Nyungwe rainforest is placed in the Southwestern part of Rwanda at the border with Burundi in the South, Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rainforest, grassland, and swamps. It’s about 225km from Kigali, which is around 4-5 hours drive.
Nyungwe forest National park is considered to be having a wide variety of animals species making it a main concern to wild conservation in Africa .The park is a home of over 13 different primate species (25% of Africa’s total) such as chimpanzee, Owl-faced Monkey, L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey, Angolan Colobus Monkeys, and many more. 278 bird species like the Ruwenzori Turaco, the Black and white casqued Hornbill, amazing and rare sunbirds, 1068 plant species such as, Lobelia, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are only found in the Albetine Rift Montane eco region in Africa.
Areas of interest at the Park:
The park is a home of thirteen species of primate which is recorded in the area and these include the closest relative of man chimpanzee, owl-faced quenons and Angolan black and white colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey, L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey, Mona Monkey and many more.
Nyungwe is home to at least 278 bird species, of which 26 of which are common to the Albertine Rift Valley. The park is looked at as one of the best bird watching destinations in Africa. To mention some of these birds which can be seen here include the Crowned Great BluTuraco, Hornbill and the Blue-Headed Sunbird to mention but a few.
Nyungwe forest has existed for hundreds of thousands of years, and is one of Africa’s oldest. It’s a home to very many rare and important species, most especially primates of different species such as chimpanzee and sometimes a combination of other primates such as Ruwenzori colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys. And it’s also known to be a home of over 280 species birds. Nyungwe is Africa’s largest and the most important protected mountain rainforest in Africa with over 1000km2.
Nyungwe National Park is the major block of montane forest in East or Central Africa and one of the most ancient forest. A fully rich centre of floral variety, the forest has more than 200 dissimilar types of trees, and flowering plants among which include the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colorful orchids. So visitors who are interested in watching colorful flowers are rewarded.
This is also another area of interest at the park, this activity was introduced in October 2010 by the Rwanda Development Board which launched the canopy walk tourism in Nyungwe National Park as a way of improving on tourism in Rwanda and also to attract tourists, it is the first of its kind in East Africa and the third in Africa. So it attracts and encourages tourists to spend a lot of days in Rwanda. Up close one can sport various species of primates, bird species.
Activities in Nyungwe National Park:
Nyungwe National Park is famously known to be a home of over 13 species of primates coupled with the closest relative of man the chimps, more than 500 apes live in this park. The park also is a home to the L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey it’s one of the few places in the world where this species is still common. You can often see them by the main road near Uwinka, Angolan black and white colobus monkey; Owl-faced Monkey, blue monkey among other primates can all be tracked while at the park.
Nyungwe National Park is regarded as a bird’s paradise with over 280 species of birds 26 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley. Some of these birds are rarely seen in other National parks, so bird lovers are given the chance to watch all these species of birds while at the park, to mention some include the Crowned Hornbill, the Great BluTuraco, and the Blue-Headed Sunbird, Ruwenzori Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Crowned Eagle to mention but a few.
Visitors who make it to Nyumgwe National Park are expected to do a canopy walk which is an interesting activity carried out at the park. The hanging platform allows visitors to view different animal species in Nyungwe forest. The amazing platform is above a steep and deep valley stretch across the massive forest. It’s about 50 meters above the ground level and 90 meters long. Here visitors have higher chances of viewing various species of butterflies, birds and different species of primates that reside in the upper levels of the forest. Arrangements to do the canopy walk can be done at the Uwinka Visitor Centre.
Various guided Walking trails. Can also be arranged at the park. Walks can be arranged in Nyungwe forest. During the trails different species of primates can be seen such as the chimps, birds and butterflies can all be seen walks can last from 1 hour to 7 hours.
Cultural areas walk. Cultural encounter with the local people can also be arranged to visitors, they can take a visit to local communities and display their cultural dance, explain how they have managed to leave in the area, and all these are displayed to visitors together with a guide.
Accommodation in and around Nyungwe National park:
There are a number of options for accommodation near the park, and the choice can be made your self these range from simple and basic, to more up market these include Loges, Hotels and guest houses
The Nyungwe forest Lodge .This is a luxury lodge which was established in 2010 as a first star established in the region and is situated in the Gisakura working tea plantation on the edge of the Nyungwe rain forest a home to over 13 species of primates. It provides the best accommodation facilities to visitors hence considered the best place to stay.
The lodge offers 20 luxury rooms (sleeping 2 persons each), 1 two bedroom suite (sleeping up to 4 persons) and 1 presidential (sleeping up to 4 persons).
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel (luxury).This Hotel was opened in early 2011 and presents one of the most interesting views of Nyungwe and Lake Kivu in the distance. The hotel has 12 self contained units with 4 twin and 8 queen size bed apartments,
The Gisakura Guest house also provides good accommodation facilities it is a simple budget, clean establishment with shared bathrooms.
Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Mid range).