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There are different activities to do in the Nyungwe National Park that attract many visitors from all over the world including and these include Bird watching, hiking and mainly chimpanzee trekking. The Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in southwestern Rwanda, on the border with Burundi, where it is contiguous with the Kibira National Park to the south, and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The Nyungwe rainforest is probably the best-preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa.
Nyungwe National Park has a biodiversity of more than 1050 plant species, 250 endemic Albertine rifts and 200 orchids, at least 120 butterfly species, 85 mammal species, 38 reptiles, and many more. Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km2 of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. In October 2020, the Rwanda Development Board signed an agreement with African Parks to assume management of Nyungwe National Park for an initial 20 years, all tourism activities are now under the management of the Rwanda development board.
What Activities to do in Nyungwe National Park?
Chimpanzee trekking refers to visiting the chimps in their natural environment in the forest, chimps that are already used to people or habituated. Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is done in Nyungwe forest National Park and starts in the morning and the activity is conducted in groups of a maximum of eight (8) people just as it is with gorilla trekking. The Nyungwe forest national park receives a very large number of tourists annually who come to meet face to face and spend time with the chimpanzees – man’s closest living relative observing them as they play, feed and move. The park is also a good destination where you can add a chimpanzee trekking expedition to your gorilla trek within volcanoes national park without driving long distances. Chimpanzee trekking is a life time experience that you will enjoy in Africa’s oldest forest in Nyungwe National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest starts off from three reception centers, that’s Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura where the tourists meet the park rangers and the tourists are also expected to be at the reception early morning, you drive to the starting point of the trek into the forest. Since the chimps nest each and every night, there are the trackers who go ahead of the trekking group of finding them and communicate with the ranger guides. The tourists are allowed to spend only 1 hour with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest National Park, and get to observe them so closely going about their own lives and see the human like features and behavior that makes them our closest relatives with 98.7 % DNA. The chimps also communicate by way of deafening screams, the loud hoots and booming hitting of the tree barks and the buttress. You will have a good time with the most amazing primates in Rwanda.
Chimpanzee permit price is also an associated cost while visiting Nyungwe, there are 64 trekking permits available per day in Nyungwe forest, the Chimpanzee trekking permit cost USD90 per person per trek which is way cheaper than gorilla permit that costs USD1500. The chimpanzee permit fee includes park entrance, ranger and guide assigned to move with you and your group. The permits are issued by Rwanda development board which is in charge of all tourism activities in Rwanda. You will be required to show your chimpanzee tracking permit at the park headquarters just before proceeding to the beginning point on the date of trekking. Bookings are made directly through the Rwanda Development Board and you can only book in advance, chimp permits get sold out so quickly and you can always contact us to check availability for your desired dates and book your permits for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest National Park in Rwanda.
Nyungwe National Park is a tropical montane rainforest that is home to 322 bird species, so far 29 are bird species have been found here. The star attraction is undoubtedly the Red-collared Babbler and Rwanda is the only safe place to see this stunning bird. Other specialties include Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal, Blue-headed and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler and Neumann’s Warbler. All of these and more can be seen easily from a well-maintained network of trails with the help of the park’s expert bird guides.
With more time and a bit of luck it is also possible to observe Kungwe Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush and Willard’s Sooty Boubou. Possibly the rarest of Nyungwe’s birds would be the Congo Bay Owl, Albertine Owlet and Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Rockefeller’s Sunbird which have been reported, but are seldom seen. Guided Birding walk costs USD 50 Per day and a discount for 50% for other additional days. Contact us for a birding trip to Nyungwe forest National Park
Canopy walk is one of the highlights to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Nyungwe forest is a hotbed of biodiversity. Canopy walk costs USD60 per person, you will do hour’s walk to the canopy walkway from the Uwinka Reception Centre, you will see countless butterflies, orchids and colorful birds, including many endemic to the region. Thirteen species of primate live in Nyungwe, so a chance encounter isn’t out of the question. The steep forested slopes have well-maintained footpaths, which can become muddy, especially after rain.
