Fairend Safaris

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Visit Rwanda

Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in Nyungwe southwest of Rwanda which established in 2004. It is well known for canopy walk where travelers get to hike up to the top of the trees and take a walk on a hanging bridge over trees. In addition, chimpanzee trekking is done in the Nyungwe forest where 2 habituated chimpanzee families can be visited.

The Park covers a total area of 1000 square kilometers and is the largest rain forest in East Africa receiving over 2000mm per annum. It is comprised of montane rainforest, swamps, bamboo, and grasslands. This area is home to mammals, reptiles, amphibians, primates, bird species, butterflies, and different tree species.

How to get to there

The Park can be accessed by either road or air transport. Travelers accessing the park from Kigali International Airport take a 3 to 4 hour’ drive to get there. Tourists can always hire a car or use a tour and Travel Company to arrange the trip and transportation means. Travelers can also use air transport since there are domestic flights from Kigali International Airport to Kamembe Airport.

Activities to do in Nyungwe Forest National park

Chimpanzee Trekking

Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to over 500 chimpanzees, although they are not habituated seeing them is highly possible. They are more frequently roaming in the Nyungwe forest as they jump from tree to tree. Chimpanzee trekking begins as early as 8 am and starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where travelers are given guidelines.

They are accompanied by a guide or ranger who helps in locating the chimps. Importantly, travelers need to obtain a permit which costs $90 and allows them to trek the chimpanzees. The activity takes between 2 to 5 hours depending on the location of these great primates.

Canopy Walk

Nyungwe Forest National Park’s forest canopy walk was first introduced as a new tourism product for the park in October 2010. The Canopy walkway spans over 160 meters between trees and rises to about  90 feet above the forest floor.

Adventurous travelers can participate in this activity however, it begins at the Uwinka Visitors Center. There is also a 2km walk through the natural rainforest below the forest filled with exciting biodiversity and beautiful forest views.

This walk also allows the tourists to see the diverse scenery in the park.  In addition, guests get to enjoy plenty of fresh air as they watch the birds flying around and have views of the landscape.

Community walks and Cultural experiences

Travelers may visit the communities around Nyungwe National Park including Kitabi village or Banda cultural village. This allows them to experience the different traditions and ways of living of the locals living near the park. Get to experience the traditional Rwandan culture through traditional folk songs and dances. In addition to tasting local food, making crafts like mats and baskets, and participating in local beer production. Rwanda has great people who are hospitable and interacting with them is a great experience.

Hiking

Travelers can participate in hiking which can be done in the forest. With different hiking trails, hikers get to enjoy beautiful sceneries of trees, birds and some primates.  The trails wind through a varied landscape which some lead to reptile and bird areas. While others lead to the Isumo Falls, caves, and Karimanzovu swamp. There are guides provide tourists with information on which trail to hike.

Birding

The Nyungwe forest is home to over 320 bird species including 27 Albertine rift valley species. Travelers can see different bird species like blue turaco, Ruwenziro Apalis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, the strange weaver, Stripe-breasted Tit Parus Wind Cryptospiza Jackson, Handsome Francolin Francolinus Nobilis, Chapin’s Flycatcher, and Rockefeller’s sunbird among others. Travelers can see primates as well when participating in birding.

Where to stay 

There are several accommodation facilities that travelers can choose from, they range from luxury to budget accommodation. Some of the facilities to select from are the one and only Nyungwe house, Nyungwe Top Hill View Hotel, Rwiza village, Delta Resort hotel, Kitabi Eco-center, Nyungwe forest lodge, and lastly  Gisakura family Hostel among others.

When to visit 

Nyungwe National Park can be visited throughout the year. However the best time to visit for chimpanzee trekking is during the wet season experienced from September to November and from March to May. During this period it is easy to locate the chimpanzees which are seen in the lowlands of Nyungwe forest.  For other activities, the best time is during the dry season from June to August and from December to February.