Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe National Park is located in southwestern part of Rwanda bordering Burundi and Lake Kivu to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.

It is a natural rain forest that is filled with exciting biodiversity accruing from diverse habitats that characterize the park.

The forest covers an area of 970 square kilometers of rain forest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. It’s a home to cover 1000 species of creatures; the national park is blessed with the largest tropical afro montane rainforest in the east and central Africa with 2000mm of rain each year

Nyungwe National Park has the largest water catchment area for Rwanda and contains many natural resources that are quite useful to the primates in the park and the local people which make the park a tourist destination for Rwanda safaris and wildlife safari.

The beautiful green forest is also quite important to two of Africa’s great rivers. It is lush and beautifully green, often seen with cooling mists in the early mornings and late evening which gives magnificent and legendary memories for Rwanda safari travelers.

The Nyungwe Forest National Park was gazetted in the year 2004 covering 970sqaure kilometers in size with a composition of the montane rain forest, bamboo, bogs, swamps, and grassland.

The park is on the close range with Cyangugu town which is 54kilometers from the park and a resort town on the Rwanda’s largest Lake Kivu.

Nyungwe Forest National Park features over 13 species of primates, over 1068 plant species, over 310 bird species, over 85 mammal species, over 38 reptile species, along with 32 amphibian species the park features a prominent canopy which has inspired the Rwanda Development Board to build the walk way for tourists on their Rwanda safaris, that is the first of its stature in east Africa, the park features few Rwanda safaris tours since the forest trails require a lot of stamina than Volcanoes National Park.

In this park chimpanzee habituation is on a daily basis which means the chimps are used to human beings, however, chimpanzee tracking and trekking is more hit than a miss for gorilla tracking in Virunga, mainly because apes are small and less sedentary usually found either feeding high in the trees or moving swiftly along the ground.

Chimpanzee tracking

Nyungwe is a home to over 13 species of primates in Rwanda that offers chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee tracking starts in the morning and its best to carry a pack where you have a couple of liters of water, have long trousers, the long-sleeved shirt, rain jacket, the hiking boots, and a hat.

Chimpanzees’ habituation is only down in Nyungwe where you trek habituated chimpanzees in your Rwanda safari tours, 0ver 500 chimpanzees live in the park which is extremely rich, unique and remarkable, Nyungwe National Park stretches at an altitude ranging between 1600 and 2900 meters and shelters complex mosaic types of vegetation.

Chimpanzee tracking permits in Nyungwe National park cost USD 90 foreign non-residents per person while permits for foreign residents cost USD 60, with a trek in your Rwanda safari usually takes an hour once trekked

Nyungwe National Park is located south west of remarkable Rwanda, at an elevation of over 1600m above sea level. The park is a home 12 primate species namely Chimpanzee, LHoest’s monkey, Ruwenzori black and white colobus, vervet monkey, acrobatic Angola colobus, red-tailed monkey among others.

At least 300 bird species, more than 16 bird species are endemic to Albertine Rift namely red-faced woodland warbler, Ruwenzori Apalis, purple breasted sunbird, yellow-eyed black fly flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, and Grauer’s warbler among others.

Nyungwe forest canopy walk

canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park rwanda

This canopy walk is between higher slopes and giant trees with 1 km from Uwinka, the metallic walkway is almost 200m long, with a maximum height of around 40 meters, and it offers a superb for birders and over a steep stream bed lined with tall trees and fern.

It can feel quite unstable to those with a poor head for heights. This walk is also an activity not to be missed on your Africa safari tour in Rwanda

Birding – Bird Watching in Nyungwe

Nyungwe forest national park has over 310 bird species and over 27 Albertine rift endemics part of the species that are established in the forests of the Albertine Rift valley endemics.

Bird watching at the park must not be missed out on your Rwanda safari tour since the vegetation is good for the birds and many birds are usually seen in the canopy.

Over 27 Albertine rift endemics found in Nyungwe forest national park are Turaco, handsome francolin, red-faced woodland warbler, collared apalis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked Apalis, Ruwenzori batis, and regal sunbird.

Monkey Tracking

Nyungwe national park is a home to Ruwenzori colobus, grey-cheeked mangabeys, LHoest’s monkey; Owl faced monkey, Mona monkeys, Dent’s monkeys, silver monkey, and blue monkey. It’s a mystical experience to come across a forest covered with colobus monkeys with black and white colors

Hiking

Nyungwe Forest National Park is the perfect park for hiking, with a varied selection of walking prospects and other expeditions.

Bigugu Trail 

The trail takes you to through astonishing views of Lake Kivu and the hills of DRC. Birders come here to see the localized red-collared mountain babbler, but the area also boosts some wonderful wildflowers, ranging from red-hot pokers and orchids to giant lobelias.

Ngabwe Trail

Set on the slopes of Nyabwe near the park’s eastern boundary, this new circular trail is the only straightforward option open to people staying at the KCCEM Guesthouse without their own transport, since the trailhead lies about 200m down a side road on the left of the main road only 3km past Kitabi Entrance Gate. The trail is ideal for camping.

Kamiranzovu Trail

This trail leads from the forested main road downhill to the relatively low-lying Kamiranzovu; this trail is the parks’ largest swamp, set within a caldera like depression.

Karamba Trail 

This is one of the easiest trail in Nyungwe, and the best for bird watching. The absence of big trees is largely because human disturbance, first as gold mine and market.

