Nyungwe forest national park is located in South western Rwanda, close to the Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the Burundi border in the south. It is located near Cyangugu town, about 225km and a 4-5 hour drive from Kigali. You can either drive to the park from Kigali, or fly there. You can’t walk there though, that would take an extraordinary amount of drive and time.
Travelling by road
With 225km to cover from Kigali to the Nyungwe forest, you will need a good functional car to make good time. You can either go by bus or hire a car.
By bus; you can take a bus headed to Ruzizi from Nyabugogo bus park in Kigali, get off at Uwinka Center. Travelling by bus takes a little bit longer, and the bus ride might even be 8 hours long. There are buses that drive through he park, and you could hope on those, but they are usually quite full.
By car; Hiring a car is much more comfortable, convenient and will take a much shorter time. You will avoid the hustle of travelling the difficult stretches such as stretch between Uwinka Center and Gisakura.
Travelling to Nyungwe Forest national park shouldn’t be difficult if it is well planned. An easy way to do that is to hire experts from Ikaze Rwanda tours to make the arrangements on your behalf.
Where to Stay on a Safari to Nyungwe Forest National Park
So you have decided to go on safari to Rwanda, and on your agenda is a visit to Nyungwe forest for either chimpanzee trekking or take a canopy walk. If you are wondering about where to stay for the night, then worry no more, we have recommended the best safari lodges for your safari accommodation in Nyugwe Forest national park and these include;
A. Nyungwe Forest Lodge: This lodge was set up in 2010 and has fast become a favorite with tourists in the area. It is situated in a tea plantation close to the Nyungwe forest. This lodge was the first ever 5-star accommodation establishment in the region. It has some of the best facilities in Rwanda and very good service. Nyungwe forest lodge has luxury facilities such as a gym and a swimming pool and overlooks the forest canopy so you are guaranteed some good views of the scenery in the area.
B. Nyungwe Top View Hotel: Nyungwe Top view hotel might not be a five-star hotel but it offers pretty good accommodation close to the park. This hotel which opened in 2011, is only a five minutes drive Nyungwe forest national park and a 4-5 hour drive from Kigali and has some very amazing views of Nyungwe forest. Nyungwe top view hotel offers activities mainly centered around the park. So look forward to tracking chimpanzees, seeing he Ruwenzori Colobus monkey, birdwatching, forest walk, and going on the Nyungwe canopy walk.
C. Gisakura Guest House: Gisakura is comfortable accommodation for people working within smaller budgets. This guest house is found about 2 km from the park. It is located close to the Gisakura tea estate along the road to Rusizi. Gisakura offers opportunities to visit chimpanzees, the canopy walkway, bird watching, and hikes along different trails. For meals the guest house offers breakfast, lunch dinner, and carry away snacks can be arranged if you are planning to spend the day out in the national park. Food and drinks are included in Full board.
D. One and Only Nyungwe House: This is a typical example of luxury and splendor safari camp located 3km from Nyungwe Forest National Park entrance. The safari camp boasts of luxurious private wooden chalets furnished with the decor with a simple African touch. Everything about this lodge is unique in a way so captivating. It has the best setting every traveler on tour of Rwanda craves for.
Nyungwe Forest Monkey Trekking
Nyungwe forest national park is the only destination in Africa blessed with over 300 Colobus monkeys and the unique rarely seen L’Hoest’s monkeys (primarily on the main round near Uwinka). Other monkeys you will perhaps interface with on a safari in Nyungwe are the owl-faced monkeys that can be found in the Albertine Rift endemic region, south of Nyungwe forests.
There are also unconfirmed sightings of the golden monkeys that have also been reported. Apart from chimpanzee trekking, you can also trek the grey-cheeked Mangabeys and Ruwenzori colobus Monkeys in Nyungwe Forest. Just like the chimpanzee trekking adventure, trackers of the colobus and other monkey primates in Nyungwe are advised to book their safari days before and carry along the basic hiking gear to enjoy the day with the monkeys in the Forest. Book a safari to Nyugwe Forest today by considering a 7 Days Platinum Rwanda Expedition to explore the forest and other parts of Rwanda.
Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe Forest National Park is gifted with over 300 species of the birdlife with 27 of them which are endemic found in the forests of the Albertine Rift. An example is the Grauer’s Warbler which can be found within the mountain swamps within Nyungwe Forest. Birders can also find both the Rwenzori Turaco and the large blue Turaco. The sunbirds of many types like the purple breasted and the blue-headed sunbird and can be found in flowering trees.
