Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe forest national park is Rwanda’s leading chimpanzee tracking safari destination for primates and birding tours in Rwanda. Nyungwe forest Rwanda is the source of Africa’s great rivers. Rain that falls on the east side feeds the Nile and on the west runs to the Congo. The Congo-Nile Divide is a mountain range that runs north to south through Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest is a high-altitude, mountainous rain forest in southern Rwanda conserved in 2005, the Government of Rwanda declared Nyungwe a national park, according it the highest level of protection in Rwanda. This forest, the largest mountain rainforest in all of Africa, hosts 13 species of primates including the Angola colobus found in groups of 300-400 animals that is an attribute unique to Nyungwe. It also hosts a large population of chimpanzees and two other threatened species of monkeys; the owl faced monkey and reported but unverified sightings of the golden monkey.

Nyungwe is a remarkable rich centre of biodiversity. More than 1,050 plant species, 250 Albertine Rift Endemics and 200 orchids, along with at least 120 butterfly species. The vertebrate fauna includes 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 85 mammals and 310 bird species of which about 15% are Albertine Rift Endemics.

At Nyungwe primates are the main attraction, 13 species are present including chimpanzee with a population estimated at 500-1000 which is usually tracked at a short notice or even the sound they make in the jungle, several other monkeys are readily seen; including the L’Hoest’s monkey and acrobatic Ruwenzori colobus.

Nyungwe is also highly alluring to birders, botanist and keen walkers, with its 130 network of walking trails and the only sight for suspended canopy walk, the park features few tourist itineraries, because the forest trails require a lot of stamina than Volcanoes National Park.

How to reach Nyungwe Forest National Park

By bus; you can take a bus headed to Ruzizi from Nyabugogo bus park in Kigali, get off at Uwinka Center. Travelling by bus takes a little bit longer, and the bus ride might even be 8 hours long. There are buses that drive through he park, and you could hope on those, but they are usually quite full.

By car; Hiring a car is much more comfortable, convenient and will take a much shorter time. You will avoid the hustle of travelling the difficult stretches such as stretch between Uwinka Center and Gisakura.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park

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Chimpanzee and Monkey Tracking in Nyungwe Forest

The park is also a good location where you can add chimpanzee trekking to your gorilla trek with in volcanoes national park without driving long distances. Chimpanzee trekking also starts in the morning and its best to carry a day pack where you have a couple of liters of water, have long trousers, the long sleeved shirt, rain jacket, the hiking boots and the hat. There will also be a maximum of over 8 people in your group that sets out to track the chimpanzees. These chimps at Nyungwe forest have been and are being habituated which means that they are used to human beings. Even though gorilla tracking, however, many set out to track these closest cousins as they play in Nyungwe forest national park.

Nyungwe Forest National ParkThere are also over 13 primate species that are found in Nyungwe forest. There are also unconfirmed sightings of the golden monkeys that have also been reported. Apart from chimpanzee trekking, you can also trek the grey cheeked Mangabeys and Ruwenzori colobus Monkeys in Nyungwe Forest. These monkeys can also be seen in large groups of up to 300 colobus monkeys.

Also as you track any of the primate group, you will likely see some other monkeys along the trek. These might include; L’ Hoest’s monkey, the Owl faced monkeys, Mona monkey and the blue monkeys. The forest is also a primate country and you can also trek the chimps, the gray cheeked and the Colobus monkeys in the ancient forest.

Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Forest National ParkThis canopy walk is also the first tree top forest canopy walk in East Africa and the third in all Africa.this walk is also an activity not to be missed in Rwanda. In case you are coming to Rwanda to trek the mountain gorillas, you can add on some days and include Nyungwe forest and enjoy the canopy walk as part of your safari itinerary. This canopy walk is also 50 meters above the ground and this can also be dizzying heights for some people, you will see the monkeys move around in the tree tops, the birds that are flying above you and below you and a beautiful view of the huge Nyungwe forest. It’s also an amazing sight. This canopy walk is also 90m long which is not a long distance, however, it’s when you are 50 m above the ground.

Birding in Nyungwe forest

Nyungwe Forest National ParkNyungwe Forest has  300 bird species and 27 of them are endemics and are part of the species that are found in the forests of the albertine rift. For example the Grauer’s Warbler which is an albertine rift endemics hat can be found within the mountain swamps like the Kamiranzovou with in Nyungwe Forest .you can also find both the Rwenzori Turaco and the large blue Turaco. The sun birds of many types like the purple breasted and the blue headed sun bird and can be found in flowering trees. Nyungwe is also birder’s paradise and you will see many other things from the orchids to the primates during your birding walks with in Nyungwe Forest.

Hiking in Nyungwe Forest National park

This national park is also a hiker’s paradise. There are also 13 hiking trails with over 130 kilometers of the trails through the forest. The visitors can also spend a good week as you are hiking the many trails, as you explore the ancient rainforest and discovering many habitants found in the forest.

The private hikes are also from one to eight hours in length and most can also be completed in case you are in reasonable physical shape. With your personal input, we can also arrange the hike that is right for you and will not be too active. Hiking in Nyungwe Forest is the time of discovering in a primal rain forest that will simply amazing may visitors with its fairy tale like appearance, its wildlife, birds, primates, plants, flowers, butterflies and the trees.

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