Just in the southwestern part of Rwanda, lies Nyungwe Forest National Park, a Park occupied by the largest part of the remaining tract of montane rain forest in East Africa. It occupies a total area of 1015 square kilometers.
The Park’s central ridge divides the two largest drainage systems in Africa (Nile & Congo River).
With its source of the World’s longest river in the slopes of Mount Bigugu, Nyungwe is an important area in Rwanda that supplies water to 70% of the country.
Nyungwe is appreciated by travelers for many reasons; one of them is its rich biodiversity that consists of over 120 butterfly species, more than 1050 plant species including 250 Albertine Rift Endemics and 200 orchids.
Other than flora, Nyungwe is home to vertebrate fauna embodying 38 reptiles, 85 mammals, 310 species of birds (15% are Albertine Rift Endemics) and 32 amphibians.
On top of that, this Park is a legendary when it comes to primate safaris in Rwanda. Over 13 species of primates inhabit the lush habitats in Nyungwe including the Chimpanzees.
Nyungwe’s population of chimps is estimated to about 1000 individuals. Other common primate species are L’Hoest’s monkeys, Ruwenzori colobus, Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, Silver monkey, Angola Colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
Activities in the Park
Nyungwe is inhabited by 13 species of Primates including the Chimpanzees. This Park is only place to go for these human-closely related species. Part of the chimpanzees that are habituated are the ones feasible for the tracking excursions.
Tracking sessions are done in groups, it’s advised to keep your voice at low tone and move slowly while in the Jungle.
These primates are very sensitive; therefore if you scare them, you are most likely to miss beholding them in the Jungles.
Expeditions start in the morning after briefing at the Park headquarters, it is advised for any tourist to come with water for drinking in the Jungles, put on long sleeved shirts and strong hiking shoes.
Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk
What a breathtaking experience had from heights above sea level, Canopy walk is another highlight for Safaris to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
This walkway suspended amid higher slopes and giant trees is about 200 meters long and 40 meters high.
Before the walk, you ascend and descend the valleys and hills in the Jungles up to the starting point. From this point you are briefed about the walk and after it starts.
This adventure is some scary but rewarding with sweeping views of tree tops, rolling hills and towering volcanoes in DR Congo. For birders, you will spot a lot of species while on this walk. It is not good for the faint-hearted.
For birders, Nyungwe Forest National park is a birding hotspot not to miss. It is recorded with over 310 bird species, 27 of which are Albertine Rift Endemic.
Rare species that are not found anywhere else appear on the eastern side Albertine rift. You can sight plenty of species while on canopy walk.
Some of the species to wonder at are red-faced woodland warbler, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked apalis, francolins, Ruwenzori Turaco and sunbirds.
While in the Jungle you are not only limited to Chimpanzees but you have the chances to track or sight other primate species.
These Primates in the habitats of Nyungwe Forest National Park include Mona monkeys, Owl faced monkey, cheeked Mangabeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, grey cheeked Mangabeys, Silver and blue monkeys together with Ruwenzori colobus.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is perfect for guided hiking expeditions. It stars multiple hiking trails that wind through the dense Jungles and rolling hills in the Jungles.