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Nyungwe Forest National Park Safaris, Nyungwe National Park Safari

Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda safaris & tours take you to one of the largest and best Rwanda national parks, with exceptional tourism experiences in Rwanda that contribute to a large amount of income generated from the tourism company.

The Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and it is managed by the Rwanda Development Board. It protects more than 1000 animal, bird species, and plant species, thus making it one of the most important Conservation areas in the African continent.

Found in the middle of tea plantations, it is the largest Afro-Montane rainforest in Africa offering various unique activities like Chimp trekking and the exquisite canopy walk. Nyungwe Forest National Park is considered the most biodiverse montane forest in the country with two major vegetation zones. These vegetation zones include the lower forest zone and the upper canopy zone.

Nyungwe is famous for Chimpanzee trekking as this is the major safari activity attracting various tourists for this particular interest. There are two habituated Chimpanzee groups in the park. The larger group has about 60 members and the smaller group has about 30 members. Additionally, Nyungwe Forest Park has the largest group of Black and White Colobus Monkey species in Rwanda.

Due to its location at the Albertine Rift, this rain forest protects many unique species including 1,068 plant species counting about 200 tree species, 248 Orchid species, 75 mammal species, 13 primate species counting the famous Chimpanzees, and over 300 bird species including about 29 Albertine Rift endemic species, thus an incredible bird watching destination in the country.

Nyungwe also has a former gold mining site though it was turned into an army camp and it covers different landscapes for example the open woodlands, bamboo thickets, swamps, marshes, heath, and other microhabitats. The park is thus a great destination for captivating scenic views for nature lovers. The environmental services of the park also contribute to 75% of the water in the country.

Where is Nyungwe Found? | Location of the Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest is found in Southwestern Rwanda near the Rwanda Burundi border where it continues to Burundi’s Kibira National Park and is found on the South of Lake Kivu. It also sits on the Western Great Rift Valley and extends from Lake Albert to Lake Tanganyika with various mountains and lakes running westwards into the Congo River system.

Nyungwe NP also extends into the Rusizi District in South Western Uganda where Africa’s Great River is on the East of the Nile and the West of Congo.

To get to this montane forest, it is about 219 km from the Kigali International Airport taking about a 4-hour drive to one of the three reception centers with the Uwinka Reception Center most accessed.

Things to See in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Attractions

Nyungwe Forest National Park

  1. Primates in Nyungwe Forest National Park: there are 13 primate species in the park with the common ones being the
  2. Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Chimps in Nyungwe Forest National Park, with about 400 Chimps.
  3. Colobus Monkeys in Gisakura Forest near the Gisakura tea estate is an isolated patch with about 300 members in a troop.
  4. Wildlife in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Animals in Nyungwe Forest National Park: Nyungwe protects about 85 mammal species counting primates, carnivores, and herbivores
  5. Bird species in Nyungwe Forest National Park: These include over 300 species including 120 forest species and 29 Albertine Rift Endemics
  6. Plants in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Flora in Nyungwe Forest National Park: The park has more than 1068 plant species with about 68 that are endemic to the park, and about 200 tree species including fern trees.
  7. The Canopy walk suspension bridge and nature walk trails: The canopy walk is on a high suspended canopy walkway, but you can also have a nature walk on the park’s major trails listed below
  8. Congo Nile trail
  9. Karamba trail
  10. Igishigishigi trail
  11. Umuyove trail
  12. Umugote trail
  13. Irebero trail
  14. Uwinka trail
  15. Imbaraga trail
  16. Isumo trail
  17. Bigugu trail
  18. Muzmu trail
  19. Kamiranzovu trail
  20. Rukuzi trail
  21. Ngabwe trail

Things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park | Activities in Nyungwe Forest | What are Activities that are Done in Nyungwe National Park?

Nyungwe Forest National Park

To do any activity in Nyungwe Forest, you will need to buy a permit and then carry it along with you when going to the park as proof of payment. You can go into the park for your activities from around 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee tracking occurs on two habituated Chimpanzee groups with the larger group living in the Cyamudongo Forest and the other group in the Uwinka Reception Center. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to do Chimpanzee tracking and it takes about 3 hours to find a Chimpanzee family.

The time taken and ease for Chimpanzee tracking, especially in the Cyamudongo Forest will depend on the location of the Chimpanzees and the state of the terrain to be trekked.

Trekking Chimpanzees is along a trail of about 4.2km at an altitude of about 240m above sea level. You will also be able to view various other primates during your Chimpanzee tracking adventures.

You can combine this tour with trekking Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.

How to Get to the Cyamudongo Forest for Chimp Trekking

From the Gisakura reception center, it is an hour’s drive to Cyamudongo. The main road is dusty and will require you to use a 4×4 vehicle through the Shagasha tea plantation estate and a village.

Upon arriving, you will meet a group of rangers who will guide you through the rules and the regulations of Chimpanzee tracking, and radio communication, you will be led to the Chimps.

What to Carry for Chimpanzee Trekking

  1. Travel documents
  2. Camera
  3. Binoculars
  4. Rain Jacket/Poncho
  5. Strong Sturdy Shoes/hiking boots
  6. Snacks
  7. Walking sticks
  8. Long trousers or long sleeves
  9. Bottled Water
  10. Sunglasses
  11. Sunscreen
  12. Hat or Cape
  13. Insect Repellent

Best Time for Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park

The early morning hours are the best for Chimpanzee tracking and on the day of your adventure, you will wake up as early as 4:30 am to prepare for your trekking expeditions so you meet the Chimps in their active hours.

The best season to go for Chimpanzee tracking is in the dry season from around June to August and from December to February. However, the rainy season is also great as there is availability of food for the Chimps, thus making them stay closer.