Although actually spotting birds in the park’s forests may be challenging, the bird songs you’ll hear during the trek will surely make it more enjoyable. If you would like to learn about birds you might see and hear, book a tour package with us to have an experience with the birds. The guides are so knowledgeable about birdlife in Nyungwe they can identify birds by ear, such as the Rwenzori turaco and Grey-chested Kakamega.
Cultural Experiences & Tours
The tour to Nyungwe Forest National Park offers travelers on tour into Rwanda an opportunity to interact with, explore the traditional systems and discover the lifestyle of the indigenous Rwandan people. Many travelers on tour of Rwanda break the journey at Butare 90km away towards Kigali City to visit and explore the ethnological museum where the history of Rwanda is safely preserved. In the neighborhood is the ancient Rwanda traditional King’s Palace at Nyanza.
Many travelers on safari to Rwanda visit both places to explore and discover truer impressions of the Rwandan cultural systems. There are options for arranging specific visits to select indigenous community homesteads to interact with and share life experiences with indigenous Rwandans. On such cultural tours, travelers experience, learn and participate in music, dance, storytelling, herbal medicine, local beer brewing, hunting skills, and other traditional skills.
Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe Forest
With over 13 primates species in Nyungwe Forest, there are roughly about 400 chimpanzee species which ranks Nyungwe among the top wild destinations for chimpanzee tracking. This activity can be done at Cyamdungo or Uwinka tracking centers. It is with no doubt that chimpanzee tracking is a popular activity in Nyungwe forest national park.
Chimpanzee trekking also starts in the morning and its best to carry a day pack where you have a couple of liters of water, have long trousers, the long sleeved shirt, rain jacket, the hiking boots, and the hat. And while actually viewing chimpanzees is not guaranteed, you’ll enjoy learning about these creatures and their natural habitats from your guides. If you’re interested in obtaining a permit for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest, kindly get in touch with our tour experts on email@example.com or simply Call our live support team on +250 781 850 001
Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk
Another adventurous activity an enthusiastic visitor to Nyungwe National Park can experience is the perspective Canopy Walkway that hangs at a distance of about 70 meters from the ground tucked between thick giant trees and towers. The one and only Canopy Walkway in East Africa provides a stunning view of the park’s amazing scenery of the hillsides of Rwanda and unprecedented wildlife and beautiful nature of Rwanda.
The Canopy Walkway is accessible as part of a specialized guided tour along the Igishigishigi trail or if you’re not part of a tour, hiking the Imbaraga or Umuyove trails and costs only $60 per person. The canopy requires that all participants register with the authority and children involved must be at least six years of age and be accompanied by adults. You should bring a raincoat as rain frequently falls in Nyungwe. And finally, you will reward yourself after the 10km hike with a visit to Nyungwe’s Ishuno waterfalls that are beautiful. It may also be small in size, but this calm waterfall strikes its way and the breeze to which one is also welcomed will feel one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Hiking Trails & Forest Hikes in Nyungwe
Nyungwe forest national park is a popular Rwanda tour destination for hiking trails and forest hikes. With the guidance of expert tour guides, hikers are led into the forest onto a clear network of the trail system to wander into and explore the Nyungwe forest wilderness. Several trails that can be taken on a hiking tour include the Kamiranzovu trail where wildlife species produce amazing sounds and sceneries, the Congo-Nile trail drive, close to 230km long to explore and discover unique wilderness experiences in Rwanda.
Also, a hike to Mt Bigugu 2,925m offers hikers on tour of Rwanda exciting combination of body exercise, thrilling experiences, adventure, and fun all rolled in one. The hiking trails take from 4 hours to 3 days. There are also 130kilometers of hiking trails that are found in Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda. In case you are in this park, you can easily spend a week here as you hike through the ancient afro-montane forest.
About the Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park is the largest montane forest in Central and East Africa covering over 1000 square kilometers tucked away in the middle of Rwanda’s tea plantations and surrounded by beautiful and pristine tree plants. Nyungwe forest is believed to one of Africa’s oldest montane forests featured to be green all year round which truly justifies its biodiversity.
Nyungwe Forest national park has for long proved to be a favorite tourist destination thanks to its habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species plus a hooping 300+ bird species including 16 endemics and several other mammal species.
This imminent Nyungwe Forest national park is filled with nature and wildlife experiences for you to emerge yourself in. Hiking or even biking the beautiful terrain, tracking the famous chimpanzees, experiencing the canopy walk, witnessing beautiful birds, relaxing by waterfalls are just a glimpse of activities that Nyungwe offers. Exploring through the forest, travellers will witness the lush green mountains and cooling mist in a landscape that won’t be soon forgotten.