Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of Rwanda’s most significant national parks, creating millions of dollars annually for the country’s tourism economy. Nyungwe is well-known for chimpanzee tracking/tracking (Rwanda chimpanzee safari destination), which has long been the primary activity in the Nyungwe forest. Only two chimpanzee groups live in the National Park, one of which is a tiny group of 30 chimps that is tracked in the park’s Cyamudongo Forest. There are approximately 60 chimps in the larger group. Nyungwe Forest (Rwanda Chimpanzee Trekking Area) is Africa’s largest Afro-Montane Forest, and one of the most popular activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park is the Canopy Walk, where visitors can go to the tops of the trees and walk on hanging bridges while appreciating the forest’s magnificence.

The forest can be found southwest of Rwanda, near the Burundi border, south of Lake Kivu, and west of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nyungwe National Park is also located in the District of Rusizi, in Uganda’s south western region. On the east side of the Nile and west to Congo, the Rusizi district is home to the park as well as Africa’s great river. The park’s headquarters are in Uwinka, which is around 219 kilometers away and takes 4 hours to drive to. The forest has had a significant impact on Rwanda’s climatic conditions. Nyungwe forest national park was formed in 2004 and is home to over 1000 animal, bird, and natural species. Nyungwe is an important African conservation area since it is home to a diverse range of animals, making it a popular destination for Rwanda safaris and Rwanda tours.

The Nyungwe National Park runs from Lake Albert to Lake Tanganyika in the western Great Rift Valley. Many mountains and lakes in the Rift Valley drain west into the Congo River basin. The Albertine Rift is recognized for its indigenous wildlife and plants, in addition to its beautiful landscape. There are around 1,068 plant species in Nyungwe Forest, including over 200 tree species and 248 orchid species, and new species are discovered each year. In addition, Nyungwe is home to 85 animal species, including 13 primate species. In addition, Nyungwe is home to approximately 300 bird species, 29 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift. This makes Nyungwe the ideal bird-watching spot, since it has been dubbed “birds Paradise” by many.

Other ecosystems in Nyungwe Forest National Park, such as swamps, marshes, bamboo thickets, heath, open woodland, and many microhabitats, add to the park’s biodiversity. Nyungwe is noted for its 13 primate species, notably the chimps. This is the ideal place to do chimp trekking, and it also has the largest black and white Colobus monkey group. There are also fragmented forests, such as Cyamudongo, which is home to well-habituated chimps, and Gisakura, which has more fragmented forests and is home to the second habituated small troop of Colobus monkeys. Nyungwe boasts nearly 130 kilometers of built pathways, allowing visitors of all fitness levels to experience its natural beauty while breathing fresh air.

Nyungwe provides various unique activities, such as canopy walks, that are not available anywhere else in East Africa, if not the entire continent. The best aerial view of the forest canopy is from the suspension bridge. Nyungwe Forest National Park includes three receiving centers: one near the entry in Kitabi, another in the middle of the park in Uwinka, and the third in Gisakura. Nyungwe Forest National Park offers inexpensive camping, while Uwinka provides a tented camping area. There are currently no hotel infrastructures within the park, although they may be found in the surrounding area.

Environmental services provided by Nyungwe Forest are important, and the park provides 75 percent of the country’s water. On each side of the Park, there are numerous rivers. Rivers flowing west flow into the Congo River, whereas rivers flowing east flow into the Nile River after first passing via the Akagera River. According to Richard Kandt and other scholars, the Nile’s farthest source is in Nyungwe.

To visit Nyungwe Forest, you must first purchase a permit for any activity on the park’s website, then provide your proof of payment at the park’s reception center. The Park is open every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rwanda Tours to Nyungwe Forest National Park

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Nyungwe National Park History

Nyungwe Forest National Park has existed for many years, dating back to 1903 when the German Colonial administration designated the park as a reserve and a colonial crown land of Nyungwe. However, fires, increased poaching of animals, and deforestation diminished the extent of the national park between 1958 and 1973, reducing it to 150 square kilometers. Elephants were slain in large numbers, and buffaloes were killed as well in 1975. Around 400 colobus monkeys resided in groups in the forest in 1984, according to census data.