Colobus Monkey Tracking in Gisakura Forest in Nyungwe Forest National Park

The Black and White Colobus Monkey hiking occurs in about one to three hours, and it will allow you to also view other primates like Golden Monkeys, Ruwenzori Colobus Monkeys, and the Grey Cheeked Mangabeys L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Owl Faced Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkeys, Vervet Monkey, and the Mona Monkey species, among others. This hike is much easier compared to Chimp trekking and it begins from the Gisakura Guest House and the Nyungwe Forest Lodge (now called One & Only Nyungwe House).

A professional guide will lead you through the rain forest to the middle of tea plantations outside the park’s boundary to watch the Colobus Monkeys.

Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk | Nature Walks in the Nyungwe Forest National Park | Hiking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe is the only tourist destination in East Africa where you can have a canopy walk and it is also not a common activity in the African continent. It allows nature lovers who look forward to this particular interest to view the breathtaking sights of the rain forest and the various primates below along a 90 m-long hanging trail.

Major trails to walk through in the ancient rain forest include the Congo Nile Trail, Umuyove Trail, Imbaraga Trail, Karamba Trail, Bigugu Trail, Igishigishigi Trail, Umugote Trail, Ngabwe Trail, Isumo Trail, Irebero Trail, among others.

Discover the beautiful breathtaking nature of the trails for example the bird species, wildlife, primate species, plants, butterflies, and different tree species like Fern trees.

Other activities to do at Nyungwe include the Gisakura tea plantations tour and cultural tours.

Birdwatching/Birding in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe NP protects about 300 bird species with 29 Albertine Rift endemics, thus making it one of the best places for bird watching.

Some of the bird species to watch include the Grauer’s Warbler, Great Blue Turaco, Rwenzori Turaco, Purple Breasted Sunbird, Blue Headed Sunbird, and White-Tailed Crested Flycatcher, among others.

Best Time to Visit Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe can be visited all year round (both dry and rainy seasons), although the dry season is the best time to visit. This is from July to September and December to February when the trekking trails are dry and thus easy to walk through.

Safari Lodges and Camps near Nyungwe National Park

There are many cheap tented camping equipment and grounds for your overnight stay at Nyungwe. Apart from the camping equipment and grounds, there are also great hotels to stay in.

It is thus best to choose a safari lodge that fits your budget, selecting from the luxury, midrange, and budget expeditions. Some of the accommodations with great tourist facilities in and around the destination include

  1. Nyungwe Forest Lodge
  2. One & Only Nyungwe House
  3. Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
  4. Gisakura Family Hostel and Gisakura Guest Housenear the Gisakura tea estate
  5. EAR Guest House
  6. Emeraude Kivu Resort (located in Cyangugu) near Lake Kivu

Popular Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda Safari Tours

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Rwanda Good for Safari? | Can you Have a Safari in Rwanda?

Rwanda is an incredible place to experience your African safaris, more so primate tours. Get to adventure the Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, and the Chimps in Nyungwe Forest National Park, among other adventures.

  1. What is the Largest Forest in Rwanda?

Nyungwe Forest is the largest forest in Rwanda, located in the western part of the country.

  1. What does “Nyungwe” Mean?

It is believed that “Nyungwe” got its name from the Kinyarwanda word “Ingwe” to mean “Leopard”. Some surveys proved the presence of Leopards in this protected area.

  1. What is Unique about Nyungwe National Park?

Nyungwe Forest National Park is among the oldest forests of Africa with a beautiful mountainous region protecting some of the rarest primates of Africa.

  1. How long is Canopy Walk in Nyungwe National Park?

A canopy walk at Nyungwe takes a maximum of 2 hours to and from this suspended canopy walkway.

  1. What is the Main Attraction in Nyungwe National Park?

The main attraction at Nyungwe NP is the Chimpanzees, making Chimpanzee trekking the activity that attracts most visitors. However, visitors also visit the destination to explore other activities like bird watching, canopy walking, primate tracking, and nature walking.

  1. How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park? | How to Visit Nyungwe National Park?

From Kigali International Airport to Nyungwe Forest National Park, it is about 230 km, and it takes about a 4 hour’s drive. On the drive, you will pass through and may visit the Nyanza King’s Palace, the Gikongoro Genocide Memorial Center, the National Museum, and Craft Shops to discover the country’s heritage.

However, it is also possible to reach the destination using air transport from the Kigali International Airport which takes about 45 minutes.

  1. What Animals are found in Nyungwe Forest National Park?

Nyungwe protects many animals including Chimpanzees L’Hoest Monkeys, Buffaloes, Golden Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Owl Faced Monkeys, Red Tailed Monkey, Giant Forest Hogs, Vervet Monkey, Duikers, and Impalas, among others.

  1. What is the Importance of Nyungwe Forest?

Nyngwe NP is a conservation area for various animal and plant species, some of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift.

  1. Which is Better Nyungwe or Kibale?

Although both destinations provide amazing safari activities, especially renowned for Chimpanzee trekking and primate tours, Kibale National Park in Uganda having the highest number of primates is considered a better place for your primate adventures.

  1. How Much is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?

Trekking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda costs $ 1500 for foreign nonresidents in Volcanoes NP, Rwanda.

Nyungwe ranks as the best primate destination in Rwanda, protecting 13 primate species that you can view during your safaris in the country. The common ones are the Chimpanzees and the Black and White Colobus Monkeys. You can also participate in the canopy walk, birding, and the enlightening community tours around.

Are you planning a trip to Nyungwe Forest National Park? Then contact us today so we can help you plan your tour to this remarkable tourist destination in Rwanda, East Africa.