Nyungwe Forest National Park is associated with Chimpanzee Safaris in Rwanda. Nyungwe National Park is located in the south western part of Rwanda at the border between Burundi in the south, Lake Kivu and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west .The park is a best preserved montane forest in central Africa with untouched natural tropical woodland that is filled with variety of exhilarating biodiversity. The park was established in 2004 covering an area of 1000square kilometer. Nyungwe is known as a home to one of the east African intact population the chimpanzees which has attracted a number of tourists worldwide hence chimpanzee trekking making it the most popular activity carried out in the park.
The park also boasts of a wide variety of many different species making it first apriority for conservation area in Rwanda. Nyungwe is believed to be one of the oldest forest in Africa that stays ever green through the ice age hence explaining its diversity.it is surely one of the most beautiful pristine montane rainforest that is filled with nature and wildlife experience for one to be involved in, such as trekking the common chimpanzees, experiencing the canopy walk, hiking trails, bird watching and cultural based tourism.
Nyungwe’s strongest post card is the opportunity to track chimpanzees that have been habituated for over years for tourists to visit. Chimpanzee tracking is one the great experience one will leave to remember once it is carried out, as you track them, you will be lead into forest in search of these primates with help of the guides who will assist in allocating these amazing species. The park contains over 13 other different primates specie, 275 bird species, 85 mammals, 32 amphibians, 38 reptile species and 1068 plant species. The park has also got a beautiful terrain where biking or hiking can be carried out, experiencing the canopy walk and other cultural based tourism.
Nyungwe forest national park is the most important area of diversity and has been rated as the highest priority for forest conservation in Africa.
History of Nyungwe national park.
Nyungwe forest national park was first declared as forest reserve in 1903 by the German colonial government and later by the Belgians government .Park was reduced by over 150 kilometers due human settlement bin the region and their activities such as forest cutting, hunting of animals, small scale agriculture .the nearby parts in Gishwati and Virunga forests were also reduced due to agriculture conservation. After the genocide in 1994, the park was established in 2004 by USAID and is straight away begun its work on strengthening the sustainable ecotourism of Nyungwe national park program .This was the first kick to start on Nyungwe’s growing eco-tourism industry .
In 2010 Nyungwe Nziza meaning beautiful Nyungwe USAID begun to boost ecotourism and economic growth in the area.in the same year ,wild life conservation society begun a three year conservation education n and outreach program with the aim of decreasing the threats faced in the national park ,this involved educating the local communities the value of national parks .Nyungwe national park currently is one of the most tourist attraction in Rwanda because of the habituated chimpanzees and other number of species and activities that are carried out within the park.
How to get there.
From Kigali to Nyungwe national park, it takes roughly 5 hours on fairly good tarmac road which will connect you to the main entrance at Uwinka on the main road of Cyangungu –huge road. Expect to have best times as you’re travelling to Nyungwe national park. There is also an option of flying to Nyungwe national park. Air Rwanda at Kigali international airport flies there on a regular basis.
Activities carried out in Nyungwe forest national park.
Visitors will drive to the park headquarters to register for the chimpanzee tracking expedition. After a short briefing, you will set off into the forest in search of the inhabitant chimpanzees in the Forest .the population of the chimps goes beyond 500 in the forest, but finding them is not a must. You have about 65% chance of seeing them because they are always on move.
Unlike other primates, chimpanzees don’t live in herds, but they instead make extended groups of about to a hundred individuals, which keeps on moving within the forest in small mobile sub groups that often made up of their close family members like brothers, mothers and daughters. Male chimps usually pass their whole life within the area in which they were born; however females wander into other neighboring areas when they reach adolescence stage.
If you are lucky enough to meet them, you are allowed to spend 1 hour watching them leap from branches, build nests from leaves in the treetops, and play and groom each other. Sometimes you hear them making loud calls within the forest and this is the way you can easily spot them. Upon seeing them all your fatigue will be realized and will have unexciting joyful and unforgettable experience as you spend 1 hour with them..
Apart from the chimpanzees, Nyungwe Forest is haven to a immense number of other different animals and birds species. the forest comprised of about 12 species of primate that includes black and white colobus monkeys, L, Hoest monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabey, 120 species of butterfly, 278 species of bird, serval cats, side-striped jackal, giant forest hog and wild cat which makes you trip such an incredible wildlife experience one as you watch all the above animals birds and the primates.
Colobus monkey tracking is one of most sought after and famous primates in Nyungwe forest. They are part of Angola colobus race situated in the Albertine rift, and there are about 400 habituated monkeys in Nyungwe forest which are available for tourists to track.
Walking on suspended loops on a hanging platform in the air is tremendously a exclusive way to appreciate the time you will spend in Nyungwe forest during your safari. The pathway is assembled about 50 meters above the steep and deep valley above the forest canopies, this gives you a chance to view the massive thick forest, birds, butterflies and different primates most commonly seen are chimpanzees and blue monkeys that reside in the higher levels of the forest.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the most important bird watching destinations in Rwanda with over 280 bird species recorded and the majority is forest specialists and 26 are regional endemics whose range is restricted to a few forests along the Albertine Rift. Bird watching in Nyungwe can be rather tiring, since the vegetation is thick and many birds tend to stick to the canopy. You don’t have to be an ardent birdwatcher to appreciate some of Nyungwe’sbirds. Most people double when they first spot a great blue turaco, a chicken sized bird with garish blue, green and yellow feathers, often seen gliding between the trees along the main road. Another real gem is the paradise flycatcher, along tailed blue, orange and sometimes white bird often seen around the rest house. Other birds impress with their bizarre appearance the gigantic forest hornbills, for instance, whose wailing vocalizations are almost as comical as their ungainly bills and heavy winged flight. And when tracking through the forest under growth, you should watch out for the red throated a lethe, a much localized bird with a distinctive blue-white eyebrow. The a lethe habitually follows colobus troops to eat the insects they disturb, and based on our experience it seems humans are merely another large mammal, often perching within a few inches.
Nature walks and Hiking.
Nyungwe has got a number of attractive hiking trails within the forest that differentiated by different lengths and different challenges. These guided Natures walks are guided will expose to you different attraction found in the forest such as the waterfalls, and one is able to catch the stunning scenery of Nyungwe forest national park.
Camping in Nyungwe.
Camping is done at Uwinka headquarters at the entrance though this will require extra fee which a bit costly .people who lights these camp fire are always available .during the cold nights it is very necessary to enjoy these fire camps as your having a restful evening.
Accommodation near Nyungwe Forest.
Where to Stay
Nyungwe Forest National park has variety of well-established facilities that that ranges in different categories starting from the budget to luxury range. These accommodations are well facilitated friendly and welcoming staff. Services are well provided with all types of food and more other free services such as free parkings,Wiifi and very many others. Expect to stay in a good home away from your home. The different accommodation units include,
Nyungwe forest lodge.
Nyungwe top view lodge.
Golden monkey hotel.
Light house hotel.
Iris guest house.
Step town motel.
Express by city blue.