The Beauty About Nyungwe Forest
Filled with stunning beauty, Nyungwe forest national park in southwestern part of Rwanda is a not miss 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 ever visited Nyungwe, the forest is one of Rwanda’s natural wonders with which the country has progressed into a leading tourism destination. Spreading over 1000 square kilometers squared, Nyungwe forest national park is largest tropical rain forest in the Eastern central Africa. 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 d 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 river Congo and river Nile.
The popular things you must see and do in Nyungwe forest national park include among others:-
Sheltering the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda roughly 400 individuals, Chimpanzee trekking is a 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 bring about the trekking dos and don’ts before embarking into the forest to meet the chimpanzees. Unlike mountain gorillas, chimpanzees are trekked at a relatively low cost of 60usd which make it a not miss 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 juts like human mothers, which make 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 gentle giants for an hour. Also, travelers are reminded to keep a distance of seven meters away from the chimpanzees to avoid the spread of human wildlife diseases such as cough ad flue since chimpanzees are closer relatives to human beings hence susceptible to human diseases.
Forest Walks & Hiking Trails
A forest walk /hiking trail is the best way to explore in full the beauty of Nyungwe forest national park. The national park has over 13 hiking trails, which are approximately 130 kilometers, which lead travelers into the interior of the forest. Each trail lead to a different point such as waterfalls caves and swamps and each trail offer 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. Some trails are long while others short hence providing a chance to all kinds of travelers to enjoy any f the hikes depending on one’s physical fitness and the ability to hike. Depending on which trail a travel follows, a forest walk in Nyungwe forest national park can as short as three hours to as long as 3 days. Hiking through the forest help travelers to enjoy a peaceful calm environment, while listening to the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the trees which melodies keep running in the minds of travelers.
Nyungwe Canopy Walk
The canopy walk is 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 hang 60 meters above the forest rewarding them with an aerial view of the national park, wildlife, adjacent communities, Virunga volcanoes and attractions in the neighboring countries. The two hours walk start and end at the national park headquarters at Uwinka information center the national park head quarters and it’s also the end point. 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 last for a lifetime.
Nyungwe Forest Bird Watching
Sheltering over 300 bird species, Nyugwe forest national park is a best birding spot in Rwanda. Out of the total bird population in Nyungwe forest, 121 are forest birds while 27 are endemic to the albertine rift valley. The most spotted 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 guides help in spotting these birds as well as explaining the unique characters of each spotted bird in the forest.
Community Tours in Nyungwe
Just like most African communities, the Rwandan people in the Nyungwe have very rich and interesting culture. Discover Rwandan food, be entertained by cultural performers in song and dance, learn more about the history of the area and the country, and enjoy 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.