Nyungwe Forest National Park

Famous for the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in volcanoes national park, Rwanda has proved to be Africa’s top primate destination, topping up the chimpanzees in Nyungwe national park.

Located in the southwestern province of Rwanda in Rusizi district, Nyungwe national park is Rwanda’s renowned chimpanzee destination.

History of Nyungwe national park.

This national park was legally gazetted as a protected area by the Rwandan development board in early 2005. With the unstable security and fluctuation of the wildlife population. This brought the need to fully protect and conserve the national park area, as a tourism site.

Between the early years of 1858-1973, Nyungwe Park was reduced in size the destroying fire, small-scale agriculture, wildlife hunting, and woodcutting. These unfavorable practices led to the reduction in the area of the park to 150km.

The following years were of greater wildlife loss, as in 1974 the last buffalo was killed. However, large numbers of African elephants have recorded km in the park. Further loss of land due to timber harvesting and sustainable use was witnessed in 1984.

To boost the tourism activities at the park, a trail development system was introduced and began in 1978. Unfortunately, this wasn’t long-lasting, as it was disrupted by the 1994 genocide that led to the fleeing of the many senior workers and the distraction of wildlife.

In 1995, the rebuilding programs of Nyungwe national park began, and by 2005, the park was made an official national park of Rwanda.

ACTIVITIES IN NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK.

Chimpanzee tracking

This is a major high light activity carried out in Nyungwe national park. The park is home to about 13 primates, with chimpanzees tracked most. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Park is done at Uwinka and Cyamudongo where the habituated chimpanzee groups are located.

The smaller chimpanzee group is located at Uwinka, which is the headquarters of the park. And the large chimp group at Cyamudongo forest.  This activity takes about 2 -3 hours, witnessing these primates in the forest.  There are about 500 chimpanzees located in Nyungwe national park.

Besides chimpanzee tracking, the park is famous for its primates include: L’hoest monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Grey checked mangabey, Hamlyn’s monkey, vervet monkeys, Olive baboon, Angola colobus, Dent’s mona monkey, and the Rwenzori colobus monkey.

Canopy walk.

This is a one of its kind experience in the view of the wildlife and fauna of Nyungwe national park. A canopy walk above the treetops offers a unique view of the park’s flora.  This canopy is suspended 70 m above the ground of the park and the walk takes about 160m.  To use the canopy, visitors use the Igishigishi trail from Uwinka, the starting point of the walk.

A number of primates are encountered, though not as much as when involved in the primate tracking experiences. Beautiful scenery of treetops is sighted, with a cocktail of birds and butterflies.

Visitors of the park using the imbaraga and umuyove trail can as well access the canopy. The canopy walk in Nyungwe national park is scheduled from 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.

Birding in Nyungwe national park.

Nyungwe national park is a bird haven with over 300 bird species. The forest is located at high altitudes with 121 being forest birds, 16 endemics to the forest, and 27 Albertine rift endemics. Bird watching in the Nyungwe forest is a great chance to encounter beautiful and unique bird species. Bird species are easily located in the ground marshes of the park, trees and scrubs.

Birds that found a home in Nyungwe national park include handsome spurfowl, Ruwenzori nightjar, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, regal sunbird, stripe–breasted tit, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Albertine owlet. Dusky Crimsonwing, Shelley’s crimson wing, Rwenzori Apalis, purple breast, Rwenzori Batis, Red-throated Alethe poliophrys, Dusky crimson wing, and many others.

Hiking and nature walks in Nyungwe national park.

There are about 12 walking and hiking trails in Nyungwe national park leading to the different attractions that are located in the park. These trails lead to the experience of the birds, primates, mammals, birds, and fauna of Nyungwe national Park.

The 12 trails of Nyungwe national park include Irebero, uwinka, Umugote, karamba, igishigishigi trail, Congo –Nile divide trail, summon, kamiranzovu, muzimu, Ngabwe trail, and Rukuzi trail.  Hiking in Nyungwe national park is usually led by ranger guides in the park. These led to the various trails in view of the specified interest of the hikers. The trails are at different altitudes and spots in the park, and these require relatively less skill to hike.

The ranger guides provide interesting narratives and facts about the flora and fauna encountered in the park.

Cultural encounters.

The authentic cultural communities surrounding the park are worth exploring. Immerse in the unique culture of the surrounding communities of Nyungwe national park. Learning about the lifestyle, culture, behaviors, and history of the people.

How to get to Nyungwe national park.

The park is mostly accessed using road transfer from Kigali via Huye. Driving a distance of 218km takes approximately 5 hours to reach Rusizi. For luxury tourists, they can opt for the use of an air transfer that takes a short time to reach Nyungwe national park.

Accommodation in Nyungwe national park.

There are various accommodation facilities available for over-staying travelers. They are categorized under budget, midrange, and Luxury and they include One and only Nyungwe house, Nyungwe top view hill hotel, Nyungwe national park campsite, Nyungwe Eagles nest, kitabi Eco center, Nyungwe Eco villa, Gisakura guesthouse, to mention but a few.

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