Officially opened in 2004, Nyungwe Forest National Park covers approximately 970 square kilometers of land that are covered with a rainforest, swamps, bamboo as well as grassland. It is the best place in Rwanda to see a great number of birds plus a huge diversity of birds during your Safari in Rwanda. The big number of wildlife is thriving well in this park thanks the huge diversity of habitats available.
Nyungwe national park extends over a number of beautiful hills in the south eastern part of the country and it is the largest surviving patch of montane forest within Eastern and Central Africa – an ancient but greatly rich hub of unmatched bio-diversity with numerous natural wonders. On the good side for the tourism industry, the park is transected by a nice surfaced road connecting Lake Kivu with Butare.
What to do in Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe Canopy Walk
Enjoy a unique way of exploring Rwanda’s rich wildlife as you walk over the tree cover through the beautiful nyungwe forest. The canopy trails is around 40 meters above the ground and will offer you a chance to see the different birds and primates in this forest at a higher eleveation.
Bird Watching in Nyungwe National Park
Rwanda prides as one of the best destinations on the African continent where you can enjoy a rewarding Birding Safari. The country has a variety of species which can best be seen during your adventure in this park.
Nyungwe forest is located within the Albertine rift and it’s a verdant montane rainforest with over 309 bird species including the great blue turaco. There are twenty seven (27) Albertine rift endemics plus one hundred and twenty one (121) forest species. The Albertine rift is part of the montane rainforest circle on the African continent and it is dominated by a number of beautiful mountain chains that originate on the Lendu Plateau found in the northern part of Uganda as well as Congo, stretching southwards through the towering Rwenzori mountain and extending westwards to Rwanda and neighboring Burundi. There are a number of isolated massifs locates on Lake Tanganyika’s shores. This Albertine rift is among the most richly endemic regions on the African continent.
Another unique thing about Nyungwe National Park, is that its forest is East Africa’s largest protected (high altitude) rainforest. Specifically it was very crucial to safe-guard this forest reserve considering that there is a lot of pressure to encroach on it as a result of increasing human population, yet this is the largest water reservoir in Rwanda.
Cape Wagtail, Great Blue Turaco, Mountain Wagtail, Ruwenzori Turaco, African Saw-wing, Cinnamon-breasted Bee-eater, Black-billed Turaco, White-headed Wood Hoopoes, White-necked Raven, Ross’s Turaco, Slender-billed Chestnut Wing Starling, Black & White Casqued Hornbill, Blue-Headed Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Olive Thrush, Crowned Eagle, Black-headed Waxbill, Forest Buzzard, Handsome Francolin, Stuhlmann’s Sunbird as well as Olive Pigeon.
Primate Watching in Nyungwe Park
Nyungwe is a highland forest that offers a diversity of habitats to a large number of primates with a total of 13 different primates recorded within this park. It is a primate paradise and a great place to enjoy a Primate Watching Safari. Among these are large troops of the colobus monkeys, olive baboons (papio Anubis), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), grey-cheeked mangabeys (Cercocebus albigena), Rwenzori colobus monkeys (colobus angolensis), vervet monkeys (C.aetiops), L’Hoest’s monkey (C.l’hoesti), Den’t mona monkey (C.mona denti), silver monkey (c.mitis doggetti), red-tailed monkey (C.ascanius), golden monkey (C.mitis kandti), three (3) species of the bush-babies and the owl-faced monkey (C.hamlyni).
Forest Hiking in Nyungwe
There are more than 130km of hiking trails within Nyungwe Forest Park, along which visitors will have an opportunity to explore the fascinating wildlife habitats. The walks range from a one hour hike to an eight hours walk. The Igishigishigi Trail is not only one of the most impressive but also among the shortest in the forest and includes exploring the highest canopy-walk in the whole of East Africa with breathtaking views across the verdant Nyungwe Forest. Then the Bigugu trail which is a 6 hour hike gives you an opportunity to explore the park’s highest mountain (at 2950 meters).
Flora of Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe forest has about twenty (200) different tree species plus over one hundred (100) orchid species. Thanks to the large network of hiking trails within the park, you will have an opportunity to enjoy an up-close encounter of the different flora within the park. Some of the trails will take you to the nice viewpoints and others to the beautiful waterfalls. There are hundreds of beautiful flowering plants such as begonia, giant Lobelias and over 100 orchid species.