Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park is another of the top national parks in Rwanda that is frequented annually by travelers who would love to do chimpanzee trekking.
The biological diversity of Nyungwe National Park is possibly attributed to the fact that Nyungwe National Park is one of the oldest tropical rain forests on the African continent. Nyungwe forest is one of a kind with a wide range of wildlife and spectacularly breathtaking and beautiful scenery supported by the landscape and the vegetation in the area. The beauty of Nyungwe National park is seen at a glance when you join in for the canopy walk on a raised metallic bridge suspended about five hundred meters above the ground.
Nyungwe forest is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda, having a common boundary with Burundi. Nyungwe forest is a very spacious area containing a rain forest laid on the mountain slopes. Nyungwe occupies an area of about 1020sq.km wide and hosts a range of ecosystems that act as a home for the biological diversity that the national park holds.
Nyungwe national park is famously known for the chimpanzee trekking safaris in Rwanda because it harbors almost a ¼ of the primates community in Africa including, the rare owl-faced monkeys, red colobus monkeys, blue colobus monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and Olive baboons among others. In a synopsis, 310 bird species, hundreds of butterflies and orchids, 75 mammal species and over 13 species of primates.
Nyungwe was gazetted in 2004 as a result of increased tourism in Rwanda. This followed the presence of a reasonable population of chimpanzees that roam in the forest trees of Nyungwe forest together with other species in the biodiversity of the protected area. Nyungwe forest consists of tall and old mahogany tree species, black spleenwort ebony trees and giant flowerless and seedless vascular ferns, which stand out above the other vegetation cover of Nyungwe national park. However, orchids and other vegetation parasites like epiphytes adhere closely to every branch they can reach on every tree in Nyungwe forest, especially in the heart of Nyungwe forest.
Nyungwe National Park is home to a lot of bird species, but due to the thickness of the forest, birding sometime is a challenging activity in the Nyungwe forest. The activity is tiring since the trails go through the thick undergrowth vegetation, plus a lot of birds tend to stay up in the canopies making it hard for the birders interested in seeing them. Other animals in Nyungwe include 75 mammal species however, a number of them are very sensitive which makes them rare to find during nature walks.
To note, Nyungwe is the best chimpanzee trekking stop center in Rwanda. It is also the only left wrap of a tropical montane rainforest left in East Africa, and perhaps, the whole of the African continent.
Activities in Nyungwe National Park
The canopy walk is one of the most significant activities in the nyungwe forest. The canopy walk is part of the igishigishigi trail which runs to the kamiranzovu marsh which harbors a lot of birdlife and orchids, plus a waterfall. It is the highest canopy walk, done on a suspended bridge of over 500 meters above the ground which gives you an unforgettable view of the forest canopy, the valley in Nyungwe forest, and the surrounding landscape in the forest.
The primate safaris are the most booked for Nyungwe national park. Nyungwe is a home for almost a home for ¼ of the primate population of Africa. Nyungwe harbors habituated chimpanzees ready to be visited. The chimpanzee experience is amplified with the canopy walk experience. The suspended metallic bridge gives a clear view of the chimpanzees down in the forest and other primates up in the trees.
Other activities include bird watching and forest nature walks which give you an opportunity to see a big number of animal species, including chimpanzees, about 85 recorder mammal species, butterflies reptiles and other interesting features of the forest.
Accommodation in Nyungwe National Park
There is quite a number of accommodation facilities to help you enjoy your stay in the national park for a designated time for your Nyungwe National Park safari. The accommodation facilities in Nyungwe offer standard accommodation services in a tranquil environment. You can choose to stay in Nyungwe house which is a luxury or upmarket accommodation for a lavish stay for your delightful safari.
Alternatively, you can stay in the Nyungwe top view hill hotel which is a midrange accommodation facility. It provides standard accommodation services in spacious rooms, which are self-contained with daily room service. The hotel is located on a hill with a spectacular view of the valley and the forest. You can also book for camping in other camping sites in Nyungwe forest among others.
Accessing Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe can be reached in about 4-5 hours’ drive from Kigali international airport. The route is such an interesting one because it will take you in very nice and spectacular landscape views including the Nyanza king’s palace and the National Museum of Rwanda among others. The main entrance to Nyungwe National Park is located at Uwinka which is near Cyangugu – Butare road, about 55km from Cyangugu and about 90km from Butare road; it is a good and passable route to Nyungwe.
Uwinka visitors center in Nyungwe is also a good place to visit because it holds a lot of information about the park history. It is also the place to hire the guides to escort you to your park safaris in Nyungwe national park. Note that the guides in Nyungwe National Park are a must for all the hiking activities in the national park. Also, the buses to Nyungwe National Park come full, so if at all you are going to use public means, you will need to book your ticket in advance to avoid inconveniences.
Best time to visit Nyungwe National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe is good and favorably done in the wet season experienced in the month of October to May every year. During the wet season, the chimpanzees are easily located in the low lands of Nyungwe. But from March to May it is a very wet period of the year, therefore the ideal time is October to February. To note, Nyungwe forest receives over 2000mm of rainfall in the wet season.
The dry seasons the chimpanzees escape deep inside the forest looking for areas with ripen fruits. This makes chimpanzee trekking, the major activity, very challenging to the visitors. However, the dry season is the best time for hiking in the forest, from June to September. The dry season finds the trails dry and passable for hiking and nature walks within Nyungwe National Park.
Book for your Nyungwe National Park chimpanzee trekking safaris with us any time of the year and remember to book in advance to avoid inconveniences. Have a great travel time with us.