Nyungwe Forest sits on a 1015sq Km making it the largest remaining area of Tropical Afro Montane rainforest in East Africa. The Canopy walk in Nyungwe forest is a 3 hour thriller on a 200 meters long trail located 50 meters above the forest cover. The view at the top of the trees gives you the eagle’s eye experience and great experience of Nyungwe forest National Park
Hiking through the Forest
Nyungwe forest has different trails for hiking through the forest this will give you an opportunity to view various plants, birds, butterflies and meet primates if lucky. Some of the hiking trails gishigishigi Trail, Karamba Trail, Umugote Trail, Umoyove Trai, Uwinka Trail, Irebero Trail, Imbaraga Trail, Bigugu Trail, Isumo Trail (This trail takes hikers through verdant tea fields, a steep rainforest ravines and to top it off, the biggest waterfall in the Nyungwe National Park) Kamiranzovu Trail, Muzimu Trail, Ngabwe Trail, Rukuzi Trail. The hikes can last from one hour to full day hikes depending on the one you choose, these range from USD40-100 pending on the one you choose.
Colobus Monkey tracking
Nyungwe forest has 13 species of primates with the monkeys the dominant specie. The Rwenzori Colubus monkey is endemic to this forest, the colobus monkey trekking can be done any time in Nyungwe forest in southern Rwanda. The park has many individuals and often you can find a group of 400 individual while on this trek. Just like the other primates, it is best to track them in morning when they are active feeding and grooming before they rest. Other monkey species you will see include the Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys, Blue-Monkeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Owl Faced Monkeys and Mona Monkeys. Colubus monkey trekking is USD60 per person per trek per day.
Black and White Colobus Trekking
There are large troops of black and white colobus monkeys ( Colobus angolensis) residing in Nyungwe Forest. These primates often travel in groups of over 300 individuals. Angola Colobuses in this park are the biggest troops of this species recognized in the world! Walking through a montane rainforest and being surrounded on all levels by these active and cheeky monkeys is not to be missed.
Extensive networks if a well-maintained walking trail leads you through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. There are a variety of trails which is one of the Activities to do in Nyungwe National Park.
- Coloured Trails – these are left over from the late 1980’s when an early attempt to develop tourism in Nyungwe was made. There are seven trails through the forest each marked by a particular colour. The trails range in length from the 1km Grey trail to the 10km Red trail. All the trails are well-maintained and offer the chance to see a diversity of primate and bird species.
- Waterfall Trail – this trail takes between 3-6 hours depending on how often you stop enroute. It is a very pleasant walk through the tree-fern covered ravines, across several bubbling streams until you reach a pretty waterfall. Monkeys are often seen along the way and the steep slopes allow for good views into the canopy, making this trail a favourite among the birders as it is very rewarding for true forest interior birds, with a good chance of spotting Albertine rift endemics, such as the Rwenzori turaco.
- Kamiranzoru Trail – this trail is 4km and takes about 3 hours. This trail is different from the other forest walks because it takes you through the low laying marshy areas which are rich in orchids and localised swamp associated bird species.
- Bigugu Trail – this is the toughest trail and you need to be relatively fit as it leads you up the Bigugu peak. The Bigugu peak is 2,950m high and is the highest point in Nyungwe Forest, offering fantastic views of the landscape.
Where to stay in Nyungwe forest National Park?
Some of the recommended accommodations include the luxury One & Only Nyungwe House which is a luxury facility and ranges from USD750-2000 per person per night, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel which ranges from USD300 per person per night and the Nyungwe Forest Lodge and Gisakura guest house which ranges from USD200 per person per night. We do recommend at least 2 nights stay in Nyungwe or more for a great experience.
Why book a Trip To Nyungwe Forest National Park with Eco Adventure Safaris
Eco Adventure Safaris is a Local tour operator based in Uganda with its head offices in Entebbe. We specialize in life-changing experiences and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB. We have a good and long working relationship with Rwanda Development Board making it easy to book your chimpanzee permits and services, and our service fee is affordable and reasonable. Eco Adventure Safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor. Please contact Eco Adventure Safaris for more details about the Activities to do in Nyungwe National Park.