Frequently Asked Questions about Nyungwe National Park
Here is all you need to know about Nyungwe Forest National Park. Read our compiled Frequently asked questions about this park and get back to us if you need more clarification. Nyungwe National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa that lies on the south Western side of Rwanda bordering Lake Kivu occupying about 1020 sq km. It has outstanding biodiversity and spectacular scenery. This forested park lies between the River Congo basin to the west and Nile basin to the East
The park came under government (Rwanda Development Board) protection in conjunction with African Parks in 2004. This beautiful mountainous region comprises wildlife that encompasses a small population of chimpanzees as well as other 12 primate species which include the endemic specie to the Albertine rift known as L’Hoest’s monkey, Dent’s Mona monkeys, Angola colobus, silver monkeys, blue monkeys among others.
Most Popular Gorilla Safaris
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Trekking
- 5 Day Gorilla and Chimp
- 8 Day Gorilla Tracking
- 2 Day Bwindi Gorilla Via Kigali
- 3 Day Uganda Gorilla Via Kigali
- 5 Day Chimp and Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Gorilla Habituation
- 3 Day Fly in Safari to Murchison Falls National Park
- 3 Day Bwindi Double trek via Kigali
- 5 Day Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Botanists will mastermind the 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids. For birdwatchers, Over 322 bird species are enjoyed which include Red-collared Babbler Grauer’s Warbler, Kungwe Apalis, and 29 other Albertine rift endemic species. 120 species of butterflies also inhabit this destination.
Nyungwe national park lies at an altitude of about 3000 meters above sea level providing a home to over 75 known mammals such as the serval cat, mongoose, Congo clawless otter, and leopards among others as many tend to be shy so sightings are luck of the draw and more other 38 reptiles.
How To get to Nyungwe National Park
A road trip to Nyungwe National Park takes you about 5 hours from Kigali Airport. On the way, you have optional stopovers. Some include Nyinza palace in Nyabisindu home to the former king of Rwanda, Gikongoro Genocide Memorial, the National Museum, Arboretum, National Museum and so much more.
On request and advance booking, Rwanda Air offers charter flights from Kigali airport to Nyungwe National Park.
What Activities to Do in Nyungwe National Park
Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Chimpanzees are the primates that share 99% of their DNA with human beings, their behaviors are relatively similar to human beings, trekking is the major activity in Nyungwe National the habituated Chimpanzees are well used to human beings. A group of 8 people is allowed to do gorilla trekking in Nyungwe and the trek takes about 1-7 hours depending on the trekkers’ mobility but once chimpanzees are found, only 1 hour is spent interacting with chimpanzees, taking photographs and asking different questions to the experienced ranger guide.
The chimpanzee permits are sold at Rwanda Developments boards at a cost of USD90 per person per trek but can also be paid for online and present proof before Chimpanzee trekking.
Canopy Walk Over Nyungwe Forest
A suspension bridge is elevated over Nyungwe National Park for about 91 meters and about 50 meters above the forest canopy ranking the best destination in East Africa when it comes to canopy walk which enables tourists to have a clear view of Nyungwe forest. This special hike is only found in Nyungwe National Park in entire East Africa. From Uwinka the main headquarters of the forest the canopy walk is about 1-2 hours away taking the Igishigishigi trail.
The Canopy walk starts at 0900hrs each day giving you incredible forest views and tree-filled undulating valleys. Lots of birds can be spotted flying over the huge canopy. From the canopy, lots of people have shared special life-changing moments like proposals, birthday surprises, and much more.
Birding in Nyungwe National park
Birding in Nyungwe forest National Park is worth adding to a Rwanda birders’ itinerary. This tropical forest lies on the Albertine graben sharing a favorable environment to support a great birdlife with over 300 bird species inclusive of 27 which are endemic to rift and the rare Rwenzori turaco and the warbler birds, Shelley Crimson wing, Kungwe Apalis, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Malachite Sunbird, Dusky Turtle Dove to mention but a few.
Camping in Nyungwe National Park
Staying in the middle of nowhere and listening to the jungle calls on a camp is worth adding to your experience in Nyungwe National Park. The Uwinka Visitor Center has a camping ground where you can pitch your tents, go to sleep with wild lullabies, and wake up to bird calls from the jungle.
The site has a campfire point already set, a wooden platform where to pitch the tent, toilet facilities, and bathrooms.
