Nyungwe national park is a priority conservation area located in the southwestern part of Rwanda and bordered by Burundi to the west, Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West. The nearest town to Nyungwe is Cyangugu, 54km to the west of Mount Bigugu.
Nyungwe national park has indeed been in existence for so long, since 1903 when it was a colonial crown land and later pronounced a forest reserve by the Germany colonial government. However in the period of 1958-1973, the reserve was reduced due to woodcutting, fires and poaching of animals that were in existence, the forest area reduced to 150sqkms, however, the elephant population was still large, but as years passed, effort was put to rescue and conserve the area and studies conducted in the area revealed that a vast population of Colobus monkeys was living in groups of 400 members, something that made the tourist research facilities to be set up in Uwinka, though majority of them were destroyed during the genocide in 1994.
However in 1995, the responsible bodies commenced with the restoration mission, their effort was paid off in 2004 when the Nyungwe forest was officially declared as a national park and a protected area. Now, the park covers an area of roughly 970km2, inhabiting huge population of primates, grassland, rainforest and vast wetlands / bogs. Nyungwe forest is located in a region with a lot of biodiversity that provide a great span for microhabitats.
What to see and do in Nyungwe national park?
Nyungwe national park is home to over 13 primate species, 275 bird species, several mammal species, many amphibian species, and approximately 38 reptile species. The good news is that most of these animals are endemic to the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion in Africa.
Particularly, while in Nyungwe forest every traveler is assured of sighting colonies of chimpanzees and other primates such as L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys and Olive baboons.
Nyungwe Forest national park exposes visitors to different experiences that cannot be found elsewhere, when you arrive in the forest, you will be taken to the trail through the forest canopy walk which is the only one in East Africa, you also have the opportunity to engage in birding, primate trekking, landscape viewing, visiting communities, nature walks in Nyungwe forest and neighboring tea plantations, camping, and many more interesting activities.
Getting to Nyungwe National Park
The road to the park from Kigali is tarmacked and smooth, so upon reaching Nyungwe Forest National Park, the main entrance is at Uwinka on the main Cyangugu – Butare road, approximately 55km from Cyangugu and 90km from Butare city.
When to visit the park
Tourists can Visit Nyungwe national park all year round with the best time being dry season months (June-October and December – February). All one needs is prior and proper planning and to make sure a trekking permit is booked in advance, to enjoy the experience in Nyungwe forest.
Accommodation in Nyungwe National park
There are very comfortable and cozy accommodation facilities for all kinds of guests who make it to the park. These range from luxury lodges, midrange / standard facilities, guest houses and as well as camping sites for budget and group travelers.
Nyungwe national park is that destination everyone has to visit, all its experiences are well packaged to suit all guests with whatever interest; all that is required now is to take a step and add it to your African safari bucket-list.