Activities in Nyungwe National Park
Activities in Nyungwe National Park are the interesting ventures in the park that travelers can engage in when they visit the park for a tour. Nyungwe National Park in south western Rwanda in one park you should never miss visiting when you’re in Rwanda. This park that is one of the three parks in Rwanda is about 4 to 5 hours from Rwanda’s capital Kigali and is the epitome of nature and beauty; just the sight of the prehistoric nyungwe rain forest is breath taking, the unique tree species in the forest, the grassland, the swamps, the sight of the skies not forgetting the several primates and wildlife in the park with many others scenic views.
The park sits on 1015 sq kilometers covered mostly by the Nyungwe rain forest and habitat to several species of primates, mammals, birds, butterflies, and reptiles. The park also has series mountainous steeps that wind up in the forest through to Lake Kivu; these steeps have become a walking and hiking trails that vistors to the park normally enjoy. The trails also lead to several waterfalls that are in the forest.
Though most Rwanda visitors, visit Volcanoes national park for gorilla trekking, visiting Nyungwe National Park gives you an experience like no other; you will be elated at your visit to the park because the experience in the park is to die for.
The park is located 4 to 5 hours from Rwanda’s capital Kigali south west of the country, bordering Lake Kivu and Burundi in the west and in the south respectively.
Below is a list of things you must not miss on your visit to the Nyungwe National park.
Chimpanzee trekking is one of the main activities done in Nyungwe National Park because Nyungwe rain forest is a habitat to 13 primate species including the rare and endangered chimpanzees. Travellers visit the park all year round to catch a glimpse of these unique primates, witness their playful nature and all their other characteristics. Chimpanzee trekking is Nyungwe National park starts in the morning at Uwinka reception centre or Gisakura or Katabi with a briefing on the guidelines of the trekking experience and then you are assigned a ranger who leads you into the forest to see the chimpanzees and after you get out of the forest. The chimpanzee trekking experience takes up to 4 or 5 hours and is at a fee of 90 USD per trekking permit. Other primates in the forest are L’ Hoests monkeys, black and white colubus, blue monkeys, and red tailed monkeys, etc these you can see on your chimpanzee trekking experience or on a separate trek.
Nyungwe National Park is one of the three places in Africa with canopy walkways and the only one in East Africa. The canopy walk is a walk you take on a 160 km long suspended bridge above the Nyungwe forest. The bridge that hangs about 70 meters above the forest gives you an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the forest from above, the East African region, Lake Kivu and several animals that you spot from the top.
The walk is guided tour by a park guide and it starts from the Uwinka reception centre. The walk costs 60 USD per walker per walk and takes 2 hours; it’s done by individuals 6 years and above.
Nyungwe national park is full of hiking trails that include:- Igishigishigi trail, Bigugu trail, Ngabwe trail, Isumo waterfall trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, Karamba birding trail, Irebero trail, Muzimu trail, Imbaraga trail, Umoyove trail, and Rukuzi trail.
All these trails wind up in the forest and other points in the park like waterfalls, swamps, caves, and many other points. Travellers are able to hike any of these trails to challenge their physical fitness as they appreciate the beauty of the forest and several points along the trails.
Hiking the forest trails can be done as a full day activity or over several days, depending on your interests; travellers should know that hiking nyungwe forest trails can be cumbersome and some trails are too steep they cannot be hiked by first-timers, so they should be physically fit.
Nature/ forest walks
This is one of the top activities in Nyungwe National Park. Nature/ forest walks are walks travellers take in the forest to learn more about the forest the unique tree species and vegetation as they take in the diversity of the forest and the beautiful nature. The walks also allow you to take in the calm of the forest; you will also spot several birds and butterflies. Nature/ forest walk can take up to 3 hours depending on the travelers’ preferences.
Birds in Nyungwe national park include Rockefeller’s sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori batis, white tailed flycatcher, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubou among others. Travellers have the opportunity to have guided birding tours in the ancient nyungwe forest to spot and appreciate the several birds in the park, learn more about them as they enjoy their noises.
Also outside the park, travellers can visit several tea plantations and communities to experience the unique cultures of the Rwandan people staying around Nyungwe National park.
All these activities in Nyungwe National Park make your visit to Nyungwe more than just worthwhile. Plan to visit Nyungwe National Park today.