There were research facilities put up in Uwinka, but they were completely destroyed during the genocide in 1994. Following the loss of tourist amenities in 1994, the park was restored beginning in 1995 and continued until 2004 when it was designated as a national park. Rwanda was rated among the top tourist destinations at this time, and the tourism industry grew during this time.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

In Nyungwe National Park, two groups of Chimpanzees have been habituated: one at Uwinka and another at Cyamudongo as fragmented forest. Distance, altitude gain, and estimated time for chimp trekking in Cyamudongo forest will depend on where the chimps are located and the terrain of the forest area being trekked. This hike’s chimp trekking takes about 4.2km round trip, with a total altitude gain of about 240m. This amounted to about an hour of walking and three hours of looking through treetops, primarily for chimps, monkeys, and birds.

How to prepare for Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

As you prepare to go chimp trekking, there are a few things you should bring with you in order to have a successful Rwanda wildlife safari. Some of these are as follows: Binoculars, rain gear, hiking boots or gum boots, water, and snacks are recommended. Walking sticks will be provided to assist you in gaining a firm grip on the ground as you hike/trek. Cyamudongo forest is one of Nyungwe’s top sections for chimp trekking, attracting visitors from all over the world as the home of a large group of chimps.

How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Cyamudongo is a new addition to the park that is about an hour’s drive from the Gisakura reception center, which is located outside the park’s main boundaries. This forest is a 19-square-kilometer fragment of the rainforest that has survived because it is too steep for cultivation and is surrounded by tea plantations and eucalyptus groves, as well as modest homesteads and shops perched on steep hillsides. A rough and dirt track leads from Nyungwe’s main road to Cyamudongo, which requires a 4-4 car. A sidetrack to the park is about 11 kilometers long at the Shagasha tea estate and village. You will meet teams of trackers and rangers who follow the trekkers during the day to assist and protect them. They usually communicate with the guides via radio so that tourists can be directed to the chimps in the most efficient manner.

Best Time to Go Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest

Chimpanzees are most visible in the early morning, which means getting up around 4:00-4:30 a.m. in June, July, and August. The fruits of the fig trees in the park make this forest ideal for chimp trekking. The chimps feed until much later in the morning, so tourists who sleep until normal hours have a good chance of seeing them. Only two groups of visitors are allowed to trek a specific group of primates on any given day, and they are only allowed to spend an hour doing so.

Gisakura Forest Colobus Monkeys

If you’ve just finished a strenuous hike the day before or have a few hours before dinner, this is a relaxing outing that can be completed in one to three hours. This is a short hike from the nearby Gisakura guest house and Nyungwe forest lodge, which is currently known as one and only. You must be accompanied by the guide, and you should bring binoculars, rain gear, water, and proper hiking shoes. A walking stick will be provided by your guide. Gisakura forest is a sliver of rainforest in the middle of a tea plantation just outside the park’s boundaries. It is located in a small valley with a stream running through it. Gisakura Forest is less than one square kilometer in size and serves as the watershed for the spring that serves the tea plantation.

This small forest remnant was designated a park in 2005 after it was discovered that a group of Angolan black and white colobus monkeys had made their home there. Fortunately, these primates can supplement their natural diet with alien pine and eucalyptus, as their small home territory would not be able to support them otherwise. A Mona monkey may be spotted among the colobus. There is some disagreement about why this one monkey is present and what role he plays. A lone tracker follows them in and out of the forest and is responsible for their safety.

If the colobus is not available, the tracker will direct the guide to a specific access trail to take you there. If the colobus is not found, you can take a short walk through the forest or, better yet, a pleasant walk along the perimeter on plantation roads, particularly to the right of the forest and at the far end of that section. The plantation track turns right at that point. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Because the perimeter road receives a lot of sunlight. There are many species of wild flowers here that are not found elsewhere in the forest. Bright blue brillantaisia, impatiens, begonia, and a variety of shrubs are among them.

Nyungwe forest Canopy walk

Accessibility

The distance between Kigali and Nyungwe Forest National Park is approximately 230 kilometers. This is about a 5-hour drive from Nyungwe National Park, and you will have the opportunity to see the Nyanza King’s Palace at Nyabisindu. The King’s Palace will provide you with information about the Kingdom of Rwanda, as will craft shops, the National Museum, the Arboretum, the Gikongoro genocide memorial center, and the Bisesero Memorial Center, among other attractions. The Nyungwe Forest can be reached by road via a variety of modes of transportation, including tour operator cars, special hire cars, buses, and other public vehicles. Air transportation is another option for those who want to get to the park quickly. Chatter flights are organized by aircraft such as TropicalAir. With all of these options, getting to Nyungwe is made very simple

Nyungwe National Park Fees

Nyungwe Forest National Park Entrance Fees
The park entrance fees for Nyungwe Forest National Park vary depending on the park activity you wish to participate in and the type of visitor you are. You could be a foreign resident, a non-resident foreigner, a Rwandan, or an East African Community (EAC) national. Each category has its own set of fees. As a result, each traveler category is charged based on these characteristics. The following are some of the fees that are levied on various travelers.

