Nyungwe Forest National Park

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Nyungwe Forest National Park

The adventure through the winding roads through the huge tea fields that lead you to the famous Nyungwe Forest National Park as you experience the large forest with its endless Kamiranzovu swamp.

Filled with stunning beauty, the beautiful green forest of Nyungwe is an important water catchment for the Rwandese people and also pouring into the famous River Nile and on the west runs to the Congo rendering it  one of Rwanda’s natural wonders

A tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park is undeniably a life changing experience. A visit to Nyungwe takes you through the great natural forest, comprising ancient trees, swamps, blogs and grasslands, which have all favored the inhabitation of various wild and birdlife. The trails through the park offer the best chances for birding, the primate tracking and game viewing in Rwanda. Nyungwe Forest National Park is found in the South Western part of Rwanda and is bordered by Burundi in the south while lake kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the west of the national park.

Flora and Fauna in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is divided into two by a line of mountains which form part of the Congo–Nile watershed thus the forest is composed of two areas differing in pedology, vegetation, water-flow and biodiversity.

Over 250 tree species have been recorded including Chrysophyllum, Entandophragma, and Newtonia dominate the forest at lower altitudes. Syzygium guineense, Carapa grandiflora, Parinari excelsa, Strombosia, Symphonia, Beilschmiedia and Ocotea usambarensis are found in the primary forest.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a wonderful birding area with over 275 species recorded in Nyungwe Forest National Park. These include all the 25 species of the Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area that occur in Rwanda, Chapin’s Flycatcher and Rockefellers’ Sunbird. Also, 11 of the 23 species of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome and 71 of the 74 species of this biome of Afrotropical Highlands that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site.

The Plant diversity is high leading to a diversity of wildlife including mammals; 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, African Civet, Two-spotted Palm Civet, Genet Servaline, Large-spotted Genet, Slender Mongoose, Marsh Mongoose, Ichneumon Mongoose, Congo Clawless Otter and many more.

Thirteen species of primate species; the Chimpanzee, 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.

Activities/ Attractions in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Travel to Nyungwe Forest and take an adventure through the great natural forest with amazing wildlife and natural wonders. Though most travelers to Rwanda opt for Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking, a tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park is a life changing experience. The popular things you must see and do in Nyungwe forest national park include among others:

Canopy walk

Visitors walk on the built trail hanging 60 meters above the forest rewarding them with an aerial view of the park, its wildlife, adjacent communities and the backdrop of the Virunga volcanoes. The canopy walk is a 200 meters walk above the forest and lasts 2 hours and is only done in Nyungwe forest national park in the whole of east Africa.

Chimpanzee trekking

Nyungwe Forest is home to the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda. Chimpanzee trekking is a major activity done in Nyungwe Forest National Park with three starting points of Gisakura, Uwinka and katabi where they attend a briefing about the trekking dos and don’ts before embarking into the forest to meet the chimpanzees. On meeting the chimpanzees, you will discover their feeding habits and ways of life.

Bird watching

Nyungwe Forest National Park shelters over 300 bird species and is Rwanda’s best birding spot. Out of the total bird population in Nyungwe forest, 121 are forest birds while 27 are endemic to the albertine rift valley. The most spotted birds include Rockefeller’s sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Great blue Turaco, red collared mountain babbler, Rera grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, white tailed flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, barred long tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori nightjar, Rwenzori hill babler, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubou, and the Neumann’s warbler among others.

Forest hiking

Hiking the forest is the best way to explore the beauty of Nyungwe forest through the 13 hiking trails, which are approximately 130 kilometers leading into the interior of the forest. Each trail lead to a different attraction such as waterfalls caves and swamps and each trail offers unique features. The hiking trails include Igishigishigi trail, Bigugu trail, Ngabwe trail, Isumo waterfall trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, Karamba birding trail, Source of the Nile trail, Irebero trail, Muzimu trail, Imbaraga trail, Congo Nile trail, Umoyove trail, and Rukuzi trail among others.. Hiking through the forest takes the travelers to a peaceful calm environment with the sound of the calls of the birds.

Culture Encounters

People in Rwanda have a very rich culture that can be enjoyed in these cultural encounters . Discover the food and drinks eaten by the Rwandese people, cultural performers. There are centers such as the Banda Community Village, Kitabi cultural village, and Cyamundongo cultural troupe showcasing the culture of the Rwandese people.

Monkey trekking

Nyungwe forest is home to over 300 monkey species making it an ideal place for spotting different species of monkeys, which include L’ Hoests monkeys, black and white colubus, blue monkeys, and red tailed monkeys among others.

Travel to Nyungwe Forest National Park and enjoy all activities and enjoy attractions that will stay in your memory for a lifetime.

Where to stay in Nyungwe National Park

A good choice of an accommodation is one of the prerequisites for an enjoyable and memorable safari in Africa. There are a number of accommodation options in the park and some include:

  • Nyungwe Forest Lodge
  • Gisakura Guest House
  • Nyungwe Top View Hotel.

The park also offers options for camping for the budget travelers that want a close encounter with the wilderness.

How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park

By Road

Nyungwe Forest National Park is about 225km and a 4-5 hour drive from Kigali and is located in southwestern Rwanda.

By Air

Nyungwe National Park can be accessed by  air from domestic flights, there is a route from  Kigali to Kamembe from where you connect to Nyungwe National Park by road.

Best time of the year to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe forest during the wet season has plenty of rain and provides a lot of food for the primates thus they don’t move long distances in search for food while during the dry season the scarcity of food tends to make them move in search for food making tracking them a little hectic. Nature walks during the dry season are the best with minimal disturbances of rainfall accompanied by slippery forest paths that could disrupt the tourist activities. One can catch a closer glimpse of the primates while on the renowned canopy walks.

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