Situated in southwestern Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is remarkably one of the most picturesque tourist sites you need not to miss to explore while on safari in Africa. It boasts of its diverse ecosystem with incredibly the dense tropical rainforest a few of which still exist in Africa. This park features about 13 primate species that include among others red tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, silver monkeys, Hamlyn’s monkeys, Angola colobus monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons and many more. Besides primates, this park also inhabits about 75 mammal species, 300 bird species as well as several butterflies. This conservancy area covers an area of about 1000square kilometers comprising of vast tropical rainforest which is also a major catchment area. It receives about 2000 mm of rainfall every year making it one of the main water catchment areas in Rwanda. It therefore feeds the Congo River and River Nile with water. Its flora comprises of about 200 tree species, 140 orchids with wide range of medicinal plants and others. At altitude of about 2950 meters, there is a sub alpine vegetation that features mainly the bamboo and shrubs, 2500 meters-features the podacarpus, hagenia while 2250 meters-there are tall trees together with ferns and at 1900 meters, there are mainly carapa, Newtonia and others.
What to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park
This forested protected area has a lot more in offer for visitors to take part while on Rwanda safari. They include;
Out of about primates that thrive within Nyungwe Forest National Park, chimpanzees are a few most fascinating creatures you need to catch a glimpse at. They range in groups of about 10 and more. For visitors on safari in Rwanda, chimpanzee tracking is one unique and thrilling primate adventure you need to add in your bucket list. To take part in this adventure in Rwanda, you need $90 for you secure your permit. Treks to view these special creatures are conducted in habituated groups. Interestingly, while you are on trek to view chimpanzees in this park, higher chances are that you will also come across other primates, birds, plant species and many more.
In the whole of East Africa, it is only in Nyungwe Forest National Park that offers this unique experience. It is first of its kind in this region and third in Africa. There is a walkway suspended above 50 meters above the ground that takes you through the forest where you will be rewarded by incredible views of primates, birds, plants and many others.
With 13 distinct primate species that thrive in this park, visitors on Rwanda safari have opportunity to catch a glimpse at varied monkeys. They include the grey cheeked mangabeys, Ruwenzori colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, red tailed colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, owl faced monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys a mention but a few.
For rewarding hiking experience, Nyungwe Forest National Park should be a must to explore while you are on Rwanda safari. About 13 hiking trails do exist in this park with more than 130 kilometers of the trails via the forest. They take hikers through different habitats in this park. While on hiking safari in this park, you have a chance to encounter primates, butterflies, birds, trees a mention but a few.
For bird enthusiasts, Nyungwe Forest National Park is undoubtedly a birder’s paradise. With over 310 bird species that call this park their home, birders are rewarded with amazing sights at birds such as Grauer’s warblers, dusky crimson wing, Shelley’s crimson wing, black and white casqued horn bill, yellow eyed black flycatchers, Cryptospiza shelleyi, Ruwenzori Nightjar, archer’s robin chat, stripe breasted tit parus fasciiventer, Rwenzori Turaco, purple breasted, blue headed and others.
When to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park
If you are planning to visit this park while on Rwanda, it is important that you take note of dry and wet season. Each of these seasons comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. The dry spell kick starts from June to September and the December to February. This is ideal for those of you who are interested in chimpanzee adventures. However, the wet or rainy season is also ideal for you to spend a holiday in this park especially for birding. It starts from March to May and October to November.
Where to stay in Nyungwe Forest National Park
The available accommodation options for visitor overnight stay in Nyungwe Forest National Park include Nyungwe Forest Lodge-a lodging facility that is designed to match with its surrounding areas while also matching the standards of five star safari lodge; Gisakura guesthouse-this is set about 2 kilometers just outside Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Conclusively, Nyungwe national is one of Africa’s parks that is largely covered by dense tropical rainforest. Given its unique habitat, variety of primates thrive here and can be explored while you are on Rwanda safari.