Nyungwe  national park

Located in the south eastern corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe national park has  the largest afro-montane forest in east and central Africa, making it a Rwanda safari bucket list worthy.  Commonly known for chimpanzee tracking, Nyungwe national park in Rwanda is the best park for primate walks, canopy walks, bird watching, walks to water falls and so much more.  The park covers about 1019 sqkms across some series of mountain ranges which  begin from Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda and Congo which extend southwards into the Lendu Plateau in eastern part of Congo and it is one of the most ancient.

Nyungwe Forest is a high-altitude, mountainous rain-forest in southern Rwanda established as a forest reserve in 1933 and although it was officially gazetted into a national park in 2004. This park is an extreme centre of floral diversity with more than 200 different types of trees and a myriad of flowering plants like the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colourful orchids. 980 km2 of Nyungwe is typically tropical montane forest, combined with the Kibira National Park in Burundi to form the largest block of forest in east Africa. Important for its population of endemic species.

Flora and the fauna.

Nyungwe National Park’s biodiversity is so much astonishing according to the African standards and is one of the most endemic species-rich areas in all of Africa. It is therefore an important water catchment for Rwanda containing so many natural resources integral to Rwanda’s human populations. Since it is in one of the most highly populated places in Africa with over 8 million people in a country the size of the state of Vermont in the United States. Nyungwe is under constant threat from anthropogenic and environmental stresses.

Nyungwe National park This forest supports over 250 different species of trees, shrubs and a large number of flowering plants which include over 100 species of orchid and other huge Lobelia standing out on their own. Nyungwe forest  has got those different shades of green making it a very safe home to so many wild life species, there are about 13 species of primates that it harbors like the chimpanzees, the L’Hoest’s monkey, there is also the strong Angola colobus, mangabey and the blue monkey.

This is the only place where we have seen troops of more than 300 colobus monkeys traveling in the trees. The park has 25 % of the primates of Africa with its 13 recorded primate species thus making it a primate paradise!

There are about 75 different species of mammals that live in this forest like the leopard, golden cats, bush pigs and also the black fronted duiker thus making this park the most important ornithological site in Rwanda keeping 300 species of birds and half a dozen are in the Albertine rift valley. This park also has got numerous streams and waterfalls.

To get to and into the forest, there are well maintained walking trails through the forest leading to various points within the forest and a good winding roads passing through the forest following the mountain summits. This forest is one of the few forests in the world where one can see the Rainforest canopy.

How to get to Nyungwe National Park.

Located roughly 225 kilometers and a 4-to 5-hour trip by Road from Kigali, Nyungwe can be easily accessed by Road. The most vibrant town near Nyungwe considered to be the start point for chimpanzee trekking is called Cyangugu. Nyungwe can also be access by air, as there are scheduled flights to Kamembe airport on the daily basis and also charter flights and helicopters are available.

What to do in Nyungwe National Park.

There are a number of activities that you can participate in whilst visiting Nyungwe forest national park. Please find them below.

Canopy walk in Nyungwe Canopy Walk experience

The Canopy Walk is among the most thrilling activities offered in Nyungwe Forest National Park. This exceptional experiential walk, is a raised platform that suspends you far above the forest floor, enables you to stroll amid the treetops and take in the amazing biodiversity from an entirely new angle.

A walk along the 160 m long and 70 m high suspension bridge gives you an aerial perspective of the forest canopy. Walk along this bridge as  you enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest. Watch out for birds, monkeys as they swing from tree to tree in the forest canopy. The walk can take you about 30 mins to 1 hour depending on how patient you are.

Visit Tropical Water fall.

Nyungwe forest has a number of falls, however the most commonly visited and largest of them all is the Kamiranzovu water fall. Kamiranzovu in Rwandese means ( Swallowing an Elephant), which is derived from a large swamp ls also referred to as Kamiranzovu believe to be so big that it swallows elephants. The hike to the water falls, takes about 3 to 4hours , with an experienced guide, who will tell your more about the fauna and flora en-route to the falls.

Water falls in Nyungwe forest

Bird watching in Nyungwe

With over 300 different species of birds and 29 endemics of the Albertine rift, Nyungwe national perfect is perfect for a bird watching safari for at-least 2 days to enjoy and spot a number of beautiful birds. Some of the birds, that are usually looked for include the sunbirds, great blue turaco, bubblers, Rockefeller’s sunbirds, flycatchers, Rwenzori Apalis, Shelleys’ crimson wings and so much more.

Colobus Monkey Trekking/ Primate trekking.

Nyungwe forest is known to be home to a number of about 13 different primate species. The Forest has a number of trails that you can take to meet some of the monkeys and among them are the colobus monkey which live in a large group of about 200 individuals. Other primates that you might spot en-route include the, the cheeked monkeys, blue monkeys, l’hoest monkeys and grey cheeked Mangabeys.

Chimpanzee tracking

It is an activity that is popular in Nyungwe forest, that involves walking long different trails ins search for groups of Chimpanzees. The trek usually starts at early t 6am from through the forest in search for the chimps, once the tourists meet the chimps, they are allowed to spend 1 hour following them and taking pictures. Chimpanzee trekking take place on any day of the year and requires an average to 3 to 4 hours for a round trip, depending on the movement of these great apes.

Where to Stay while Visiting Nyungwe.

Unlike Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Nyungwe doesn’t have many hotels and lodges options. Listed below are some of the lodges you can stay t while visiting Nyungwe national park.

One and Only Nyungwe house.

A luxury lodge that sits, a in a tea plantation, overlooking Nyungwe forest national park. The lodge has a swimming pool and it is only about 10 mins drive from the park headquarters.  The lodge has treetop-skimming, luxurious treetops and villas, arranged in five eye-catching wooden villa clusters, are sequestered in gloriously wild surroundings, catering to all adventure seekers and honoring Rwanda’s natural beauty and legacy.

Nyungwe Top view hill Hotel.

The only 3 star hotel in Gisakura and the neighboring areas, Nyungwe top view hill hotel is located on a hill just 500m away from the main gate of Nyungwe park. With about 12 cabins ranging from single rooms to Family rooms, this is the perfect lodge for your stay while visiting Nyungwe park. The price at Nyungwe National Park averages at USD 250 Per night.

Gisakura Guest House

A 1 star hotel that provides clean rooms for you to stay in while visiting Nyungwe on a Rwanda safari. Gisakura guest house has a restaurant where meals are served. With only 12 rooms which can me adjusted into singles or doubles, Gisakura guest house was built using local materials to blend in with the surrounding environment and it is also worth mentioning that the showers and toilets are shred. Run by the national park, Gisakura guest house, is surrounds by a tea plantation offering an opportunity for tea plantation visits.

Best Time to Visit Nyungwe

The best time to visit Nyungwe national park is between June to September when the temperatures are higher, and there is limited rains. This is because most activities are easier during the dry season compared to a wet season. However, activities in Nyungwe are done all year round no matter the weather.

Samples Safaris and Tours to Nyungwe

2 Days Nyungwe Chimpanzee trek 

3 Days Nyungwe Safari

8 Days Primate trek Rwanda

10 Days best of Rwanda Safari