The Beauty About Nyungwe Forest
Attractions in Nyungwe Forest National Park are quite a number. Filled with stunning beauty, Nyungwe forest national park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda it should not be amiss on your Rwanda safari offering memorable wildlife experiences. A visit to Nyungwe takes you through the great natural forest, comprised of ancient trees, swamps, blogs, and grasslands, which have all favored the inhabitation of various wild and birdlife. For those who have been to Nyungwe, the forest is one of Rwanda’s natural wonders with which the country has progressed into a leading tourism destination. Nyungwe forest national park is the largest tropical rain forest in East central Africa spreading over 1000 square kilometers squared. Though most travelers to Rwanda opt for Volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking as a first priority, a tour to Nyungwe forest national park is undeniably a life-changing experience. The national park is bordered by Burundi in the south while lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the west of the national park. The forested national park is a water catchment area in Rwanda receiving over 2000mm of rainfall annually and is also an origin for the river Congo and river Nile.
Some of the popular things you must see and do in Nyungwe forest national park include among others:-
Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most popular attractions in Nyungwe Forest. Sheltering the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda roughly 400 individuals, Chimpanzee trekking is the major activity done in Nyungwe forest national park. On the actual day of trekking, travelers transfer to any of the three starting points of Gisakura, Uwinka and katabi where they attend a simple briefing about the trekking before embarking into the forest to meet the chimpanzees. Unlike mountain gorillas, chimpanzees are trekked at a relatively low cost of 60usd which makes it a must get to destination on your Rwanda safari. On meeting the chimpanzees, you will witness the human-like characters of chimpanzees such as feeding habits and how adult females nurse the babies just like human mothers, which makes them the most interesting animals to spend time with.
All travelers must have valid trekking permit as a pass to see and interact with these chimpanzees for an hour. Also, travelers are reminded to keep a distance of like seven meters or more away from the chimpanzees to avoid the spread of human-wildlife diseases such as cough and flue since chimpanzees are closer relatives to human beings hence susceptible to human diseases.
Forest Walks & Hiking Trails
A forest walk /hiking trail is one of the activities and attractions in Nyungwe, it is the best way to explore the full beauty of Nyungwe forest national park. The national park has over 13 hiking trails, which are approximately 130 kilometers each, which lead travelers into the interior of the forest. Each trail leads to different endpoints such as waterfalls caves and swamps and each trail offers unique features. The hiking trails include Igishigishigi trail, Bigugu trail, Ngabwe trail, Isumo waterfall trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, Karamba birding trail, Source of the Nile trail, Irebero trail, Muzimu trail, Imbaraga trail, Congo Nile trail, Umoyove trail, and Rukuzi trail among others. The different trails provide chances to all kinds of travelers whether physically fit for not because some are short and others are long. Depending on which trail traveler follows, a forest walk in Nyungwe forest national park can be as short as three hours to as long as 3 days. Hiking through the forest help travelers to enjoy a peaceful calm environment, and view other species like beautiful forest flowers and butterflies.
Nyungwe Canopy Walk
The canopy walk is the greatest of all the attractions in Nyungwe. It exposes you to a 200 meters walk above the forest and is only done in Nyungwe forest national park in the whole of East Africa. Travelers walk on the built trail, which hangs 60 meters above the forest rewarding them with an aerial beautiful view of the national park, wildlife, adjacent communities, Virunga volcanoes and attractions in the neighboring countries. The two hours walk starts and ends at the national park headquarters at Uwinka information center the national park headquarters and it’s also the endpoint. All participants in the walk must be aged 6 years and above and each one must have a valid permit. Interestingly the canopy walk is done at 60usd, which is relatively cheap but rewarding you with a thrilling experience which lasts for a lifetime.
Nyungwe Forest Bird Watching
Bird watchers find Nyungwe forest very attractive. Sheltering over 300 bird species, Nyugwe forest national park is the best birding spot in Rwanda. The National Park has 121 forest birds while 27 are endemic to the albertine rift valley. The most popular birds in Nyungwe forest national park include Rockefellers sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Great blue Turaco, red collared mountain babbler, Rera grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, white tailed flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, barred long tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori nigh jar, Rwenzori hill babler, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubu, and the Neumann’s warbler among others. Experienced bird guides help in spotting these birds as well as explaining the unique characters of each spotted bird in the forest.
Community Tours in Nyungwe
The people of Rwanda have a very rich and interesting culture. Discover Rwandan food, be entertained by cultural performers in song and dance, as they dance the intore cultural dance of the warriors. Learn more about the history of the area and the 1994 genocide country, and enjoy the interaction with the locals. There are centers such as Kitabi cultural village, and entertainment groups such as the friends of Nyungwe and the Cyamundongo cultural troupe, that bring the culture of the Rwandese people to life in different ways.
The Banda cultural village is another community based initiative in Nyungwe forest, situated in the heart of the forest just 15 km from the Uwinka visitor’ center and easily accessed through the downhill hike at the end of the famous canopy walk.