How to get to Nyungwe forest National Park Rwanda -Chimpanzee tracking safaris in Rwanda
How to get to Nyungwe forest National Park Rwanda By Road – From Kigali via muhanga-Huye Nyungwe Forest national park is located south of the country about 200km/124mi from Rwandan capital Kigali via muhanga and kings palace in Nyanza then proceeding to Butare from butale then you connect through the hilly roads to the park before arriving at the park headquarters in Gisekura.From Huye Nyungwe forest national park is located 87km/54mi from Huye (Butare) as many tourists tent to make an overnight in Huye in order to do activities on the way to the forest this is advisable as the direct trip can be stressing, From Rusizi/Kamembe airport Nyungwe forest is 55km/34mi from Rusizi. The drive takes about an hour for clients flying in to the park Usually, Nyungwe Forest is visited as part of a 4×4 tour around the country with a driver-guide.
- By Air
How to get to Nyungwe forest National Park by air – Akagera Aviation offers charter helicopter transfers to Nyungwe forest national park and this can land directly at the one &only Nyungwe house however those who use Rwanda Air will land in Kamembe airport in Rusizi which is an hour drive to the park headquarters.
Nyungwe Forest Chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda
Nyungwe forest chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking the main tourist attraction, highlight and is the driving force of coming to Rwanda. However, there is a lot to do more than that and you can see a lot in this country of a thousand hills than just the famous Mountain Gorillas. The cost of the Gorilla permits is definitely discouraging many from visiting Rwanda, so come and enjoy an equal fantastic experience for a fraction of the cost and track the Chimpanzees instead, in nyungwe forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest starts off from three reception centers that are Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura where the tourists meet the Park rangers and are expected to be at the reception as early as 4: 30am and by 5am; you drive to the starting point of the trail head. There are the trackers who go ahead of the trekking group of finding them and communicate with the ranger guides. The tourists spend only 1 hour with the Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park, and get to observe them so closely going about their own lives and see the human like features and behavior that makes them our closest relatives with 98.7 % DNA. The Chimps also communicate by way of deafening screams, the loud hoots and booming hitting of the tree barks and the buttress.
These habituated Chimpanzee community in Nyungwe forest is also bigger with about 60 individuals and due to the greatness of the forest and terrain. It gives few chances of seeing the Chimps, while the group in Cyamudongo forest that has a smaller number of about 30 Chimps giving the most successful sightings that is given in the small size that is covered to find the Chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee trekking experience is so different from that of Mountain Gorilla trekking as the Chimps are running around in the tree canopies and there may be running after to catch up and the sightings are more rushed and sporadic.
The section of Nyungwe Forest National Park where the Chimpanzees are tracked also begins in Cyamudongo, a 4 and half hour drive from Kigali. This forest is also Africa’s oldest montane forest and its home to over 13 species of primates including over 500 Chimpanzees. Also as you pass through the forest, you will hear the whoops and the cackles of L’Hoest’s and the black faced vervet monkeys.
The main challenge with these Chimpanzees is with finding them, as they are not so habituated and are always shy, also their human instincts are so strong and they show a lot of curiosity and the eagerness when the tourists are around.
The humans and the Chimpanzees share 98% of their DNA, making them more exciting to be observed, most especially when they display what we call human behavior. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest is so fast paced and so exciting and in our opinion which makes it more of the adventure. There are also few well established paths in the denser forests to go through and discovering them on one’s own also makes it more exciting.Great Adventure Safaris operate chimpanzee tours to Nyungwe forest in Rwanda.
- Chimpanzee trekking
Sheltering the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda roughly 400 individuals, Chimpanzee trekking is a major activity done in Nyungwe forest national park. On the actual day of trekking, travelers transfer to any of the three starting points of Gisakura, Uwinka and katabi where they attend a simple bring about the trekking dos and don’ts before embarking into the forest to meet the chimpanzees. Unlike mountain gorillas, chimpanzees are trekked at a relatively low cost of 60usd which make it a not miss on your Rwanda safari. On meeting the chimpanzees, you will witness the human like characters of chimpanzees such as feeding habits and how adult females nurse the babies juts like human mothers, which make them the most interesting animals to spend time with.
