Nyungwe National Park lies in the southwestern part of Rwanda, partly bordering Burundi. Its huge area of Albertine Rift mountain rainforest which forms the epicenter of Africa’s montane rainforest circle. It is dominated by a series of mountain chains, originating on the Lendu Plateau in northern Uganda and Congo, running south through the Rwenzori mountains, western Rwanda and Burundi, to some isolated massifs on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The Albertine rift eco-region is one of Africa’s most endemic rich regions is home to many species of chimpanzees, plus owl-faced and colobus monkeys. The Canopy Walkway, part of the Igishigishigi Trail, is a high suspension bridge with views over the valley and surrounding forest.
MAJOR ACTIVITIES DONE IN NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe forest is a beautiful shelter for Ruwenzori colobus, grey-cheeked Mangabeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, Owl faced monkey, Mona monkeys, Dent’s monkey, silver monkey, and blue monkey. It is a mystical experience to come across a forest covered with colobus monkey with their black and white colors. It has the largest number of colobus monkeys in the Continent of Africa. For the Tourists who want to track these monkeys, it’s an unforgettable and amazing experience to see the black and white monkeys play their hide and seek game, do the chattering and playing with one another
Nyungwe Forest National Park has over 310 spectacular species of birds of which 27 are the Albertine rift endemic species that are established in the forests of the Albertine Rift Endemics, out of this three are (red-collared, Rockefeller’s sunbird and Albertine owlet) unregistered elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine Rift. Bird watching at Nyungwe is good since the vegetation is good for birds and many birds are usually seen at the canopy. Some of the different species found in Albertine Rift Endemics of Nyungwe Forest National Park are the Ruwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, red-faced woodland warbler, collared Apalis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked Apalis, Ruwenzori batis, and regal sunbird.
Nyungwe National park is the perfect park for hiking, with a variety of walking prospects. The forest features an extensive nature of trails that can be used for hiking. These include
Set on the slopes of Nyabwe near the park’s eastern boundary, this new circular trail is the only straightforward option open to people staying at the KCCEM Guesthouse without their own transport, since the trailhead lies about 200m down a side road on the left of the main road only 3km past Kitabi Entrance Gate. The trail is ideal for camping.
This super trail starts at the Gisakura Tea Plantations and to the largest waterfall in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
The trail leads from the forested main road downhill to the relatively low-lying Kamiranzovu, this trail is the parks’ largest swamp, set within a caldera like depression.
The awesome trail takes you through breath-taking views of Lake Kivu and the hills of DRC. Birders come here to see the localized red-collared mountain babbler, but the area also boosts some wonderful wildflowers, ranging from red-hot pokers and orchids to giant lobelias.
One of the easiest trails in Nyungwe, and the best for bird watching. The absence of big trees is large because of human disturbance, for gold mining and the market.
The chimpanzee population in Rwanda is around 500 and to be confined to Nyungwe national park including a small community in the Cyamudongo Forest. During the rainy season, a troop of chimpanzees often moves into Uwinka and the colored trail as well, and it is up to the tourist to decide whether to pay extra to track them. You may be able to hear chimpanzees before you see them; somewhere deep in the forest, an exciting hooting, just one voice at first, then several, rising in volume before stopping abruptly or fading away.
Unlike most other primates, chimpanzees don’t live in troops, but instead form extended communities of up to a hundred individuals, which move around the forest in small mobile subgroups that often revolve around a few close family members like brothers, mothers, and daughters. Male chimps normally spend their entire life within the community in which they were born, whereas females are likely to migrate into a neighboring community at some point after reaching adolescence
NYUNJGWE FOREST CANOPY WALK
Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the major reasons why Rwanda is becoming the top tourist destination in the continent. It is really an awesome place for adventure and also an insight into Rwanda ‘s beauty. This forest is the largest protected mountain forest in Africa that covers between 1600 and 2000 square meters and since it’s a five-hour drive into the middle of Rwanda, this will also give the guests an opportunity to enjoy the country’s diverse beautiful scenery and the imposing landscape as you move to the main tourist attraction point. Once you get to the park, you will then prepare to join on one of the most unbelievable adventures you will ever have, “the canopy walks.”
It was opened in 2010 and it’s the only one of its kind in East Africa and the third on the African continent
The bridge between the huge trees is 60m above the forest floor and 90m long. Apart from the freshness in the air and the wonderful aerial view of the trees, you will also enjoy the sights of the fantastic birds that fly across as you enjoy the walk. This canopy walk is the most preferred activity for the park visitors and it’s one of those you want to try before you die.
HOW TO GET TO NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in southwestern Rwanda, of about 225km and a 4-5-hour drive from Kigali. By air offer domestic flights and one of its domestic routes is Kigali-Kamembe.