There is so much to see on a safari in East Africa especially in Rwanda. One of the wondrous sights in Rwanda is the Nyungwe forest.
Nyungwe forest is the largest tropical afro-montane forest in east and central Africa. It covers a wide expanse of over 1000 sq. Km in Rwanda and extends to Burundi in the Kibira national park. The Nyungwe forest national park is found on the Rwanda side of the border. Nyungwe forest receives about 200mm of rain annually and is Rwanda’s largest water catchment belt and holds 2/3 of Rwanda’s water. It feeds both the River Nile and River Congo with water.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe forest is found about 4-5 hours from Kigali- the Rwanda capital. A journey a long winding roads and through vast tea fields gets you to Nyungwe national park. Within this park you will find the vast nyungwe forest, the Kamiranzovu swamp, trails, a forest canopy walk (one of only three in Africa) , hundreds of bird species, chimpanzees, exotic flower and countless butterflies. It is a nature fest within Nyungwe forest national park.
the famous Forest Canopy Walk, the only one in East Africa (there are only 3 in Africa), opportunities for Birding, Primate Viewing including Chimpanzee Tracking, taking in the flowers such as the various Orchids found here and the countless of butterflies they attract.
Wildlife in Nyungwe Forest Park
Nyungwe Forest Park has a variety of wildlife. The park and forest boasts of about 85 different species of mammals, 32 amphibians, 38 reptile species and about 300 bird species.
There are thirteen primates and some unconfirmed sightings of golden monkeys. The forest is well known for its primate population which includes the chimpanzee, the L’hoest monkey, the silver monkey, golden monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, the red tailed monkey, the vervet monkey, the olive baboon and a few others.
What do you do on a visit to Nyungwe forest national park?
There are several exciting things you can do while on Rwanda safari in nyungwe national park;
You can go hiking; the park has over thirteen hiking trails, and over 130km of these trails run through the forest. You can take a week hiking the various trails and also exploring the ancient rainforest and the habitats found within. Hiking through nyungwe forest gives the hiker a chance to see and experience the rainforest and all it has to offer. You will be amazed by the birds, animals, plants, trees and butterflies that you will see on a Nyungwe forest hike. An individual hike in the forest can be as short as one hour or as long as 8 hours a day, or something in between.
The Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk: the Nyungwe forest canopy walk is an activity unique to only three places in all of Africa, and nyungwe is one of those three places. It is an activity that shouldn’t be missed.
The canopy walk is 50 meters above the ground and 90 meters long. It is a pretty short distance but it can feel very long at such dizzying heights. It is a thrilling walk and you can enjoy some really amazing views from way up above the ground.
If you are visiting Rwanda on a gorilla trekking trip, be sure to add this canopy walk to your itinerary.
Chimpanzee Trekking: tracking chimpanzees is one of the most exciting things to do on a visit to nyungwe forest. The location of the park and the forest is such that you can go gorilla trekking in the volcanoes national park and extend your trip and activities to include tracking chimpanzees in nyungwe forest.
While gorilla trekking is usually successful, chimpanzee trekking is not so much. There is a possibility that you might not find them. However Nyungwe forest is one of the few places where chances of a successful chimpanzee trek are high. Tracking chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest NP is an activity that starts early in the morning and lasts most of the day, it is a lot of fun, and you will not regret it.
Monkey tracking: tracking the Grey Cheeked Mangabey and Ruwenzori Colobus Monkey is another exciting thing to do in Nyungwe forest.
The forest has numerous primates to see and track. Colobus monkeys are quite easy to see in the forest since they are over 300 of them in the park. You are also likely to see some L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey, Owl Faced Monkey, Mona Monkey and Blue Monkeys, and many more primates.
You could even take a chance and track the golden monkey whose sightings in the park are yet to be confirmed.
Birding in Nyungwe forest: with over 300 different bird species, nyungwe forest is paradise for any bird watcher. Some of the birds found here include; the grauer’s rush warbler which is endemic to the albertine rift valley. About 27 of the 300 species found in Nyungwe are endemic to the albertine rift valley. Other birds in the park include Rwenzori turaco, the large blue turaco purple breasted and blue breasted sunbirds, and so many more.
There you have it, a list of things you can do and enjoy on a visit to Nyungwe forest.
Nyungwe Forest national park is clearly one of Rwanda’s natural wonders and no one should miss out on the opportunity to see and experience the largest rainforest in East Africa.