This magnificent national park consists of the largest block of montane forest in East and Central Africa. It is home to a marvelous diversity of unique fauna and flora. The forest has more than 200 different types of trees and a myriad of flowering plants, including the beautiful and treasured giant lobelia and a host of colorful orchids.
Nyungwe National Park is celebrated for its primates, there are a remarkable 13 primate species recorded resident in this lush rainforest. This includes man’s closest living relative, the chimpanzee, as well as the delightful L’Hoest’s monkey and numerous fun-loving troops of Black and White Colobus. But bird lovers don’t despair, because Nyungwe National Park is the most important ornithological site in Rwanda. 310 species of birds have found a home in Nyungwe National Park, and 25 of those are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
ACTIVITIES IN NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
1. Chimpanzee Trekking
The majority of the chimp population in Rwanda is confined to Nyungwe National Park. Trekking to see our closest relatives is an amazing experience. These groups of chimps are wide ranging and the Chimpanzees are constantly moving around and at high speeds, jumping from tree to tree while making lots of noise.
2. Black and White Colobus Trekking
There are large troops of black and white colobus monkeys residing in Nyungwe National Park. These primates often travel in groups of over 300 individuals – something that is only seen in this forest. Walking through a montane rainforest and being surrounded on all levels by these active and cheeky monkeys is not to be missed.
3. Forest Canopy Walkway
The Canopy Walk is located in the middle of the Igishigishi trail and is the highest walkway in East Africa which is, at its highest point, situated at 50 meters above the ground. This should enable trekking tourists to have an intimate view of the upper tree level and the forest’s inhabitants such as different primates, birds and orchids.
4. Forest Walks
Extensive networks if well-maintained walking trails lead you through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. There are a variety of trails:
- Colored Trails – There are seven trails through the forest each marked by a particular color. The trails range in length from the 1km Grey trail to the 10km Red trail. All the trails are well-maintained and offer the chance to see a diversity of primate and bird species.
- Waterfall Trail – this trail takes between 3-6 hours depending on how often you stop enroute. It is a very pleasant walk through the tree-fern covered ravines, across several bubbling streams until you reach a pretty waterfall. Monkeys are often seen along the way and the steep slopes allow for good views into the canopy, making this trail a favorite among birders as there is a good chance of spotting Albertine rift endemics, such as the Rwenzori Turaco.
- Kamiranzovu Trail – this trail is 4km and takes about 3 hours. This trail is different from the other forest walks because it takes you through the low lying marshy areas which are rich in orchids and localized swamp associated bird species.
- Bigugu Trail – this is the toughest trail and you need to be relatively fit as it leads you up the Bigugu peak. The Bigugu peak is 2,950m high and is the highest point in Nyungwe National Park, offering fantastic views of the landscape.