Akagera National ParkJuly 6, 2021
KigaliJuly 6, 2021
Nyungwe National Park may not be as well-known as its sister park, Volcanoes, but if there is one place that will encourage you to extend your stay in Rwanda then this is it.
In fact, as a trio of parks with Akagera, it makes the perfect Rwanda safari experience! Nyungwe is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests and is also one of the oldest on the entire continent. Nyungwe is a remarkably rich centre of biodiversity and protects one of the largest areas of mountain rainforest anywhere in East or Central Africa at nearly 1000 square kilometres. To add to this the park is also the most important catchment area in Rwanda, providing water to 70% of the country, and its central ridges form the watershed between the mighty Nile and Congo drainage systems, within this Mount Bigugu, claimed to be the most remote source of the Nile.
The main attraction in the park is Chimpanzee trekking. Nyungwe is home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal. Nyungwe is also home to one of East Africa's last intact populations and boasts two wild chimp communities. Thus, with around 500 Chimpanzees it's not surprising that chimpanzee tracking is a popular activity in Nyungwe, especially when the park's trees are in full bloom during the summer, as well-trained guides lead visitors through the park's forests. Trekking the chimps is quite an experience through this majestic forest, and although very different and not as intimate as the Gorilla trekking, it is a must! We would recommend reading more about the differences between Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking here.
This stunning rainforest is filled with other nature and wildlife experiences too. Hiking the Congo-Nile divide for the most adventurous or even biking the beautiful terrain, and experiencing the canopy walk are all on offer here. Hanging 60 meters above the forest floor between giant trees and towers, this is East Africa's only Canopy Walkway and is an exhilarating way to experience the forest! We highly recommend Nyungwe House, refurbished in 2018, a truly amazing accommodation.
Nyungwe National Park FAQs
There aren't too many options available at Nyungwe. We do, however, love sending our guests to the One&Only Nyungwe House. Nyunger House was renovated in 2018 which now allows you to take in the best of what this area has to offer. From the fascinating wildlife and culture to the diverse and beautiful landscapes. Not to mention it is located on a working tea plantation.
The weather and seasons are similar to that of Volcanoes National Park. The Dry Season is from June to August and the rain starts to fall more often in September with daytime temperatures averaging 21°C/70°F, and around of 10°C/50°F at night. We highly recommend visiting during this period if at all possible.
The Wet Season is from October through to May each year, with the wetest months being November and again in March and April. Many activities include some hiking so this makes the trails very slippery. Temperatures are very similar to the drier months.
Nyungwe forest is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda near the border with Burundi, just south of Lake Kivu. Nyungwe now also falls under the management of African Parks.
Nyungwe National Park has so much to offer. Some of our top choices in terms of activities include:
- Chimpanzee trekking (Nyungwe is home to 25% of Africa's total primate species and has the second largest chimp population);
- Colobus Monkey trekking (and you will also catch a glimpse of Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Owl Faced Monkeys, Blue-Monkeys and Mona Monkeys);
- The world-famous canopy walk which is a 2-hour stroll on a 200 metre walk way suspended 50 metres above the forest cover, one of the most exhilarating activities to do and
- The Nyungwe Forest bird walk and hiking through the forest where you can spot just over 300 bird species and enjoy any one of 13 different trails varying from 1 to 8 hours.
As we've mentioned in the question above there are just so many animals to see in Nyungwe. These include Chimpanzees, Colobus Monkeys, Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Owl Faced Monkeys, Blue-Monkeys and Mona Monkeys. There are also around 310 different bird species, not to mention the multitude of plant, tree and butterfly species. It is really a feast for the eye.
It is a weird combination of adrenalin and absolute awe all rolled into one. Imagine being suspended 50 metres above the forest canopy. The view from the top gives you an experience like no other with panoramic views that a hike on the forest floor just can't match. We highly recommend this activity.
NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARKLODGES
Set on the edge of Rwanda, One & Only Nyungwe House is located in an untouched natural rainforest environment. Nyungwe Forest National Park is a haven for 13 species of primate including Colobus monkeys and chimpanzees and home to the working tea plantation of Gisakura. This incredibly exciting property lies within the lush green expanse of the tea plantation and is easily accessible from Rwanda’s international airport offering excellent links to and from major African and European cities ... Read more