Isumo Trail

This superb trail starts at the Gisakura Tea Plantations and to the largest waterfall in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Wildlife

Nyungwe forest national park is the largest remaining tract of the montane rainforest in east Africa. The park contains over 13 primates species including the preset day chimpanzee with a population estimated at over 1000 which is usually tracked in the jungle on all Rwanda safaris and wildlife safaris with several other monkeys including the LHoest monkey, acrobatic Ruwenzori colobus, Dent’s Mona monkey, Olive Baboon, Vervet monkey, silver monkey, Angola colobus, and red-tailed monkey are all seen on your wildlife safari tour in Rwanda

Birds

Nyungwe forest national park is an important site for all birders on their Rwanda safari, over 284 bird species and over 26 species of the Albertine rift endemic bird which occur in Rwanda. These include Rockefeller’s sun bird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Ruwenzori Turaco, Batis diops, Ruwenzori Batis, Handsome Francolin, Regel sunbird, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Francolins, Nobilis, black and white Hornbill, Regal sunbird and Yellow-eyed black fly catcher

Flora

Nyungwe is a remarkable rich in biodiversity in the region, with over 200 tree species including orchids, flowering plants, and giant lobelia. The park has a span of vegetation zones that are dispensed according to their different altitudes.

At 2500m above sea level, on your Rwanda safari, you will explore the alpine vegetation which is characterized by bamboo and scrubs.

There are a range of tall trees and fern species such as Polycscias, Newtonia and Symphonia at 2250m, there also taller tree species like Carapa, Cyathea Manniana and Newtonia

Places to stay on your Rwanda safaris tour in Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Nyungwe forest lodge was set up in 2010 and has fast become a favorite with tourists in the area.

  • It is situated in a tea plantation close to the Nyungwe forest. This lodge was the first ever 5-star accommodation establishments in the region. It has some of the best facilities in Rwanda and very good service.
  • Nyungwe forest lodge has luxury facilities such as a gym and a swimming pool, and overlooks the forest canopy so you are guaranteed some good views of the scenery in the area.
  • It has comfortable luxury rooms; one of them even has a Jacuzzi.
  • Board basis is full board and it includes meals. You can either dine outdoors, or in the restaurant, or in your room.
  • There is access to WIFI, and telephone services, so you can communicate with people back home. There are also sate-lite TVs in the rooms to keep you in touch with the rest of the world.
  • Security at the Lodge is quite good, with very minimal threat of wild animals, and there are security guards day and night.
  • Guests at the lodge have the opportunity to go chimpanzee tracking, go on guided walking through Nyungwe forest, enjoy the canopy walk and bird watching in Nyungwe forest National Park.
  • Transport to the park is provided and there is even a provision for helicopter rides to the airport.
  • Payment for hotel facilities can be made in US dollars, Pounds or Rwandese Francs.

 

Gisakura Guest House

  • Gisakura is comfortable accommodation for people working within smaller budgets.
  • This guest house is found about 2 km from the park. It is located close to the Gisakura tea estate along the road to Rusizi.
  • Gisakura offers opportunities to visit chimpanzees, the canopy walkway, bird watching, and hikes along different trails.
  • For meals the guest house offers breakfast, lunch dinner, and carry away snacks that can be arranged if you are planning to spend the day out in the national park. Food and drinks are included in the Full board.
  • The guest house is secure and there is very minimal risk of encounters with wild animals.
  • Gisakura guest house: Comfortable and affordable

 

Nyungwe Top View Hotel

  • Nyungwe Top view hotel might not be a five-star hotel but it offers pretty good accommodation close to the park.
  • This hotel which opened in 2011
  • It has some very amazing views of Nyungwe forest.
  • Accommodation here is in red brick cottages furnished with only necessary furniture.
  • There is a dining area and a lounge.
  • Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner) are covered in full board costs. You can either dine inside or outside.
  • The hotel is connected to electric power grid. The power is always, on so you do not have to worry about spending nights in the dark
  • Health and security: there is a medical care center about 10km from the hotel. However, it is best that you get your malaria shots before traveling.
  • Security is good. There is no danger of wild animals, and there are security guards around the hotel every time of the day.
  • Currency and foreign exchanges: Nyungwe top view hotel accepts and can exchange US dollars, British pounds, and Euros.
  • Nyungwe top view hotel offers activities mainly centered on the park. So look forward to tracking chimpanzees, seeing he Ruwenzori Colobus monkey, bird watching, forest walk, and going on the Nyungwe canopy walk.
  • The hotel provides a driver to take you around the park and the various places you might want to visit.
  • All in the entire hotel is a comfortable, convenient and safe place to stay during your safari.

By Road

Nyungwe National Park is 217km from Kigali; you will need a good 4×4 vehicle to reach on time. A car is enjoyable and suitable for safari tours.

There several scenic observations along the way. When time allows you can make a few stops, you could stop at the National Museum to see locally made arts and craft, and cultural entertainment.

There is also the Nyamagabe (formerly called Gikongoro) the satellite town of Murambi was the site of one of the memorable fear of the 1994 genocide.

By Air

You can book a flight with Rwanda Air, the airline offers a private flight, and one of its favorite routes is Kigali-Kamembe. The airline is active the whole week from Kigali to Kamembe International airport. Kamembe is 49km