Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
Positioned in the south west of Rwanda, the Nyungwe Forest National Park overlooks the Democratic Republic of Congo border to the west and the Republic of Burundi in the south. The Nyungwe is noted to be one of the ancient forests of Africa and is known to have survived the last ice age.
Chimpanzee Trekking Nyungwe Forest National Park
Colobus Monkey Tracking Nyungwe Forest National Park
Overview about Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
The Nyungwe forest is noted to one of the largest mountain forests in East Africa and at the moment is considered to be the most conserved forest in the Central African Highlands.
Nyungwe Forest is close to the Congo Nile divide which marks the divide between the River Nile water catchment and River Congo. In fact, the forest forms one of the remote sources of the Nile River which is the longest in the whole world. Established in the year 2004, Nyungwe Forest National Park covers a geographical spread of 970km2 comprising of bamboo, rain forest, bogs, grassland and swamps. The park is close to Cyangungu town at 54km distance and the highest point in the park is Mount Bugugu which is within the park boundaries. The forest is has a great deal of bio-diversity conservation which dwell in varied habitats of the park. Nyungwe Forest National Park has thirteen (13) species of primates, 1068 species of plants, 275 species of birds, 85 species of mammals, 38 species of reptiles not forgetting 32 species of amphibians.
The Nyungwe Forest’s lush canopy presents a great canopy that is noted to be the first of its kind in the East African region and the third best in Africa. The 40m high and 90m long walkway is a life time adventure beyond the ordinary.
Tourist Attractions in Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
Nyungwe Forest National Park, has a number of different tourist attractions. Read More about the Nyungwe Forest National Park
Birds, The Nyungwe Forest National Park is noted among the Important Bird Areas and honored by the Birdlife International accrediting its bird count. Nyungwe Forest boasts of an extended range of birds that thrive in the montane forest. There are 278 species of birds in the forest and 26 of these are limited in range to the Albertine rift. The birds of Nyungwe include among others; Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Rwenzori Turacos, Red-throated Alethe, Apalis argentea, Purple-breasted and Blue-headed, Kungwe Apalis Ruwenzori Apalis, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Alehe poliophrys, Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer, Batis diops, Ruwenzori Batis, Caprimulgus ruwenzorii, Archer’s Robin-chat Cossypha archeri, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Dusky Crimson Wing, Handsome Francolin, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Francolinus nobilis, Cryptospiza shelleyi, Cryptospiza jacksoni, Hemitesia neumanni, Red-collared Babbler, Kupeornis rufocinctus, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis ardesiacus, Regal Sunbird, Neumann’s Warbler and Cinnyris regius.
The Forest of Nyungwe Forest towers up to 3000 meters in the altitudinal spread above sea level forming a varying eco system which acts as a habitat for a range of fauna. The Nyungwe Forest National Park contain thirteen (13) primate species including counts habituated chimpanzee group in the whole of Rwanda and the Black and white colobus monkey with the largest grouping in the whole of Africa that count up to 400 individuals. Other species include the Silver Monkey (Cercopithecus doggetti), L’Hoest’s Monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti), Angola Colobus (Colobus angolensis ruwenzori), Dent’s Mona Monkey (Cercopithecus denti), Red-tailed Monkey the (Cercopithecus ascanius), Hamlyn’s Monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), Grey-cheeked Mangabey (Lophocebus albigena), Olive Baboon (Papio anubis) and Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus).
Being one of the Africa’s ancient forests, Nyungwe forest is credited for having survived the last ice age. As a result, Nyungwe forest is one of the diverse forests in the region with a count of 200 tree species including flowering plants, the flamboyant orchids and giant lobelia. Nyungwe Forest has a range of vegetation zones that are distributed according to the varying altitude. At 2950m above sea level, there lies sub alpine vegetation which is denoted by bamboo and shrubs like Erica johnstonii, Podocarpus, Phillipia and bamboo. At 2500m, there lies various tree species including Syzygium, Podocarpus, Macaranga, Hagenia and Balthacaria. At 2250m, there lies a range of tall species of trees and species of fern such as Newtonia, Entandophragma, Polycscias, Cyathea manniana and Symphonia. At 1900m, there lies taller species of trees including like Newtonia, Carapa, Engtandophragma, Cyathea manniana and Prinaria exelsium. Nyungwe being a mature forest, it contains Epiphytes like ferns, mosses, orchids and other plants thriving in the high tree sections presenting the characteristics of moist mountain rainforests.
Tourist Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
There is a range of tourist attractions in Nyungwe Forest National Park which form a fertile ground for various tourist activities for the enjoyment of Rwanda safari undertakers. Read more about the Tourist Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
Chimpanzee trekking, The Nyungwe Forest National Park is a home to thirteen (13) counts of primates including the common Chimpanzees. The Chimpanzees have been noted to be the closest human relatives along with bonobos that thrive in the dense forests of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. The Chimpanzees in Nyungwe have been fully habituated and are well set for chimpanzee trekking encounter. The activity is conducted in the morning starting at 8am at the park headquarters. The 2 – 6 hour activity involves traversing the jungle dotted by counts of birds, lush flora and impressive hiking landscapes before you approach the apes thriving in their natural habitat and one full hour is availed to you to explore these chimps as they forage, make pant hooting calls, socialize and hunt. You are free to take the photos of your wish before you retreat from the encounter. To trek the chimpanzees in Rwanda, one needs a chimpanzee trekking permit and this costs $90 per person.
