This is also another protected montane rain forest in central Africa covering an area of around 970 km² of rain forest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. It is located in the south western part of Rwanda near the edge of Burundi to the south and the Lake Kivu and the democratic republic of Congo to the west.
It is just a drive of about 5-7 hours up to the park from Kigali Rwanda’s capital and its largest city. It was recognized as a park in 2004 and it is one of the best places to enjoy safaris in Rwanda. The park is considered one of the most visited of Rwanda’s national parks due to the fact that it houses a wide biodiversity of animal species, it is a home to over 13 species of primates coupled with chimpanzee the most close relative of man sharing almost 98% of human DNA, other primate species include the black and white colobus monkey, baboons, civet6 monkey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, golden monkey the list is endless.
Nyungwe forest national park is also a home to various species of birds over 275 species, over 1068 plant species like the Tall old mahoganies, ebonies and giant tree ferns tower and about 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species and butterflies. A number of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift Montane forests ecoregion in Africa. Over 40% of visitors who make it Rwanda visit Nyungwe forest national park.
Activities done in Nyungwe forest national park
Most of the visitors to the park go primate tracking since the park is a home to over 13 species of primates; the most to be tracked are the chimpanzee. Tracking starts very early in the morning after receiving a short briefing about chimp tracking after, follow the ranger guide to the forest to begin the activity possibly the most fascinating activity at the park.
Tracking time is unpredictable as it can go from 3-8 hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is needed, as well as tracking gears like strong shoes and boots long sleeved shirts and blouses, bottled water and sometimes parked lunch depending on the lodge. Ounce chimps are met you strictly allowed to stay with them for only one hour observing their behaviors as well as taking photos. Sightings aren’t as reliable or as clear as gorillas however, since they often remain in dense forest. Enjoy watching them doing their daily activities like feeding, playing, making nest, mothers feeding young ones among others.
In the course of tracking chimps other primates like the black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, civert monkeys, golden monkeys among others will also be seen. Chimp tracking is done in a group of eight members per group with an armed ranger guide to protect your movements while in the forest, and to be considered one of the eight members to track chimps you must possess a chimp permit. Always pay in time in order to book your permit in advance, chimp permits are at a fee of 70USD per person per tracking.
This also regarded as a fascinating activity at the park, exploring the park on foot is so rewarding, while on the walk you will be in position to meet very many forest dwellers in a close range like various species of birds, primate species bird species and tree species. The forest walks lasts from one to eight hours in the jungle. You can take a canopy walk one of its kinds not only in the east but also in the central Africa with spectacular views across Nyungwe forest. This is the shortest trail (Igishigishingi trail). While the 6 hour Bigugu Trail leads you to the highest mountain in the Park at 2950m.
Nyungwe forest national park is so rewarding most especially to bird lovers as the park hosts over 275 species of birds some of which are really seen in other parks. Giant hornbills, great blue Turacos and red-breasted sparrow hawks are amongst the birds rarely seen and some of these birds are endemic to this section of the Albertine Rift Valley. Bird watching in Nyungwe needs a kin watcher since it’s a tropical forest sometimes it’s hard to see some of the birds. However the park is gifted with experienced guides good at sighting different species of birds.
Community walk can be arranged to meet the neighboring people around the part, they will entertain you through their cultural music and dance, explain to you how they have managed to leave in the area, teach you their farming skills among other, if interested purchase their locally produced items.