Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda: Chimpanzee Watching

Learn & Explore Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda to enjoy Chimpanzee watching, accommodations , things to do & travel guide for Rwanda.Learn & Explore Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda to enjoy Chimpanzee watching, accommodations , things to do & travel guide for Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in Albertine Rifts south-east of Lake Kivu, Rwanda and was established in 2004. Its entire land size is roughly 1,019 km2. Today, Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of Rwanda’s must-see destinations. Nyungwe Forest National Park is notable for chimpanzee tracking, which is an iconic safari activity. Nyungwe Forest National Park protects two groups of habituated chimpanzees, the largest of group chimpanzee has approximately 60 members that are  fully habituated ,and the second group has approximately 30 chimpanzees that are tracked in Cyamudongo Forest located in another part of Nyungwe Forest National Park. Nyungwe Forest National Park is the largest Afro-montane forest in Africa, and canopy walk is one of the most famous interesting activities apart from chimpanzee tracking. Canopy walk involves strolling on top of the forest on a hanging bridge while admiring the forest  natural beauty.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

The location of Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in Rusizi district, southwest of  Rwanda, south of Lake Kivu, west of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi known as Kibira National Park. The headquarters of Nyungwe Park is located in Uwinka, which is 219 kilometers and 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Nyungwe forest has had a significant impact on climatic conditions.

Nyungwe is habitat to over 100 animal, bird, and other natural species. Nyungwe Forest National Park is a key conservation destination in Africa, protecting a large number of primates, making Rwanda a top safari destination.  Read more

Activities at Nyungwe forest national park

Things to Explore while at Nyungwe Forest National Park

Tourist  who visit  Nyungwe National Park may enjoy an unforgettable safari experience because of the park’s extensive array of activities. The park is provided with breathtaking vistas of mountains, water bodies, and verdant flora, making for excellent woodland hikes and wildlife activities. Visitors to Nyungwe Forest National Park can participate in any or all of the following activities

Chimpanzee trekking

The chimpanzees might not be exactly the same size as the furry black gargantuan gorillas that inhabit the mountains, but there is no doubting that humans have a fondness for chimps. Chimps have an estimated 94% DNA similarity and exhibit a wide range of human-like behaviours, from tool use to fighting war with competing individuals. Chimpanzees are extremely social and are one of the few apes  that are capable of forming complex communities of up to 100 members. Throughout the day, chimpanzee societies divide into fewer individuals in search of food, a habit known as ‘fission-fusion’ by anthropologists.

Before embarking on a chimp trekking excursion, you should be prepared to endure a potentially lengthy walk of many hours before encountering them. Chimpanzee tracking can be difficult because they can traverse a bigger daily range than the comparatively placid gorilla, particularly when they are on the move,  you  will discover them, and you’d be astonished how quickly they move through the forest, either on the ground or through the tree branches. Similar to gorilla trekking, once your group locates the chimps, you’ll get an hour to interact with them. It might seem to be a little period of time, yet it is adequate and beneficial to the chimps. Minimising the risk of transmitting contagious human diseases while also ensuring that their natural behaviour is not unduly influenced.

Bird watching

Nyungwe is a well-known bird watching destination in East Africa. It is perhaps the best spot in the country to see birds, with over 300 species, including over 30 Albertine Rift Valley endemics like Rwenzori turacos, as well as other massive forest wildlife including African crowned eagles, several hornbills, and the Congo Bay owl. There are several specialised birding guides stationed in Nyungwe who must be booked in advance for specialised birdwatching tours. Based on what you want to see, your guide will recommend appropriate routes to increase your chances of seeing as many ‘lifers’ as possible.

A simple drive through the Nyungwe forest woodland provides a wonderful opportunity to witness mountain buzzards, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, innumerable sunbirds, wagtails, and flocks of beautiful but tiny waxbills. Nyungwe Forest is a terrific, must-see destination for anyone who is even remotely interested in birds. Even if you are not, you will most certainly develop a sudden interest as you start crossing off variety after vibrant species.