All travelers must have valid trekking permit as a pass to see and interact with these gentle giants for an hour. Also, travelers are reminded to keep a distance of seven meters away from the chimpanzees to avoid the spread of human wildlife diseases such as cough ad flue since chimpanzees are closer relatives to human beings hence susceptible to human diseases.
- Tropical water falls
Originating from the kamiranzovu marshlands within Nyungwe forest national park southwestern Rwanda, kamiranzovu waterfall has presently become a must visit for every traveler to the national park. Though Nyungwe forest national park has been commonly known for the chimpanzees trekking in chamudongo, kamiranzovu waterfall has drawn much courtesy from the current travelers. The waterfall is divided into two parts, the lower part on huge rocks which is a beautiful spot for photography whereas the second side is in front of the falling water.
Getting to the kamiranzovu waterfall is not a walkway but takes courage, patience, obligation, willpower and bodily fitness. It entails trekking in the compressed tropical rainforest of Nyungwe national park with extreme undergrowth. It is located just 10 kilometers from the start but the hilly sceneries make the distance moderately difficult taking ample time
- Forest walks and hiking trails
A forest walk /hiking trail is the best way to explore in full the beauty of Nyungwe forest national park. The national park has over 13 hiking trails, which are approximately 130 kilometers, which lead travelers into the interior of the forest. Each trail lead to a different point such as waterfalls caves and swamps and each trail offer unique features. The hiking trails include Igishigishigi trail, Bigugu trail, Ngabwe trail, Isumo waterfall trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, Karamba birding trail, Source of the Nile trail, Irebero trail, Muzimu trail, Imbaraga trail, Congo Nile trail, Umoyove trail, and Rukuzi trail among others. Some trails are long while others short hence providing a chance to all kinds of travelers to enjoy any f the hikes depending on one’s physical fitness and the ability to hike. Depending on which trail a travel follows, a forest walk in Nyungwe forest national park can as short as three hours to as long as 3 days. Hiking through the forest help travelers to enjoy a peaceful calm environment, while listening to the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the trees which melodies keep running in the minds of travelers.
- Canopy walk
The canopy walk is a 200 meters walk above the forest and is only done in Nyungwe forest national park in the whole of east Africa. Travelers walk on the built trail, which hang 60 meters above the forest rewarding them with an aerial view of the national park, wildlife, adjacent communities, Virunga volcanoes and attractions in the neighboring countries. The two hours walk start and end at the national park headquarters at Uwinka information center the national park head quarters and it’s also the end point. All participants in the walk must be aged 6 years and above and each one must have a valid permit. Interestingly the canopy walk is done at 60usd, which is relatively cheap but rewarding you with a thrilling experience which last for a lifetime.
- Bird watching
Sheltering over 300 bird species, Nyugwe forest national park is a best birding spot in Rwanda. Out of the total bird population in Nyungwe forest, 121 are forest birds while 27 are endemic to the albertine rift valley. The most spotted birds in Nyungwe forest national park include Rockefellers sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Great blue Turaco, red collared mountain babbler, Rera grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, white tailed flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, barred long tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori nigh jar, Rwenzori hill babler, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubu, and the Neumann’s warbler among others. Experienced guides help in spotting these birds as well as explaining the unique characters of each spotted bird in the forest.
- Monkey trekking
Besides chimpanzees, Nyungwe forest national park is a home to over 300 monkey species hence a best spot for monkey trekking. While in Nyungwe forest national park, expect to meet different species of monkeys, which include L’ Hoests monkeys, black and white colubus, blue monkeys, and red tailed monkeys among others. These monkeys are similar in characters but are only differentiated by their colors. Monkey trekking is a very joyful experience given that monkeys are lively and playful creatures that keep you alert all the time by their continuous movements, shouts while jumping over you across tree branches.
Therefore, book you safari to Nyungwe forest national park, enjoy all activities, see all attractions all rewarding you an extra ordinary experience.