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Things to do in Nyungwe National Park. The Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. It 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. Nyungwe is best known for its primates including the chimpanzees and large troops of white and black Colobus monkeys.
Top Things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest 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 Nyungwe forest National Park 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.
Chimpanzee trekking is a life time experience that you will enjoy in Africa’s oldest forest in Nyungwe National Park, the Park has the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda, it has about 400 individuals and other chimps are found in Gishwati Mukura National Park. Two chimpanzee communities have been habituated in Nyungwe National Park for chimpanzee trekking. Most of them live in Nyungwe forest which are about 60 individuals while the rest are found in Cyamudongo Forest which are about 30 individuals. Chimpanzee are known as the closet cousins to human beings are very interesting to look at. The Chimpanzee trekking permit cost $100 per person per trek. 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.
Birding in Nyungwe National Park
Bird watching in Nyungwe Forest National Park. 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 making it one of the best where to go for birding in Africa. The star attraction is undoubtedly the Red-collared Babbler and Rwanda is the only safe place to see this stunning bird. Other specialities 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.
Canopy walk is one of the ideal highlights to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park on your safari in Rwanda, Nyungwe forest is a hotbed of biodiversity. 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.
Colobus Monkey tracking
The forest has 13 species of primates with the monkeys the dominant specie. The Rwenzori Colubus monkey is endemic to this forest, the 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.
Hotels in Nyungwe forest National Park
The Nyungwe forest national park is surrounded by different types of accommodation facilities offering services at different costs which imply that there will certainly be a place to stay for every visitor to Nyungwe irrespective of one’s budget. Some of the recommended accommodations where to stay include the luxury One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel and the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Gisakura Guesthouse. You will stay in Luxury, romantically designed rooms for an exclusive adventure to Africa.
How to get to Nyungwe forest National Park?
By Air; You can fly into Kamembe international Airstrip from Kigali by RwandAir. The airline offer domestic flights and one of its domestic routes is Kigali-Kamembe. RwandAir offers a minimum of 9 flights a week from Kigali to Kamembe International airport. The Airport is close to Nyungwe forest and some of the Hotels/Camps.
By Road; You can as well access Nyungwe forest by road transport, we do offer road trips for chimpanzee safaris. It is approximately 5-6 hours’ drive to Nyungwe from Kigali city, our safaris start at 8:00am, you will have stops on the way for scenic views and photography as there is a lot to see on the way.
Why book Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park with Eco Adventure Safaris?
Eco Adventure Safaris offers Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park as well gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. We combine gorilla trekking safaris with eco-friendly and unforgettable high-end adventure and wildlife safaris that help preserve biodiversity, conserve wildlife and uplift local communities, these include chimpanzee trekking, Big 5 safaris and game viewing, Mountain Hiking, Boat cruises excursions and Cultural encounters to give you a memorable and best African Safari experience including popular and great African safari destinations Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia. Feel free to contact us.