What Makes Nyungwe Forest an Exceptional Tourism Destination
Are you tired of a tiring busy city life and yearning for a new experience, take another perspective into the untouched rainforest canopy, walking upon the wildlife and centuries old treetops. This forest covers an area of over 1000sq kilometers lieng in the southwestern corner of Rwanda. The rain forest was transformed into a national park in 2005 and is one of Rwanda’s must visit destinations. The natural state of the forest reward travelers with an inhaled good pure oxygen, as they are least air pollutants. Nyungwe national park is an amazing example of highland rainforest and home to numerous primates including Chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Blue Monkey, Golden Monkey and Colobus Monkey. The forest has many options for hiking and the prices vary depending This National Park is incredible, views of green mountains as far as the eye can see. The forest has it all form chimpanzee trekking, colubus monkeys, mountain monkeys and waterfall hiking among others. This rain forest is beautiful with so many plant and animal species that are only found there and its an amazing experience just being amongst the nature there.In most cases, a tour to Nyungwe forest national park is complemented with gorilla safaris in Volcanoes national park and game viewing in Akagera national park which together make a complete Rwanda safari package.
The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km away at the shore of the beautiful Lake Kivu roughly four hours drive south of Kigali city hence can be reached with public and private means. This rain forest is an acclaimed chimpanzee trekking destination, but it’s also home to East Africa’s only Canopy Walkway. You can also find over 300 different bird species, many butterflies, orchids, 75 mammal species including the 13 primates, and there have also been the sightings of the golden monkeys. The park has many gates, and different trekking start from different gates. The famous ‘Canopy Walk’ is from the entrance that is 30 minutes further ahead from the 1st gate, after the town. The nature walk + bird watching and tea plantations are from the 1st gate, which is hardly 3-4 minutes drive from ‘Nyungwe Top View Hotel.
The trail is lovely offering you with spectacular views of blue monkeys and a variety of bird species, which fly continuously above you. The total hike is about 3kms. The canopy part of the hike consists of 3 sections i.e a short section, the longest section, and a final short section. The canopy bridge sways a lot and roughly 60 meters above the forest. You leave at 5am and trek in the jungle not on the beaten path so it can be more difficult but as with out group the rangers will make sure its not too difficult for your ability.
Cost of visiting Nyungwe Forest
The prices to visit Nyungwe forest national park vary depending on if you are a citizen a resident or non-resident. The guided nature walk prices are reasonable at $40/non-resident, $30/resident, and you can go on various trails throughout the day. There are a lot of options, which include a 10km hike that takes you to four waterfalls, and there are other hikes that are only a few kilometers. For the chimp trek ($100 for non-residents, $60 for residents), it’s highly advised to book ahead of time. For the nature walks, a traveler can just show up the morning of (around 8:30 or 8:45, as the walks depart at 9am) and book on the spot. Most nature walks, as well as the canopy tour, depart from the Uwinka Office, which is about 40 minutes’ drive from Kitabi. If you’re interested in seeing monkeys (we saw many L’hoest monkeys on the side of the road while driving to the headquarters, and we saw a few blue monkeys while on our walk), or if you just like getting out in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and getting a little exercise, The trek was quite challenging as the chimps were on the move but we saw quite a few so was definitely worthwhile. We walked for about 3 hours, getting back by about 11.
Enjoy a guided nature walk, have fantastic views of a range of monkey species (including the Uwinka mega troop of Angola Colobus), taking in the stunning scenery, admiring the ferns, lichens, strange plants and beautiful views. The place is just exceptional. The diversity of the habitat and frequent steep slopes help you frequently see into the canopy of trees without looking up, or see the skies above. There are also numerous birds and over 75 types of mammals. The hiking is great with several options for long or short hikes. The cool suspension of walking on a bridge is great fun but not for the faint hearted.
Travel tips for travelers to Nyungwe forest NP
1. Travelers to Nyungwe forest national park are advised to arrive a day before. This give you enough time to book your permit and prepare for the next day
2. Also, foreign residents in Rwanda are reminded to bring a Rwanda ID card or otherwise they can be charged foreign visitors.
3. You are reminded that payment for chimpanzee trekking, canopy walk must be made in full. Interestingly, travelers who stay an extra day for birding, pay half price for birding or trekking.
4. The drive to Nyungwe is quite arduous hence highly recommended during the day. This gives you an additional advantage to enjoy the beautiful sceneries of Rwanda’s rolling hills .
5. Prepare to bring your drinks, water, food from Kigali or get it in Butare on the way to Nyungwe. The small cafe at Uwinka has coffee, water, soft drinks, potato chips but that’s about it.
6. This forest is roughly averaging 2000M altitude so temperature for camping is considered cool. Remember to carry warm jackets and long pants to deal with the cold weather.
In general, Nyungwe forest national park is an exceptional tourism destination in Rwanda. The rain forest offers it all to meet, satisfy and exceed all your travel expectations. Book a Rwanda safari to Nyungwe, have a close encounter with the chimpanzees, enjoy the canopy walk and enjoy nature to the fullest.