Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe forest national park is one of the remaining preserved largest tropical montane rain forest parks in the Eastern and Central Africa located in southwestern Rwanda on the border with Burundi, south of Lake Kivu, and west of Democratic Republic of Congo. The park was established in 2004 and occupies an area of about 1000 square kilometers and harbor’s variety of tourism attractions and activities that can be conducted in the forest including chimpanzee trekking, canopy walk, nature walks, hiking among others.
With rich bio-diversity, the park is home to a wide variety of rare endangered species with a recorded number of 13 primate species, 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian, and 38 reptile species. More so the forest park is a source of other several river outlets where river Congo and Nile as well originate from this area due to its annual rainfall ranges which are recorded to be receiving over 2000mm annually. Visitors to this park are therefore can enjoy several activities on their safari which include the following;
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park compliment to the primate world of the endangered species like mountain gorilla trekking activity which is done in Volcanoes national park in the country. Therefore the park as well is best for primate safari whereby there are 13 primate species found in the country. Being regarded as one of the closest relative to human beings with 95% Human DNA Chimpanzees at the park is being habituated which means they are used to human beings.
The activity is done early in the morning where you get briefed at the park headquarters about the dos and don’ts while in the forest and once you meet them in their natural habitat. These apes are usually found either feeding high in the trees or moving swiftly along the ground where you have an hour experience taking plenty of pictures and as well ask any questions to the guide for answers. However, along the trail, you can encounter other primates and mammals which include; L’Hoest’s Monkey, Owl-faced Monkey, Mona Monkey, Blue Monkey, Golden Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, Vervet Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Black and White Colobus, Eastern Needle-Clawed Galago, Greater Bushbaby, Dwarf Galago, and Olive Baboon. Other mammals include; Giant Forest Squirrel, Mountain Sun Squirrel, Boem’s Squirrel, Lord Darby’s Flying Squirrel, Giant Forest Hog, Bush Pig, Tree Hyrax, Lestrade’s Duiker, Black-fronted Duiker, Yellow-backed Duiker, Leopard, Golden Cat, Serval Cat, Wild Cat, Side-striped Jackal among others.
Nyungwe Forest Canopy walk
The forest canopy walk highlights one of the unique experiences that travelers enjoy to this park, The highlight is a 200m-long, 40m-high suspended metallic canopy walkway that offers superb bird’s-eye over a steep wooded valley run through by a small stream with an aerial view of the park, adjacent communities, birds, butterfly’s and other primates within the forest. The two hours walk start and end at the national park headquarters at Uwinka information center It is a thrilling walk which you should not miss to include on your itinerary where you can enjoy some really amazing views from way up above the ground.
The park has over thirteen hiking trails, and over 130km of these trails run through the forest, a chance to see and experience the rainforest and all it has to offer. The trails take you through some steep ravines interspersed with slippery stretches and these include; Bigugu Trail, Ngambwe Trail, Karamba Trail, Muzimu Trail, Isumo Trail, Kamiranzozu Trail, Irebero Trail, Umugote Trail, The Rukuzi Trail, Igishigishigi Trail, Imbaraga Trail, Umuyove Trail, and the Congo Nile Divide Trail. Therefore travelers are required to exhibit some level of fitness for some of the trails are hectic and strenuous but as well for the love of the activity and provision of services to best serve the visitors, short trails are as well allocated to visitors who would love to be less strained by the hike.
Bird watching experience
Nyungwe forest is one of the best birders destinations whereby the park host about 300 bird species with both endemic and migratory birds, 16 endemics, 27 Albertine rift endemics, and 121 forest species. Some of these bird species include; the large blue turaco purple breasted and blue breasted sunbirds, White Hornbill, Regal Sunbird, and Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Turaco, Batis diops, Ruwenzori Batis, Handsome Francolin, Regal Sunbird and so many more. Generally, Nyungwe is undoubtedly the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in the region
Accessing the park
Nyungwe National Park is 217km from Kigali which is approximately 3-4 hour drive and along the route you can make a stopover at the National Museum to see locally made arts and craft, and cultural entertainment if you have time. The park can as well be accessed by air through booking domestic flights from Kigali to Kamembe International airport. Kamembe is 49km to the park which is equivalent to a 1-hour drive to Nyungwe forest.
Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park
These are exclusive experiences in Rwanda we are sure will give you maximum African safari experiences during your trip to Africa.