rules and regulations guide those interested in filming in Rwanda. One is advised to get a good and experienced film fixer to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law. Other fees to be covered include; the accommodation cost, the visa, the film fixer fee and the vehicle hiring fee.

What is the best time to do bird photography and filming safari in Rwanda?

Bird photography and filming safari in Rwanda can be done all year round but the best time for filming is from June to October and during December which is a dry season and weather conditions are favourable. However, the wet season is associated with the nature-based green colour due to the regeneration of vegetation making it favourable in Rwanda all year round