Things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park : Nyungwe Forest National park is a primate haven in Rwanda located in the South Western region of the country, the park covers an area of 970 square kilometers comprising on one of the Africa’s well preserved montane rainforests. The park was established in 2004 and lies between the basins of River Congo in the west and River Nile in the East region of the park.
Nyungwe forest national park is generally dominated by Nyungwe forest which is the major tourist attraction in the park, Nyungwe forest comprises of bamboo, swamps, rainforest, grassland and bogs. This is a must visit Rwanda safari destination for Rwanda primate safaris including chimpanzee tracking, the park is a home to second largest population of primates making 25% of Africa’s total of primates.
Nyungwe forest protected by Nyungwe Forest national park is a home to 13 species of primate species including chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Rwenzori colobus, l’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, golden monkey, owl-faced monkey, red-tailed monkey, Den’t mona monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey and three species of bushbaby. The park is also a habitat to 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian species, 275 bird species and 38 reptile species.
The park is a great Rwanda safari destination offering a variety of thrilling and memorable safari activities which you will enjoy doing during Rwanda safari in the park, these activities include
The park is a great Rwanda safari destination for Rwanda chimpanzee tracking safaris, chimpanzee tracking is the highlight activity offered in the park. Nyungwe Forest national park is the second habitat of a large chimpanzee population on the African continent with 25% of Africa’s total primate species coming second to Kibale national park found in Uganda.
Chimpanzee tracking in the park is a very rewarding experience starting as early as 5 am in the morning, the essence of starting this journey as early as possible is to find the chimpanzee in their nests before they wonder off into the forest . Chimpanzee tracking starts with briefing at the park’s headquarters where you get to be informed about the dos and don’ts on this experience, on each trekking a group of 8 member maximum are around to participate in this experience.
Chimpanzee tracking in the park takes about 2-3 hours including 1 hour in the presence of chimpanzees, while in the presence of the chimpanzee you get to enjoy sights of chimpanzees playing of tree branches, mother chimps cuddling and taking care of their young ones, seeing them pick fruits among others.
Nyungwe Forest National park and Nyungwe forests are a home to more 13 species of primates with some of the species endemic to this region such as the Rwenzori Colobus Monkey, because of the huge population of primates in the Nyungwe forest, primate walk in an amazing experience. Primate walk in the park is done along the 13 hiking trails running through the park such as Muzimu trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, Isumo waterfall trail among others.
Primate walks in Nyungwe Forest national park offer an opportunity to watch many primates such as grey-checked Mangabeys, L’Hoest monkeys, grey-checked mangabeys, Mona monkeys among others. The highlight of primate walks in Nyungwe Forest national park is meeting chimpanzees in large numbers and groups of Rwenzori colobus consisting of over 200 members.
The canopy walk is the most thrilling activity in Nyungwe Forest National park offering an opportunity to a stroll on a 200 meters long trail situated 50 meters above the forest, Nyungwe forest is one of the largest remaining areas of Tropical Afro Montane rainforest in East Africa covering an area of 1,015 square kilometers. Canopy is a very exciting Rwanda safari offering tourists an opportunity to get an eagle eye’s view from the top of the canopy, panoramic views of the surrounding and forest creatures such as chimpanzees, grey-checked mangabeys among others.
Note: During canopy walk, children below the age of 6 years are not allowed to participate in canopy walk for safety reasons.
The park is listed among the top birding destinations on Rwanda and an Important Birding Area hosting over 310 bird species including Albertine Rift endemics, forest endemics and resident species. Nyungwe Forest national park is a beautiful destination for Rwanda birding destination and while on birding experience in the get to watch many animals, birding in this park is done using several trails running through the forested and mountainous terrain of the park.
Birding in the park is a chance to watch many bird species such as Great Blue Turaco, the Re-Throated Alethe, the Paradise Flycatcher and the Gigantic Forest Hornbill. The bonus views include the purple breasted and the blue headed sunbird, the Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Green Pigeons, Ross’s Turaco, Red-Breasted Sparrow Hawk, White Headed Wood Hoopoe, Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-Faced Woodland Warbler, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-Breasted Tit and the Regal Sunbird among others.
The best time to visit Nyungwe Forest national park for Rwanda bird watching safari is during the period between July to late March.
Hiking in Nyungwe Forest National park is one of the most entertaining and physically challenging activities offered in the park, the park is a perfect destination for Rwanda hiking safari and this activity is done on numerous hiking trails running through the forest of Nyungwe. Trails in Nyungwe forest national park used during Rwanda hiking safari include Igishigishigi trail, Isumo waterfall trail, Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail, Uwinka trail, Umoyove trail, Congo –Nile divide among others.
Hiking through the park offers different aspects of the forest and the park depending on the trail you are using during this experience, generally hiking on the park offer views of numerous species of colorful birds such as Rockefeller’s Sunbird, Green Pigeons, Ross’s Turaco, Red-Breasted Sparrow Hawk, White Headed Wood Hoopoe, Francolin and primates in the forest such as colobus monkeys, Grey-Checked Managbeys, chimpanzees, Mona Monkeys among others.