Fee for trekking chimps

The chimp trekking fee is the fee charged to visitors in order to gain access to Nyungwe Forest National Park in order to trek and see the gentle primates that have become accustomed to humans.

  • Non-resident foreigners pay $90
  • Foreign residents must pay $ 60.
  • Rwandans must pay 5,000 Rwf.
  • East African Community (EAC) nationals pay: $10
  • Foreign Residents of the East African Community (EAC) pay: $60
  • Students from Rwanda must pay 2,500 Rwf.
  • Students from the East African Community (EAC) pay $5.
  • Foreign students must pay a fee of $30 Fee for tracking other primates

The Nyungwe national park is home to 13 primate species, including the Angolan black and white colobus monkey. All of these other primates are equally loved by travelers who want to travel and experience the thrill of primates species, so they pay a fee to gain access to the Nyungwe forest for trekking these species. The following are some of the park entrance fees levied on visitors to the national park in order for them to trek other primates;

  • Non-resident foreigners pay: $60
  • Each foreign resident pays: $40
  • Rwandan payment is 5000 Rwf.
  • East African Community (EAC) citizens pay $10 per person.
  • Foreign Residents of the East African Community (EAC) pay: $40
  • Rwandan Citizen Students: Rwf 1,500
  • EAC Students: $3
    Foreign Resident Students must pay a fee of $20. Nyungwe guided nature walks cost $

Nature walks in Nyungwe Forest National Park are one of the most interesting activities, with travelers strolling through the forest while studying various species such as primates, insects, birds, plants, and much more. This activity, like any other, is charged a separate charge for park entrance fees. The following fees apply to the park’s various guided nature walks:

Non-resident foreigners pay $40 per person.
Foreign-resident fee: $30 per person
Rwandans pay between Rwf 3,000 and Rwf 5,000.
East African Community (EAC) citizens pay $5 per person.
Foreign residents of the East African Community (EAC) pay $30 per person.
Rwandan students must pay Rwf 1,500 per person.
Students from the East African Community (EAC) pay $3 per person.
Students from other countries pay $20 per person.
Fee for Bird Watching in Nyungwe

Bird watching safaris are another popular activity in Nyungwe, as the park is home to over 300 different bird species, attracting a wide range of tourists. It is also charged differently than any other activity, and some of the bird watching park entrance fees are listed below.

Nyungwe is a great place to go bird watching.
Non-resident foreigners pay $50 per person.
Foreign-resident fee: $40 per person
Rwandans pay Rwf 5000 per person.
East African Community (EAC) citizens pay $10 per person.
Foreign residents of the East African Community (EAC) pay $40 per person.
Rwandan students must pay Rwf 2000 per person.
Students from the East African Community (EAC) pay $5 per person.
Students from other countries pay $20 per person.
Fee for the Nyungwe Canopy Walk

The Nyungwe Canopy Walk is an activity in which visitors walk on a ridge rope that has been built up in the trees to provide them with an overlook view of the forest thicket’s canopy. This walk allows visitors to walk up in the trees about 1000 meters above the ground. The following are some of the park entrance fees for those interested in doing the canopy walk.

Non-resident foreigners pay $60 per person.
Foreign residents: $50 per person
Rwandans pay Rwf 5000 per person.
East African Community (EAC) citizens pay $10 per person.
Foreign residents of the East African Community (EAC) pay $50 per person.
Rwandan students must pay Rwf 5000 per person.
Students from the East African Community (EAC) pay $5 per person.
Students from other countries pay $25 per person.
Fee for a guided hike to a tropical waterfall

Another intriguing activity that draws the attention of visitors is a tropical waterfall guided hike. The charges levied on travelers are listed below. The waterfall hike begins in Gisakura and lasts about 3-5 hours. The travelers are captivated as they view the magnificent falls.

