Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
With over 1000 species of creation within this well preserved forest, Nyungwe forest is probably the most preserved forest in Africa. It is also referred to as the most important site for biodiversity in Rwanda.
The rainforest is teaming with a diversity of wildlife especially primates including chimpanzees and monkeys. With lots of flora and over 322 bird species, this is a great place for safaris in Rwanda.
Wild Jungle Trails offers a guide on all of the latest information about the park including the location, attractions, activities, accommodation, how to get there and the best time to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Location of Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
Nyungwe National Park is situated in south western Rwanda bordered by Burundi in the south as well as Lake Kivu and Congo in the west. Its position puts it in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the river Nile basin to the east.
The park is in the district of Rusizi and covers an area of about 1020 sq. km. From Kigali-Rwanda’s capital, Nyungwe is about 219km away on the fastest route with a drive time of about 5 hours.
Brief History about Nyungwe Forest National Park
Between 1903 to 1974, Nyungwe forest faced several changes with lots of poaching and wood cutting acts that saw most of wildlife lost. In 1984, conservation and biodiversity studies were conducted in the area with research facilities set up at Uwinka.
However, most of these research facilities were destroyed during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. The next year, restoration works began till 2005 when this area was declared a national park. This happened at a time when Rwanda was determined to boost her tourism sector and increase the number of tourists that choose to safari Rwanda.
Best time to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park
The best time of the year to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park is during the time of the dry season. This is the period of the months of June-August and December to February. This is the best time for Rwanda wildlife safaris.
For bird watching tours in Rwanda, the months of January – June is the best time for birding Nyungwe Forest. During this time, the birds are not breeding and therefore they are very vocal making sighting easier.
How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
Getting to Nyungwe Forest National can either be by road or by air. Here is how you can get to Nyungwe forest National Park either by air or by road;
Choosing to go to Nyungwe by road can be by public means like a bus, using a hired self drive safari vehicle or with a 4×4 safari vehicle from a Rwanda tour operator. The drive to the park covers about 219km on a fairly good road.
Booking with a tour operator is the most comfortable way of getting to Nyungwe by road since its comfortable and time saving. On the drive, you come across several towns and natives of Rwanda. Enjoy the scenery as you get to the park.
In case you need a chartered flight to Nyungwe Forest National Park, you can book a flight through your tour operator. Flights depart from Kigali International Airport to Kamembe airport by RwandAir. From kamembe airport it’s about 55km to the park and airport pickups can be arranged.
Attractions/things to see in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Chimpanzees and other primates.
Chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest are the top attraction in Nyungwe forest. The chimpanzees are habituated and therefore used to human presence making trekking easy. Chimpanzees share about 98.7% DNA with humans and therefore amazing creatures to watch.
There about 13 primate species living within the forest and these include the Grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoests monkeys and the Rwenzori Colobus monkeys. Colobus monkeys can be seen in troops of hundreds.
Birds in Nyungwe forest
This is notably the best spot for Rwanda birding safaris with about 300 bird species in the park including about 27 endemics. Bird species found in Nyungwe forest include the Albertine rift endemics that are found strictly within the Albertine rift valley.
Recognized as an Important Bird Area, birds seen here include the Albertine owlet, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed sunbird, Buff-throated apalis, Dusky crimsonwing, Dwarf Honeyguide, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Handsome Francolin, Mountain masked apalis, Neumann’s warbler, Purple-breasted sunbird, Regal sunbird, Ruwenzori apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar, Shelley’s crimsonwing, strange weaver and many.
Activities/what to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Chimpanzee trekking just like Rwanda gorilla safaris starts every morning with a total of 8 tourists trekking a group. The best time for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest is in the months of June – August and December – February when it’s the dry season.
Before you even set your eyes on the chimpanzees you could easily hear them as they call each other with their vocalizations that reverberate through the forest. The trek can last about 2 – 5 hours.
When planning to take a chimpanzee trekking safari in Rwanda, remember to carry along a day pack, drinking water, hiking boots, rain jacket, a brimmed hat and wear long sleeved shirts and trousers.
The primates in Rwanda can be tracked during safari and some of the primates that can be seen during the trek include the colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, owl faced monkeys, Dent’s monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons and bushbabies.
Colobus monkeys are the most notable with their black and white color and long tails. They move in large troops and can easily be spotted. For L’Hoests monkeys, there’s no need to trek so far since you will easily spot them along the trails.
Birding / bird watching
Birding in Nyungwe forest is amazing and rewarding with several forest bird species. With bird species like the Dusky crimsonwing, Dwarf Honeyguide, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Handsome Francolin, Mountain masked apalis, Neumann’s warbler, Purple-breasted sunbird, Regal sunbird, Ruwenzori apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar, Shelley’s crimsonwing, strange weaver and many.
The best time for a birding safari in Rwanda is during the months of January – February when the birds are vocally active after breeding. From January to June birding is still good since calls can be heard and since forest birding depends on that.
Nyungwe canopy walk.
Nyungwe forest is host to a 200m canopy walk way that offers the best of the experience that can’t be compared to any kind of canopy walk in East Africa. 60m above the forest floor, this suspended bridge offers tourists 2 hours walk experience above huge tropical trees with a feel of the fresh air and glimpse of several bird and wild life.
This canopy walk gives breathtaking views across the misty forest with scenic sightings from above the huge trees, a perfect way to have a view of the forest during a Rwanda tour.
Rwanda safari packages to Akagera Park Rwanda
Accommodation / where to stay at Akagera Park Rwanda
For all kinds of travelers, accommodation in and around the park can be categorized in to Luxury, Mid-range/standard and Budget/basic. Here is a highlight of where to stay for each type of traveler
Luxury accommodation in Akagera Park Rwanda
One & only Nyungwe House
Need a luxury hotel in Nyungwe Forest? One & only Nyungwe House is the best lodging facility for you. The hotel offers an exclusive window to Africa’s fascinating wildlife and culture and a great spot to start any of the activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
The hotel has 22 luxury rooms and suites situated in five stunning wooden villa clusters. For beauty and wellness, the spa serves the best job in the hotel.
Midrange Accommodation in Akagera Park Rwanda
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel is idyllically situated on top of one of the hills of Nyungwe forest. This is a great place for relaxing in the evening after exploring Nyungwe forest with great sunrise and sunset views.
Meals are served in different dishes, stews, Indian curries with the ever fresh fruits.
Budget/Basic accommodation in Akagera Park Rwanda
Gisakura Guest House
Gisakura Guest House is a comfortable accommodation for travelers with smaller budgets. Its situated just about 2 km away from the park close to tea plantations. At very affordable prices, the lodge offers full board accommodation and packed meals can be arranged.
Related National Parks in Rwanda – Safaris Parks in Rwanda