Nature Trail Hike
Nyungwe National Park is endowed with relaxing natural scenery for hiking that you can enjoy on a 4-hour to 3 days trek. The forest has 130 km trails set up for hiking like the Igishigishigi trail, Congo Nile trail, and Imbaraga trail which is the most taxing.
You need to prepare your trekking gear to enjoy the unforgettable moments in the forest and keep memories to turn to over and over. A camera, hiking boots, energy bites, a pair of binoculars and so much more.
Nyungwe National Park is a biodiverse park harboring various monkey species including the Angolan Colobus monkeys which no longer exist in Angola, Dent’s Mona monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, Rwenzori colobus, red-tailed monkeys, golden monkeys, silver monkeys to mention but a few.
Water Falls Visit
The forest is a water catchment area with a number of rivers traversing it some creating dazzling waterfalls. The most outstanding is Kamiranzovu Waterfall and this name locally means “swallowing an Elephant”
The falls derived its name from the Kamiranzovu Swamp which feeds it. During nature hikes, the falls beautifully come into view at the end.
Which Accommodations To Book In Nyungwe National Park
Staying within and outside Nyungwe National Park allows you to enjoy its incredible views. A wide range of accommodation facilities are available based on your budget. They are graded according to Luxury accommodation facilities, Mid-range accommodation facilities, and Budget accommodation facilities.
Some accommodations in Nyungwe National Park include Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel, Gisaku Guest House, Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Nyungwe House, Gisaku Family Hostel, and others.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Nyungwe National Park?
Nyungwe National Park is open for tourist visits all year round although the drier months June to September are more vibrant. The chimpanzee feed closer to the ground since the ground is driers and trails are less covered by undergrowth.
Many birds breed more during dry seasons in this park providing more chances for keen birders to identify different species. The birds are also busy constructing nests to take them through the wet seasons so the park has bird fiesta all day long.
What To Pack for Nyungwe National Park Safari
Rwanda is a generally cold hilly country so most of its safari activities include hiking. You need to pack the right gear for a safari to Nyungwe National Park
- Hiking boots to use when moving on slopes with less difficulty as the soils are humid and slippery in wet areas.
- A pair of binoculars for a better view of far-ranging attractions like birds, monkeys, chimpanzees, and others.
- Insect repellants to protect your body from stinging insects that roam the forest all day long.
- Garden gloves to give you a tighter grip on creepers especially during the trek to locate the chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park
- Water bottle to add drinking water for rehydrating during tiresome hikes in the forest.
- Toiletries just in case your hotel or lodge doesn’t provide any
- Warm rainproof wear like a poncho because the forest gets cold, especially during the rainy seasons.
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers because the forest has biting insects that may affect your skin
- A light waterproof bag to keep your belongings together and safe from dripping water off the leaves.
- A camera to store memories of your experience in Nyungwe National Park. And a fully charged spare battery to exchange with when one runs low.
- Some cash to change into local currency if you want to carry out any transactions like buying souvenirs, hiring a porter, tipping and so much more.
What Are the Dos and Don’ts of Nyungwe National Park
No feeding the chimpanzees because they are wild animals that must look for their own meal.
Spitting on the vegetation is prohibited because this is food for primates in the forest
Dumping wraps or any other waste damages the natural setting of the forest so no dumping. Rwanda is also pro-ecotourism and very strict with throwing garbage any way to keep the environment as clean as possible.
In case you wish to ease yourself, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you about 30 meters deep and cover everything beyond recognition.
Do not smoke or eat while in front of the chimpanzees. They may be tempted to grab it yet they are wild animals that must search for their own meal.
Only one hour is allowed to be with the chimpanzees so that they can be left free to eat.
Try not to surround the chimpanzees because this makes them feel ambushed.
In case you wish to sneeze or cough do it away from the chimpanzees in order not to spread any infections to them. Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch any infectious illness like flu, or Covid-19 just before chimpanzee trekking.
What Is the Age Limit for Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
The age limit for chimpanzee trekking is 12 years in Nyungwe National Park. This is because of the nature of the trek to locate the chimpanzees. The topography has volcanic work that created ridges and soft volcanic soils that are slippery. Even the chimpanzees keep you moving when you locate them.
Children below 12 years may not adhere to the forest conditions and steepness of the way. They get tired so quickly.
For more information about frequently asked questions about Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda on what to do, how to get there, when to visit, and where to stay, please get in touch by email and or WhatsApp and we will advise you accordingly. Encounter Africa Safaris is highly recommended by trip advisor and if you intend to visit Rwanda and Nyungwe National Park, kindly Make Encounter Africa Safaris your preferred choice.