Colobus Monkey tracking, The Nyungwe Forest National Park is known to provide shelter to the largest grouping of black and white colobus monkeys on the whole of Africa. It is such an amazing moment when you come across the section of the forest soaked by the black and white colors as they play their impressive hide and seek games, do the chattering and play with one another. The colobus monkey tracking commences at 8am and tend to last 2 – 5 hours with one (1) full hour of direct encounter. Unlike the chimps, the colobus monkeys tend to be docile and thus offer you an extended and a relaxed encounter with them. They have the young ones which are born purely white and get their body coloring after three months. To track colobus Monkeys, you need a perm and this costs $70.
Canopy walk, The Nyungwe Forest National Park has the best canopy walk in the whole of East Africa and the third of its caliber on the level of African continent. Established in October 2010, the Nyungwe canopy walk way extends to 200 feet above the ground stretching to 90m in length. The canopy walk allows you to explore the higher forest canopy landscapes with the sights of beautiful butterflies, primates and birds in the highest branches of the forest. At some section, the walk way crosses, a deep valley which presents a frightening moment as you cross this deep valley. It forms a life time memory. The Nyungwe canopy walk commences at Uwinka visitor center and tends to last about two (2) hours. The Nyungwe canopy walk costs $60 per person.
Bird Watching, With 278 species of birds of which 26 of these are limited in range to the Albertine rift, Nyungwe Forest National Park presents an ideal bird watching encounters in Rwanda. The forest has counts of montane forest dwelling birds. Among the birds that can be encountered by birders on birding safaris in Rwanda include Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Rwenzori Turacos, Red-throated Alethe, Apalis argentea, Purple-breasted and Blue-headed, Kungwe Apalis Ruwenzori Apalis, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Alehe poliophrys, Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer, Batis diops, Ruwenzori Batis, Caprimulgus ruwenzorii, Archer’s Robin-chat Cossypha archeri, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Dusky Crimson Wing, Handsome Francolin, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Francolinus nobilis, Cryptospiza shelleyi, Cryptospiza jacksoni, Hemitesia neumanni, Red-collared Babbler, Kupeornis rufocinctus, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis ardesiacus, Regal Sunbird, Neumann’s Warbler and Cinnyris regius. The birding can be organized as short guided walk in the morning and in the evening or an extensive full day encounter.
Hiking, The impressive landscape of Nyungwe forest makes it ideal for hiking encounter. The forest park features an extensive network of trails that can be used for hiking. These include the following;
Congo-Nile Divide Trail, This trail traverses the divide of the water catchment areas of River Congo and River Nile which are among the eminent Rivers in the world with the latter being the longest. The trail stretches to 227km and is a multi-day hiking encounter. You pass through impressive bamboo forests and rainforest and open fields. For multi day hikers, camping provisions have been set along this trail and you carry along your camping equipment. Also there are counts of shops that sell food and snacks along the trail.
The Igishigishigi Trail extends for 2.1km distance and offers impressive views of the canopy walk way and lush wild flowers. This can be incorporated with the more extensive Imbaraga or the Umoyove Trails.
The Karamba trail is also a relative easy trail that is close to a former gold mine, army camp and a market. It presents the most ideal birding encounters in Nyungwe Forest National Park. The trail is marked by impressive fern trees.
The Umugote trail presents impressive views of various ridges, lush flowers, rain forests and distant views of Kibira National Park in the neighboring Burundi on a clear day. The trail also presents impressive opportunities for viewing primates and birds.
The Umuyove trail which is at times referred to as the Mahogany Trail passes through the tallest trees in Nyungwe Forest with the good smelling scent of their leaves. It also passes along a waterfall which offers impressive views. The Umuyove trail presents other side trails that are used during the chimpanzee trekking exercise.
The Uwinka trail is noted to be difficult but offers you an opportunity to traverse beautiful ravines with encounters of early morning bird songs.
The Irebero trail allows you to loop around the two (2) of the highest peaks in the park offering the scenic views of Lake Kivu.
The Imbaraga trail offers you an opportunity to encounter four (4) water falls with impressive sceneries. These are less than 10km apart from each other offering you refreshing experiences along the hike.
The Rukuzi Trail presents an outstanding spots for trekking chimps and the views of the village of Banda where the children voices are heard carrying up on the mountain side.
The Bigugu Mountain is the highest in the park. The trail takes you through remarkable flora and offers impressive views of Lake Kivu on a clear day along with the Islands and hills of Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Isumo trail takes you through the extensive tea fields, steep rain forest gorges and the largeat waterfall in the whole of Nyungwe Forest National Park.
The Kamiranzovu Trail takes you through the largest swamp in the park and impressive water falls. It is ideal from water environment lovers.
Here two paths connect to the summit where a remarkable picnic or camping can be done.
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