Non-resident foreigners pay $50 per person.
Foreign residents: $40 per person
Rwandans pay Rwf 5000 per person.
East African Community (E.A.C.) citizens pay $10 per person.
Community of East Africa (E.A.C) Foreign residents pay $40 per person.
Rwandan students must pay Rwf 2000 per person.
Students from the East Africa Community (E.A.C.) pay $5 per person.
Foreign Nationals Each student pays $20.
Fee for guided hike along the Congo-Nile divide

Non-resident foreigners pay $100 per person.
Foreign-residents pay $70 per person.
Rwandans pay Rwf 10,000 per person.
East African Community (E.A.C.) citizens pay $20 per person.
Foreign resident pay in the East African Community (E.A.C.) is $70 per person.
Rwandan students must pay Rwf 5000 per person.
Students from the East Africa Community (E.A.C.) pay $10 per person.
Students from other countries pay $35 per person.
Fees for camping

Other visitors decide to camp in the forest to connect with nature and enjoy the freshness of the tropical rain forest.

$30/night with your tent
Without a tent: $40/night
Fee for commercial filming

The adventurous travelers who decided to come to the forest and sell the African tropics to the world are offered the opportunity to do their filming coverage at a cost, and the park entrance fees charged on them are listed below.

Fee for commercial filming chimps: $1000/group/per day
Fee for commercial filming: $600 per group/per day for other park products.
Important note:

Children under the age of 16 are not permitted to track primates.
Children under the age of seven do not pay.
Graduate students are not considered students and must pay standard fees.

Animals in Nyungwe Forest National Park

The Nyungwe forest is home to 75 different species of mammals, the majority of which are small and/or nocturnal, making sightings difficult. Chimpanzees are the main draw in Nyungwe Forest, with chimp trekking taking place daily in the early morning. The forest is home to troops of 300 or more colobus monkeys that roam the trees, providing visitors with yet another exciting activity.

The 13 primate species found in the Nyungwe forest

Chimpanzees, Silver monkeys, Golden monkeys, Owl-faced monkeys, and Hamlyn’s monkeys
Mangabey with grey cheeks,
Red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, Dent’s

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Nyungwe forest Canopy walk

Birds in Nyungwe Forest National Park

The Nyungwe forest is home to approximately 300 bird species, including 16 endemics, 27 Albertine rift endemics, and 121 forest species. The bird species include the Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turacos, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Tit, the amazing Red-collared Babbler, Archer’s Robin Chat, White-bellied Robin Chat, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Handsome Francolin Mountain Masked Chestnut-throated Apalis, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Short-tailed Warbler, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, and other species

Nyungwe National Park Hiking Trails

Nyungwe forest is ideal for hikers due to its steep terrain and extensive network of hiking trails.
The trails differ in length, ease of hiking, and features; therefore, it is recommended that you ask the ranger guides for advice on which trail to take based on the attractions you are looking for.
The trails wind through a varied landscape and provide the most scenic way to explore the forest.
The trails listed below are some of the options for hiking in the forest.

  • The Congo – Nile Divide trail is a 227 km trek for experienced hikers that takes several days to complete.
    However, a one-day hike of a portion of the section is an option.
    The varied landscapes and communities along the route are the main draws of this trail.
    There are campsites where you can stay, but you must bring your own camping equipment.
    There are shops along the trail where you can purchase basic supplies

 

  • The Igishigishigi trail is 2 kilometers long and offers spectacular views of the Nyungwe forest canopy, beautiful wild flowers, occasional monkeys, and a variety of birds.
    This trail takes between one and two hours to complete, depending on one’s interests.
    All participants must be at least six years old, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

 

  • Karamba trail, located on the former gold mine site, market, and army camp, is a good birding spot in Nyungwe.
  • Umugote trail in Nyungwe forest is ideal for primate viewing and bird watching, with views of ridges, flowers, and butterflies.On a clear day, you can see Kibira National Park in Burundi.


  • Umoyove trail

also known as Mahogany trail, leads you to the waterfall for a relaxing stroll among the park’s tallest trees.

  • The Uwinka trail is a difficult hike but a beautiful spot for bird watching.

 

  • Irebero trail, This trail offers views of Lake Kivu as well as two of the highest peaks in Nyungwe National Park.
  • The Imbaraga trail is 10 kilometers long and designed for experienced hikers.
    Hikers will be able to see waterfalls, which will be a welcome sight after a long hike.

  • The Bigugu Trail offers views of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lake Kivu, and the Islands.
    It takes you to the highest point in Nyungwe Forest Park.
  • The Isumo Trail will take you through the beautiful tea fields; you can even get involved in picking tea and follow the process until it reaches your cup.
    You will also be able to see the largest waterfall in Nyungwe National Park.
  • The Kamiranzovu Trail brings you close to the majority of the waterfalls, wetlands, and swamps.