NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe national park is Rwanda’s top primate destinations, housing about 13 different primates in Nyungwe forest. Nyungwe forest is ranked Africa’s most preserved montane forest located in the central Africa. Nyungwe national park, is renowned as the best primate destinations for tourists that encounter the Rwanda safaris.
History of Nyungwe national park
The Nyungwe forest that makes park of Nyungwe national park was in existence in the early years and was home a few number of wildlife species. In park suffered great destruction in the early years that reduced the plant and animal life of the park. The park suffered from afforestation, farming and in 1994 the park suffered a great loss of the forest and wildlife due to the genocide. In 1997 the last buffalo in the park was killed and in 1999 the last elephant was killed by poachers in the park.
In 1995 Nyungwe national park started rebuilding and conserving the various wildlife of the park. In2005 Nyungwe national park was established as a national park by the regulatory bodies of Rwanda.
It is located in the south western region of Rwanda 218km via Rusizi route taking a drive distance of approximately 5 hours. The nearest city to Nyungwe Park is Cyangugu. Nyungwe national park covers an area of 970km2 consisting of bamboo, grassland, swamps and rainforests.
Wildlife in Nyungwe national park
The park is vast with a number of Wildlife species that can be viewed while on Rwanda wildlife safari. The vast flora and fauna of Nyungwe national park, make the area a wonderful destination to explore and immense in the wonders of the park. Fauna in the park includes 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 85 mammals, 1068 plants and 275 bird species.
The park is famous for hosting 13 unique primates that can be trekked and sighted while in the park these include; L’hoest monkey, Grey checked Mangabeys, chimpanzee tailed monkeys, crowned monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkeys, Olive baboons, blue monkeys, owl faced monkeys, golden monkeys, velvet monkeys, olive baboons, Angolan Colobus monkey and sliver monkey.
There are over 257 bird species in Nyungwe national park where 121 are forest birds, 27 are Albertine rift endemics and 16 are endemic to the forest. These include red –collared babbler, purple breasted sunbird, Handsome francolin, Buff –throated Apalis, Blue –headed sunbird, Archer’s robin chat, Dwarf honey guide, Grauer’s swamp warbler, stranger weaver , stripe breasted tit, Ruwenzori night jar, regal sunbird, stripe –breasted tit, Albertine owlet, Buff throated Apalis, Dusky crimson wing, mountain masked Apalis, Rockefeller’s sunbird, red throated alethe, red collared babbler, yellow –eyed black fly catcher, stripe –breasted tit, strange weaver, Neumann’s warbler, red faced woodland warbler.
Activities in Nyungwe national park
Chimpanzee tracking is one of the major highlights for visiting Nyungwe national park. The park is home to over 400 individual chimpanzees bisected into two chimpanzee communities located in two areas of the park; Uwinka and Cyamudongo. The activity begins with a short briefing about the chimpanzee experience by the guide. Chimpanzee tracking takes about 2 to 3 hours with a one hour for interaction with the chimpanzee groups. Other primates of Nyungwe forest can be sighted as well, when tracking the chimpanzees. Other primates sighted include, the vervet monkeys, sliver monkeys, golden monkeys, L’hoest monkeys,
The park is a home to a number of bird species, where some are endemic to the area. Bird watching is best done during the dry season of the forest. There are a number of clear birding trails located in Nyungwe forest. Bird watching in Nyungwe forest is an exceptional experience not to miss out on Rwanda safari. The most notable bird species of the forest include; purple –breasted sun bird, red collared babbler, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori Batis, White headed wood hoopoe, Rwenzori turacos, Doherty’s Bush –shrike, handsome francolin mountain masked.
The surrounding communities of Nyungwe park offer a unique cultural experience. Visiting these communities is a rewarding activity with the obtaining of knowledge about the culture and lifestyle of these people.
Hiking and nature walks
Nyungwe forest park has a number of hiking trails available for tourists interested in the thrilling but yet exciting adventure through the park. The hike through the park rewards beautiful views of the landscapes, where the beautiful flora and fauna are sighted. Trails in the forest include the Congo Nile trail, Igishigishigi trail, karamba trail, Umoyove trail, Umgote trail, Uwinka trail, Umoyove trail, Bigugu trail, Isumi trail, Irebero trail, Imbaraga trail, Muzimu trail, Ngabwe trail, Rukuzi trail, Kamiranzovu trail, Isumo trail and Irebero trail.
The 70 meters walk above Nyungwe forest is a fascinating activity to engage in while at Nyungwe forest park. The walk is done within the Igishigishigi trail taking about 2 hours covering a distance of 160m at the walk way. The walk rewards beautiful views of the parks, bird species and the flora of the forest.
How to get to the National park
Nyungwe park can be accessed by a road transfer from Kigali the capital of Rwanda via Huye taking about 5 hours to the park. The national park is as well accessed by air transport.
Accommodation in Nyungwe national park
The park offers variety of accommodation to the tourists ranging from budget, midrange to luxury. Accommodation in Nyungwe national park include; Gisakura guest house, Nyunger nziza eco lodge, Kitabi Eco center, Nyungwe top hill lodge, Nyungwe top view lodge, One and only Nyungwe house, Emeraude kivu resort and EAR guest house.
Besides Nyungwe national park, there are other great safari options in Rwanda for a remarkable Rwanda safari. Other safari destinations in Rwanda to think about include volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking, Akagera national park for wildlife viewing and Gishwati mukura national park.