NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

Tucked in the Southern corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a special primate trekking destination in Africa. The park protects up to 13 species of primates, diverse floral species, 310 bird species and others.

The location of Nyungwe

Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda is situated in the Southern region and accessing it takes 6 to 7 hours’ drive. This park was created in 2004, lying at the altitude of 1600-2000 meters. Its land area measures 970sq.km, and supports a rage of vegetation types including afro-montane forest. The park’s vast land area protects a variety of species including 200 species of trees, 1068 plant species, 248 orchid species, 13 primate species and 310 bird species.

Primates & other wildlife

Nyungwe is an important primate safari park in Rwanda, and also holds other species of animals. The 13 primate species of Nyungwe include among others 500 chimpanzees, Dent’s Mona monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, owl-faced monkeys, & blue monkeys, etc.

Other faunal species of Nyungwe include giant forest hogs, black-fronted duikers, impalas, western tree hyrax, golden cats, serval, buffaloes, otters, klipspringers, elephants, genets and many others.

Bird species

Nyungwe National Park is an amazing birding safari destination, providing refuge to more than 310 bird species. These include an estimate of 29 species of Albertine rift birds and the possible bird sightings include the Kivu ground thrush, archer’s robin chat, dusky crimson wing, grauer’s swamp warblers, bar-tailed trogon, blue-headed sunbirds, Rockefellers’ sunbird, purple-breasted sunbird, dwarf honey guide, African hill babblers, mountain masked apalis, strange weaver,

Regal sunbird, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rwenzori nightjar, short-tailed warblers, Neumann’s warblers, Rwenzori turacos, stripe-breasted tit, to mention but a few.

Tourism activities to do in Nyungwe NP Rwanda

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is Nyungwe Forest National Park main safari highlight providing you opportunity to interact with chimpanzees in the wild. The 2-4 hours guided primate walk introduces you to the tropical forest to search and explore more about chimpanzees, and visits are made to already habituated communities in Cyangugu, and Uwinka reception.

Nyungwe chimpanzee permits are issued to visitors at USD 100 per person and a chimp trek allows you to encounter other primates like blue monkeys, Rwenzori colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and more.

Canopy walk

Canopy walking is an addition to Nyungwe Forest National Park activities, introduced in 2010. It is the first experience in the whole of East Africa, offering tourists a chance to walk through a suspended canopy walkway set about 50 meters from the ground. The long canopy walkway in Nyungwe takes about 2 hours and comes with possibilities of you sighting birds, primates and colorful butterflies. Visitors are charged USD 60 to participate in this experience and it starts at Uwinka along Igishigishigi trail.

Colobus monkey tracking

Monkey tracking offers a special primate encounter of its own. The park holds 400 colobus monkeys and a trek through Nyungwe Forest is a great opportunity to explore how these interesting primates behave and taking pictures. Other primates will also be encountered including l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, and blue monkeys, etc.

Hiking

To enthusiastic nature lovers, a visit to Nyungwe allows you to also engage in guided nature walking or hiking experience. The park has 13 amazing trails open for nature walks each providing unique experiences and include Ngabwe, Umoyove, Congo Nile divide, Uwinka trail, Igishigishigi trail, Imbaraga, Bigugu, Muzimu trail, Isumo waterfall trail, Karamba, Irebero trail, Rukuzi, Umugote and Buhoro.

Birding

Nyungwe birding expeditions come with great opportunities to identify diversity of birds including Albertine rift species and forest dwellers. Within this forest park, there exist 310 bird species including the red-faced woodland warblers, Kivu ground thrush, great blue turacos, regal sunbird, collared apalis, red-breasted sparrow hawks, mountain masked apalis, strange weaver, Rockefeller’s sunbird, purple sunbird, Shelley’s crimson wing, Kungwe apalis, and more.

The best time of the year to visit Nyungwe

Nyungwe Forest N. Park attracts visitor all year through to explore its natural wonders. But the dry season (June, July, August, September, December, January to February) is the most preferred time to travel to this park for a vacation. Even during the rainy months of the year, it is possible to arrange a tour to Nyungwe that is around March, April, May or October, November. The challenge that you may encounter is muddy and slippery ground since this is the period when the park experiences heavy rains.

Nyungwe accommodation facilities

The available lodges for tourists to stay in and around Nyungwe Forest NP exist as budget, midrange and luxury. They include Emeraude Kivu Resort, Gisakura Guesthouse, One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Top View Hotel, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, and others.

How to reach the park

Lying in the far Southern Province, Nyungwe Forest NP is 6 to 7 hours’ drive from Kigali city center. En-route driving from Kigali includes stop visit at Butare for you to explore King’s palace museum, ethnographic museum and other sites. By air: flights can also be arranged by your local tour operator and fly in safaris set off from Kigali to Kamembe airport.