Nyungwe National Park Forest having been green even during the Ice Age, it is one of the Oldest in Africa. Nyungwe covers an area of 1000km2 and is most known for its beautiful and untouched mountain Rain Forest.
Known for being a home for Chimpanzees in Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is also home to over 12 different primate species. This includes a 400 strong troop of Habituated Rwenzori Black and white Colobus Monkeys.
Apart from primates, the Park is also a home to over 300 bird species including 16 endemics. It is also home to 75 species of Mammals.
Nyungwe has a variety of wildlife, nature and also a diversity of habitats for you to explore. One can choose, to hike, bike, track chimpanzees, listen to the birds sing, and also appreciate the beautiful views of the water fall. Not forgetting the vibrant communities that one can visit to explore the different culture of Rwanda.
What to do and see
Nyungwe forest national park is believed to have the biggest canopy walk in East Africa which is 50 meters above the ground level and 200 meters long. The canopy is a steep and deep valley across a massive forest.
The canopy walk has there towers and is a hanging platform which provides travelers with a clear view of different animal species in an eye to eye contact.
All animals and bird species which live in the upper scale of the tropical rain forest are accessed by the travelers which are not a case in other national parks that have no canopy walks.
Every traveler to Rwanda should not miss out the canopy walk for the greater and memorable experience which cannot be forgotten.
Chimpanzee trekking is the most tourism activity done in the Nyungwe forest national park. The national park is a home to large population of chimpanzees, the closet relatives to human beings sharing approximately 98% of human DNA.
The chimpanzees live in different families each family headed by one dominant who leads the group. They demonstrate different roles in a family with the females nursing and taking care of the young ones, the males protecting the family and the young ones playing and feeding. All this is so interesting that no traveler to Rwanda should miss out.
These are made possible because of different trails those lead travelers to different directions. The trails are coloured differently and they include among others the water fall trail which leads the travelers to the pretty waterfalls in the forest, Kamiranzoru Trail, Bigugu Trail which is the toughest trail that leads one to the Bigugu peak, it requires one to be physically fit, but it is so interesting especially after reaching at the top of the peak.
Travelers following the trails have high chances of encountering other different bird and animal species all which adds to the total experience that one will live to remember.
Alongside the chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park, monkey trekking is yet another interesting and highly participated in activity.
The national park is a home to the two threatened species of monkeys which are the owl faced monkey and the golden monkey.
The most celebrated of Nyungwe’s primates is the Ruwenzori Colobus which is highly arboreal and acrobatic leaf-eater, easily distinguished from any other primate found in Nyungwe by its contrasting black over all colour and snow-white whiskers, shoulders and tail tip.
The colubus monkeys in Nyungwe forest national park typically move in troops of several hundred animals. Other types of monkeys in Nyungwe National Park are the L’Hoest’s monkey, Silver monkey, golden monkey; Owl faced monkey, red tailed monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, crowned monkey, Velvet monkey, and Olive baboon among others all interesting to the travelers to the national park.
Cultural tours in Nyungwe
While in Nyungwe Forest National Park on your Rwanda safari tours, you can visit to the community to engage in the rich Rwandan culture.
The communities along the boundaries of this forest have co-existed with it and helped to some extent in its preservation after understanding its importance to the Rwanda’s Eco system.
There has been an effort to launch community-based experiences to preserve the culture of Rwanda and offer the visitors a rich experience.
Once at the village you can be part of activities such as a dance ceremony, banana beer production, and bow-and-target shooting, traditional medicine making and maize-grinding.
Lodges in Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe Forest Lodge
This is a super luxury accommodation facility located in the remote area along the boundaries of Nyungwe forest in the South- western side of Rwanda.
This lodge is composed of 24 beautifully designed self-contained rooms with balconies giving a very clear and beautiful view of the forest canopy from one side of the forest and on the other side is a large tea-plantation.
Although Rwandans and the wildlife there are still dealing with the impacts of the past civil war and genocide that happened in 1990, they have other tourists attractions that array of about 13 primate species that live in Nyungwe Forest National Park and these include the likes of chimpanzees.
It was the very first 5 star lodge to be built in this region. These 24 rooms are subdivided into villas and each villa has 4 rooms.
More to these are 2 presidential suites and each of them is located in a private villa with a private Jacuzzi thus making it a really beautiful place worth spending your night. It is a really beautiful lodge suitable for the luxury and the international travelers as well as the honeymooners too.
The rooms have modern and beautiful decoration and some traditional craft works. After a long day, you can spend some quality time at your private decks enjoying the view of the forest canopy.
With the amenities provided by this lodge the one and only Nyungwe House, in such a remote place this makes it one of the most luxurious hotels around.
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel opened up in February 2011 and it was built on top of one of those hills in Nyungwe. It has a total of 12 well-built and self-contained cottages, it has some of the most beautiful views in the region around Nyungwe Forest because it is on top of a hill and it’s also strategically located since it’s so near the park headquarters and only 5 minutes away from the main road using a rough road. Once at the lodge, you will be amazed by the beautiful view that includes the tea plantations.
All the rooms in the hotel are well maintained, they are all very spacious with private balconies which offer a great picturesque views.
They have comfortable beds in queen and king sizes and all this just so you can find the hotel which ensures your comfort while there.
All rooms are traditionally built using the local materials that are locally acquired. There is the round house where you can all converge and relax from after a long day and this room well furnished with those modern sofas.
Gisakura Guest House
This is also called Gisakura guest house. It is located in the south-western side of Rwanda close to this vast Nyungwe tropical forest blessed with a really high canopy and it is also the largest montane forest in the whole of East and Central Africa.
Gisakura Guesthouse offers basic accommodation to travelers that are not willing to spend a lot but still wish to enjoy the beauty of the place and the nature that surrounds the lodge.
There are 12 rooms at this hotel; they are built in a simple way using local materials and with shared bathrooms. Rooms are built with bricks, timber/ wood and then floors are tiled o make the look a bit modern.
While there, you will realize that you will be less interested in the how the rooms are because you spend most of time admiring the beautiful scenery and you can take a short nature walk with a guide.
You will be surprised by what nature offers, there is lots and lots flora which include the old mahoganies, there are those very tall ebonies and really giant fern trees and then there are the orchids as well as the epiphytes clinging to tree branches.