The top 4 activities you must do on your Nyungwe forest national park safari
Located in the southwestern part of Rwanda, Nyungwe forest national park is one filled with stunning beauty as it offers memorable wildlife experiences.
Nyungwe Forest is a high-altitude, mountainous rain forest conserved in 2005, the Government of Rwanda declared Nyungwe a national park. This is the highest level of protection in Rwanda.
The forest hosts 13 species of primates including the Angola colobus found in groups of 300-400 animals, which is an attribute unique to Nyungwe.
Nyungwe’s forests extend to altitudes occupied by few other forests in Africa; 1600-2950 meters above sea level.
A visit to Nyungwe takes you through the great Nyungwe rainforest, comprised of ancient trees, swamps, and grasslands, which have all favored the inhabitation of various wild and bird species.
If you have never visited the Nyungwe rainforest, it is one of Rwanda’s natural wonders with which the country has progressed into one of the African tour destinations.
The rain forest covers 1000 square kilometers, making it one of the largest tropical rain forests in East-central Africa. Nyungwe national park is bordered d by Burundi in the south, Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west.
The forested national park is a water catchment area in Rwanda receiving over 2000mm of rainfall annually and is also an origin for river Congo.
Let’s count down some of the activities to do at Nyungwe National Park.
This park is a sanctuary for over 400 chimpanzee individuals, making it a home for the highest number of chimpanzees in Rwanda.
This park is majorly known for its chimpanzee trekking activities. Trekkers are required to transfer to any of the three starting points of Gisakura, Uwinka and katabi where are briefed about the dos and don’ts.
Trekking these chimps requires a trekking permit which is a must to each trekker. It is also recommended to keep a distance of seven meters from the chimpanzees, this helps avoid the spread of human/wildlife diseases.
Forest walks and hiking.
Hiking the Nyungwe forest is the best way to explore the beauty of the Nyungwe forest national park. With the wide number of hiking trails, you will have the chance to explore the interior forest.
These trails lead to different destinations such as waterfalls caves and swamps. 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 to mention but a few.
The park is also home to over 300 bird species; it is one of the best birding spots in East Africa.
Nyungwe is named as “the most important site for biodiversity conservation in Rwanda” by Birdlife International.
Among the bird species in this park include; Rockefellers 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 nigh jar, Rwenzori hill babler, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubu, the Neumann’s warbler and many more.
Nyungwe forest national park is home to over 300 monkey species, there are very few other places with such a wide number of monkeys. This will make your safari even more enjoyable.
Among the monkeys in this park are the L’ Hoests monkeys, black and white colubus, blue monkeys, and red-tailed monkeys.
Monkey trekking is a very joyful experience, monkeys are very playful animals and watching them play makes a safari very enjoyable.
How to reach Nyungwe National Park
The park is quite accessible as you can either drive from Kigali or fly there.
Traveling by road
The is 225km from Kigali, and your tour operator will provide you with the best vehicle to get there. In case you want to make the adventure on your own, you will need to either go by bus or hire a car.
Traveling by air
If you are looking for a much faster means of transport, then you can book a flight with RwandAir. The airline offers 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.
Kamembe airport happens to be a short 32km from Nyungwe forest lodge, which offers helicopter pickups. It is quite a convenient arrangement if you can afford it.