Things to do in Nyungwe National Park : Nyungwe National Park sounds like the second visited national park after Volcanoes National Park on Rwanda Safari. The park is located in the Southwestern regions of Rwanda, on the border with Burundi, where it enlarges with the Kibira National Park to the south and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. However, the Nyungwe rainforest is one of the best oldest preserved montane rainforest in Africa that lies in the watershed between the Congo river basin to the east and its east and also cover the branches of the Nile Sources.
Despite this fact, Nyungwe National Park began in 2004 and covers an area of about 1,019 square kilometers comprised of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamp, and bogs which are inhabitants of the diversity of wildlife species, especially the primates. The park is under the control of the Rwanda Development Board. More to that, Nyungwe National Park is home to 13 primate species including; Grey-cheeked mangabey, Olive baboon, Vervet monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, Common chimpanzee, Ruwenzori colobus, Golden monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Silver monkey, L’hoest’s monkey many more, a haven for bird species with over 275 bird species,1068 plant species,85 mammal species,32 amphibian and 38 reptile species among others. It is reported that the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other tropical rainforest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed.
The fact is that the park is spectacularly beautiful and rich in biodiversity of wildlife species that come along the canopy walk as well as other various activities to do on a visit. Visitors here can decide to sample the magic of the forest for a week in one of Africa’s most beautiful forests. On your visit, you will be able to enjoy a nature walk across different stunning trails over 15 of them.
The major activity is primate tracking but it’s worth attracting those with time to relax and take in the primal atmosphere. You can decide to do a memorable canopy walk suspension bridge and combine it with a visit to the tea plantation border at the edge of the park with a great view of a habituated troop of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys at Gisakura and forest noble birds. Additionally, the park has plenty of rainfall, Nyungwe is also the main catchment area in Rwanda and supplies water to the country to its biggest percentage. A ridge runs through the forest to form a watershed between the drainage systems of the Nile and the Congo. A spring on the slopes of Mt Bigugu rewards as the most remote source of the Nile which ranks as the world’s longest river.
More then, Nyungwe offers some great activities like canopy walking which cannot be found elsewhere in East Africa. The suspended bridge offers a gainful aerial view of the forest’s canopy. The park has three reception centers; one lies in Kitabi near the entrance, the second is the Uwinka reception center in the middle of the park and the third one is the Gisakura reception center. More so, Nyungwe Forest National Park offers cheap camping services and also a tented camping ground at Uwinka which are favorable to budget accommodation.
Travelers planning to visit Nyungwe forest will have to buy a permit for activity since the park is home rich in primates and primates safaris. Payments for any permits can be made through the online platform and then carry it as proof of payment at the park’s reception Centre. The park is open year to year and opens up for tourists from 7 am to 5 pm.
Activities in Nyungwe National Park
Here are spacious amazing activities one can engage in on a visit to the park which include; Bird watching, guided nature trail hiking, tropical waterfall, primates trekking, and camping.
This is the main selling activity and the most done by the tourists on a visit to the park. The canopy walk is a breathtaking view of the Nyungwe Forest from the top which starts at 9 am and the last trip canopy walkway is 3 pm. However, it’s quite incredible activity, and the items required to engage in this activity include; Hiking boots, raincoats, a Camera, drinking water, and a Hiking stick among others.
Bird watching in Nyungwe National Park is quite a stopping destination for birding since it’s a tropical rainforest that inhabits around 300 bird species and 29 of them are endemics in Albertine rift includes; Handsome spurfowl, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Mountain masked Apalis, Albertine owlet, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rockefeller’s sunbirds among others.
There are two groups of habituated chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park, one is found at Uwinka, and the other group is found at Cyamudongo a fragmented forest. Chimpanzee trekking in Cyamudongo forest distance, altitude gain, and time taken depending on the location of chimpanzees and the hiking terrain of the forest area being trekked. The round-trip walk for the chimpanzee trekking hikes can take about 4.2 kilometers with a total altitude gain of about 240 meters. This takes roughly an hour of walking and three hours of looking through treetops mainly to search for primate species –chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and bird species.
The journey starts from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National Park is about 230 kilometers which are 5-hour drive to access the park. Along the way, as you travel to the park, you will have a stunning stopover at the King’s palace where you will be able to learn about the Kingdom of Rwanda, visit the craft shops, National museum, Gikongoro genocides memorial Centre among others. Another option to access the park, you can use aircraft like Rwanda Air which organizes charter flights.
Best time to visit Nyungwe National Park for activities;
One shouldn’t worry about the best time to visit the park, Nyungwe National Park can be visited throughout the year but the best season of the year to participate in Nyungwe activity when there’s less rain starts around June to August and December to February and visiting one of these two seasons of the year you will never regret in the life of an adventure.
Where to Stay on a visit to Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park has got all kinds of accommodations that match your budget structure, ranging from Luxury, Mid-range, and Budget facilities such as One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Nziza Eco lodge, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Chimpanzee lodge, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel among others.