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Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park is located in southwestern Rwanda covering a land area of 970 square kilometers. Its mainly covered with grassland, rain-forests, bamboo, swamps and bogs with diverse wildlife species.

The rain-forests of Nyungwe Forest national park are among the oldest rain-forests in the Albertine and East African region. Nyungwe forest is the best preserved rain-forest in East Africa situated between the River Congo and the Nile River basins.

The park was established in 2004 and has over the years gained popularity and Rwanda’s primate safari destination. Lets explore more about this beautiful wildlife safari destination.

Nyungwe National park can be accessed by road transport through the Rwandan countryside taking 5 to 6 hours from Kigali. You can opt to fly to Kamembe airport near the park and then proceed by road in a few minutes.

Wildlife

Nyungwe forest National park has 13 primates species some of which include chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, L’hoest monkeys among others. The park is also habitat for 275 birds species some of which are endemic to the Albertine rift valley area.

Nyungwe national park has over 85 mammal species including the major primates. Other Mammals like forest hogs, Marsh Mangoose are rarely seen because of the forested nature of the park. There are also 1068 plant species making the park the best place for those interested in Botany.

Nyungwe forest has small wildlife species with 38 reptiles and 32 amphibians often seen while on guided nature walks. With all these wildlife species, Nyungwe is no doubt among Rwanda’s most visited wildlife destinations.

Black & White Colobus Monkey; Nyungwe Forest Rwanda
Black & White Colobus Monkey in Nyungwe Forest. Photo By Heath Francis

Tourist Activities

Chimpanzee Tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is the most common tourist activity in Nyungwe forest. There are various habituated Chimpanzee groups in Nyungwe with well developed trails that tourists follow.

Chimp tracking starts with a briefing at the park headquarters lasting for several hours depending on the movement of chimpanzees. You will be allowed to spend a maximum of an hour with the chimpanzees once you get to them.

Given that Nyungwe national park is covered by a rain-forest, the trails are usually wet and slippery. Its therefore better to have good hiking shoes with waterproof pants to avoid getting wet.

Chimpanzee in Nyungwe National Park. East African safaris
Chimpanzee in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Photo by Jonathan Gregson
Canopy walk

Nyungwe national parks’ 15 trails provide opportunity for guided nature walks bringing you closer to nature. While on nature walks, you get to closely see plant species in the park enjoying sights and sounds of nature.

You can also hike to Isumo waterfalls and get to enjoy nature at its best. The Isumo waterfalls hike also rewards with a number of birds and insects. While on the nature walks ensure not to stray away as you can easily get lost.

On the outskirts of Nyungwe national park, there are tea plantations where you can go for nature walks. Here you get to know the tea growing process.

Guided Nature walks

Nyungwe national parks’ 15 trails provide opportunity for guided nature walks bringing you closer to nature. While on nature walks, you get to closely see plant species in the park enjoying sights and sounds of nature.

You can also hike to Isumo waterfalls and get to enjoy nature at its best. The Isumo waterfalls hike also rewards with a number of birds and insects. While on the nature walks ensure not to stray away as you can easily get lost.

On the outskirts of Nyungwe national park, there are tea plantations where you can go for nature walks. Here you get to know the tea growing process.

Birding

With over 275 birds species, Nyungwe national park is Rwanda’s leading birding destination. Notable birds in Nyungwe forest include Regal sun-birds, Rwenzori Night-jars, Rwenzori Batis, Congo-bay owlet and many others.

Birds in Nyungwe forest can be seen on nature walks, while on primate treks and on a canopy walk. Birds here are endemic to the Albertine rift valley region and some restricted to the East & Central African region.

When to Visit

Nyungwe National Park can be visited anytime of the year. The best time for the national parks activities is the dry season from June to September and December to March.

During this time, rainfall is usually minimal which makes it easy to move through the major trails. In the wet season you can still visit the park though rainfall chances are high.

Accommodation

While in Nyungwe you can have accommodation at Gisakura guesthouse in-case you are on Budget. For deluxe or mid range accommodation, you can stay at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel or Emeraude Kivu Resort. For the high-end tourists seeking for luxury options, you can stay One&Only Nyungwe House.

These accommodation facilities are near the park except Emeraude Kivu resort that is a 1 hour from the park headquarters. They offer great hospitality services each with great views of the surrounding environments.

One&Only Nyungwe House. Nyungwe National Park
One&Only Nyungwe House Rwanda. Courtesy Photo