Explore Pristine Nyungwe Forest: Rich Eco-diversity

Nyungwe is a bio-diverse protected area, home to one of the Africa’s oldest tropical forests. The park is mountainous and its landscape teams with wildlife supporting over 13 species of primates and 310 bird species.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a primate destination located in the Southern Province of Rwanda. It is situated close to Lake Kivu and near the Burundi and Congo border. Established in 2004, Nyungwe is Rwanda’s 2nd largest park and it is largely dominated by montane forest. The park stretches covering 980sq.km and it is set within the Cyangugu town.

It was gazetted as Forest Reserve in 1903 before upgrading to a National Park in 2004. This splendid protected area is home to more than 1060 tree and plant species, and at the elevation of 1900m, there are prenaria exelsium, entandrophragma, cyathea manniana. At 2500m, mainly hagenia and other plant species dominate.

Nyungwe National Park’s vegetation is mainly comprised of unique trees and plants and lies within the Albertine rift region. Its faunal and floral species are defined by its location and the park contains over 85 species of mammals which include 13 species of primates.

Wildlife in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a rich primate destination, holding over 13 species of amazing primates. The park’s special primates include more than 500 chimpanzees, 400 colobus monkeys, olive baboons, owl-faced monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, vervet monkeys, Mona monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, Angola colobus monkeys, silver monkeys, and others.

Other faunal species that live within Nyungwe Forest include the giant forest hogs, impalas, western tree hyrax, blotched serval, elephants, duikers, Congo clawless, buffaloes, mongoose, carnival genet, golden cats, klipspringer, bush pigs, bushbucks, and more.

chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park supports over 13 primates and include more than 500 chimpanzees, with 2 chimpanzee trekking locations. Trekking with chimpanzees in Nyungwe is best done in Uwinka and Cyamudongo areas. All chimpanzee trekking tours in Nyungwe are conducted in already habituated communities and you can go for the morning or an afternoon trek, each taking you about 2 to 4 hours. Nyungwe Forest chimpanzee permits cost USD 100 per person and essentials to consider a must-have include rain jacket, bottled drinking water, long-sleeved shirts, safari hat, trousers, camera with no flashlight, energy giving snacks, daypack and others.

Birds and Birding in Nungwe Forest National Park

Bird species in Nyungwe Forest National Park

A check-list of more than 310 species of birds live in Nyungwe Forest making it a treasured bird-watching destination. This park holds a variety of Albertine rift species and other forest species. The park’s birds to identify include the mountain sooty boubou, Doherty bush shrike, red-throated alethe, yellow-eyed black flycatchers, Shelley’s crimson wings, Rwenzori double collared warblers, Red collared babblers, barred long-tailed cuckoos, rufous warblers, Rwenzori turacos, purple throated sunbird, grey-chested kakamega, blue-headed sunbird, Congo bay owlets, Kivu ground thrush, barred long-tailed cuckoos, Rockefeller’s sunbird, archer’s robin chat, Chapin’s flycatcher, and others. The birding trails to consider conquering include Gisakura, Kamiranzovu, Karambi and Bigugu trails.

Birding

Birding in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe offers special birding experiences and if you are interested in spotting the endemic species, it is the right place to be. The birds to expect to identify on a guided bird-watching tour include barred long-tailed cuckoos, dusky crimson wings, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, strange weaver bird, the great blue turacos, white-tailed flycatchers, archer’s robin-chat, red collared mountain warblers, Neumann’s warblers, grey-chested kakamega, mountain sooty boubou, Doherty’s bush shrike, archer’s robin chat, and many others.

Colobus Monkey Tracking

Nyungwe Forest NP supports not only chimpanzees but also a significant colobus monkey population. On a trek to explore the colobus monkeys in this park, expect to also enjoy the sight of other primates including vervet monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, etc.

The forest walks

Over 15 trails exist within Nyungwe Forest N/Park and each offer a remarkable opportunity for you to encounter a variety of primates like olive baboons, l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys; birds and floral species. These include Bigugu, Congo Nile divide trail, waterfall trail, Muhoro, Igishigishigi, Imbaraga, Ngabwe, Muzimu and Rukuzi trails.

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Biking via the Congo Nile trail

The Congo Nile trail leads you via Nyungwe Forest National Park offering tourists a chance to explore the beautiful countryside on a bike. It is a long trail taking you via the lush forest thus guaranteeing you incredible encounters of primates, birds, and other forest dwellers. There is also an option of camping and you will need a camping gear/equipment, comfortable clothes, energy giving snacks, bottled water and others.

Canopy Walking

The Nyungwe canopy walk began in 2010 and marks the first of its kind experience in East African region. The walkway is designed in that it is suspended 50 meters from the ground and as you walk, you are able to view the tree tops/canopy, primates and bird species.

Nyungwe forest national park

When to travel to tour Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park offers all-year-round safaris to guests on Rwanda tours. However, the most favorable time is the dry season and dry months run from June to September and December to February- the ideal months to enjoy a guided chimpanzee trekking adventure.

Nyungwe Forest National Park lodges & camps

All the 3 main categories of accommodation exist in Nyungwe and include budget, midrange and luxury. These include Uwinka Campsite, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Gisakura Guesthouse, One and Only Nyungwe House, and Nyungwe Top View Lodge.

Reaching Nyungwe Forest N/Park in Rwanda

Traveling by road is one available option to access Nyungwe Forest National Park and you set off from Kigali city. Driving from Kigali to Nyungwe takes 6 to 7 hours and includes a stopover at Butare/Huye for you to visit cultural and historical sites. The countryside beautiful landscape shouldn’t be missed and this is the amazing bit about road transportation to Nyungwe N/Park. By air transportation, use Akagera Aviation or helicopter tours to fly to Nyungwe Forest National Park for your primate tour.

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