Things to do in Nyungwe forest National park – Activities and attractions
Things to do in Nyungwe forest National Park – With its stunning beauty, Nyungwe Forest National Park in south-western part of Rwanda is a not miss on your Rwanda safari offering memorable wildlife experiences. A visit to Nyungwe Forest takes you through the great natural forest, comprised of ancient trees, swamps and grasslands, which have all favoured the inhabitation of various wild and birdlife. For those who have ever visited Nyungwe, the forest is one of Rwanda’s natural wonders with which the country has progressed into a leading tourism destination.
Spreading over 1000 square kilometres squared, Nyungwe Forest National Park is largest tropical rainforest in the Eastern central Africa. Though most travellers to Rwanda opt for Volcanoes National Park for Gorilla tracking as a first priority, a tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park is undeniably a life changing experience. The national park is bordered by Burundi in the south while Lake kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the west of the national park. The forested national park is a water catchment area in Rwanda receiving over 2000mm of rainfall annually and is also an origin for River Congo. The popular things you must see and do in Nyungwe Forest National Park include:
Sheltering the highest population of Chimpanzees in Rwanda roughly 500 individuals, Chimpanzee tracking is a major activity done in Nyungwe Forest National Park. On the actual day of trekking, travellers transfer to any of the three starting points of Gisakura, Uwinka and Katabi where they attend a simple briefing 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 which make it a not miss on your Rwanda safari. On meeting the Chimpanzees in the forest, 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 travellers must have valid trekking permits as a pass to see and interact with these gentle giants for an hour. Also, travellers 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.
Forest walks and hiking trails
Forest walks/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 kilometres, which lead travellers 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 bird watching 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 are short hence providing a chance to all kinds of travellers to enjoy any of the hikes depending on one’s physical fitness and the ability to hike. Depending on which trail a traveller follows, a forest walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park can be as short as three hours to as long as 3 days. Hiking through the forest helps travellers to enjoy a peaceful calm environment, while listening to the sweet sounds of different bird species singing up in the trees which melodies keep running in your minds.
This canopy walk is a 200meters walk above the forest and is only done in Nyungwe Forest National Park in the whole of East Africa. Travellers walk on the built trail, which hang 60meters above the forest rewarding them with an aerial view of the national park, wildlife, adjacent communities, Virunga volcanoes and attractions in the neighbouring countries. The two hours walk start and end at the national park headquarters at Uwinka information centre the national park headquarters. 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 relatively cheap but rewarding you with a thrilling experience which last for a lifetime.
Sheltering over 300 different bird species, Nyugwe Forest National Park is a best bird watching 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 bird species 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 babbler, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubou, 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.
Besides Chimpanzees, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a home to over 300 monkey species hence a best spot for monkey tracking. While in Nyungwe Forest National Park, expect to meet different species of monkeys, which include L’ Host monkeys, black and white colobus, blue monkeys, and red tailed monkeys among others. These monkeys are similar in characters but are only differentiated by their colours. 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 with Great Adventure Safaris, and we tailor make you a safari suitable for you and enjoy all activities, see all attractions all rewarding you an extra ordinary experience of a lifetime.