Canopy Walks

A few of the most recent improvements to the Nyungwe Forest national park visiting experience. The canopy walk in Nyungwe forest national park is essentially an hour-long guided trek along a 200-meter-long pathway hung over 50 metres above the forest canopy, and it is an amazing experience. The views from the top offer an eagle’s viewpoint, with breathtaking wide-open views of the verdant jungle. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, including a plethora of colourful butterflies, birds, and possibly primates like blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys, which rarely venture to the lower levels within the jungle. At various points throughout the canopy walk, the bridge crosses a deep valley with no view of the ground that lies below, which can be an exciting experience for people who are not afraid of heights! For safety concerns, children under the age of six are not permitted to participate in the canopy walk.

Colobus Monkey

Aside from the notable chimpanzee, there are over a dozen additional primate species to find in Nyungwe Forest. Permit for  excursions are considerably less difficult than chimp trekking, however they remain well worth the effort. Nyungwe Forest national park  is a home to around 25% of all the primate species in Africa, which is astounding and also boasts the continent’s greatest population of colobus monkeys. Throughout these guided walks, you can discover any of Nyungwe’s 13 various paths while being introduced to the world of Grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’heost monkeys, Owl-faced monkeys, blue monkeys, and Mona monkeys, to name a few. These primate hikes often run between two and four hours, depending on the success rate of spotting fantastic species.

Nature, forest walks and waterfalls

One popular activity at Nyungwe Forest National Park is guided walks along some of the forest’s magnificent pathways, which are an explosion for all the senses. Additionally, there are various color-coded routes throughout the forest that take walkers through the lovely forest, allowing them to gain knowledge about hundreds of distinct tree, butterfly, and orchid species while also fully appreciating the park’s serenity. The nature walks last approximately three hours and are led by skilled local guides.

Nature and waterfall excursions typically begin on the forest’s outskirts, with routes descending into the rainforest’s amphitheatre, with river murmurs interspersed with bird, frog, and bug cries providing a truly lovely soundtrack to the walk. Ferns, lichens, and a profusion of wildflowers and orchids provide an extravagant visual feast that spreads vibrant hues throughout the jungle. Kinyarwanda is Nyungwe Forest’s most famous waterfall, standing just under 20 metres tall and surrounded by a plethora of magnificent vegetation, caves, and overhanging cliffs – and on bright sunny days, rainbows are generated by the spray and mist coming from the thunderous waves. It is not uncommon to encounter a variety of primates and birds around the waterfalls, so ready for a truly great nature experience.

Accommodation facilities in Nyungwe forest national park

Our expert selection of accommodations in Nyungwe National Park includes one-of-a-kind, spectacular accommodations that are ideal for you to stay in while you embark on the most incredible adventure experiences within Nyungwe National Park. These experiences include immersing yourself in the local culture of the communities and establishing a connection with nature through a scheduled or private safari trip.

If planning a Rwanda Safari to Nyungwe forest national park, many safari operators recommend adding on gorilla trekking in Volcanoes could be a great chance to enjoy the promotional discounts offered by Rwanda Development board .

In addition to a large number of primates, including a significant number of Chimpanzees, Colobus Monkeys, and other species that are endemic to the Albertine Rift, Nyungwe National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rwanda. It is located in the most remote parts of the country’s southern province and is renowned for being home to one of the oldest and largest tropical and montane Nyungwe forests in Africa.  Accommodation options in Nyungwe National Park are available in all types of properties, ranging from high-end luxury to mid-range and standard accommodation. Our expert team visits the properties and creates partnerships with them to ensure that the quality of service is of the highest possible degree.

How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe forest has seen a significant increase in visitors since the Rwandan government designated it a national park in 2004 to boost tourism. Visitors come to enjoy canopy walks, primate trekking, nature walks, walking safaris, and hiking, among other activities. Here’s how you can travel to Nyungwe Forest National Park. The travel from Kigali is simple—turn right at a little sign before Butare.

Uwinka on the Cyangugu–Butare road is the major entrance. It’s around 55 kilometres from Cyangugu and 90 kilometres from Butare. The road is paved the whole way, although potholes start from Butare and worsen as you continue west into the park. There are regular public buses along the route, and hitching is an option, but we recommend renting a car from a tour operator that will help you conveniently and safely. Buses are often full when they arrive, so purchase your ticket in advance if you insist on taking public transportation. From Cyangugu, ignore the 20km sign in town and the 15km sign leading you up to a dirt track. This is a minor park offshoot. You can take the Cyangugu bus all the way to the Gitarama visitor centre.

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