Nyungwe National Park
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On any Rwanda safari without a visit to Nyungwe national park, I would regard it as an injustice. Rwanda, one of the smallest nations in Africa with yet rich destinations, is a place that should have a top spot on your bucket list.
With three national parks diverse in wildlife, physical features and various tourist activities, Nyungwe national park among others like Volcanoes and Akagera national parkshas emerged to be a must visit of every Rwanda safari.
Located in the south west region of Rwanda, Nyungwe national park is endowed with heaven sent attractions, activities that cannot be found elsewhere in the world. This national park was established in 2004 and covers an area of 970 sq. kilometers of bogs, swamps, grassland, bamboo and rainforest. This national park is 218.2 km from Kigali that capital of Rwanda, which is 5 hours’ drive by road.
Nyungwe forest is the main centre of attraction with in the park, for it harbors, about 85 mammal species, 32amphibian 275 bird species, 13 primates (25% of Africa’s total), 1068 bird species and 38 reptiles.
Nyungwe forest is elevated 3000 meters above sea level making it an ideal place to harbor man’s closest cousins - the chimpanzees and the rare Angola Colobus.
For primate lovers I believe Nyungwe national park is the perfect haven for you.
Chimpanzee tracking is among the main activities a tourist can engage in. This activity a veils to you the interesting livelihoods of the robust primates of the chimpanzees. Witness them as they feed on the forest produce, play and swing from tree branches, wrestle and intimidate each other, mothers grooming and defending the little ones, this is truly an experience you would want to miss on your Rwanda primate safari.
Before encountering the chimpanzees in their natural habitat, one is required to acquire a chimpanzee permit.A chimpanzee permit costs 10 dollars for the East African residents, 60 dollars for foreign residents, 90 dollars for the non-residents and 500 Rwanda francs to the foreign citizens. This permit is valid for only one trek to a particular individual.
Primate tracking of the Angola Colobus, Golden monkeys, Ruwenzori Colobus, silver monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Hamlyn’s monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, Dents Mona monkeys, Vervet monkey, grey checked Mangabeys and olive baboon another experience like no other in the world.
The canopy walk over Nyungwe forest is an activity that will leave you breathetaken, as you view the beautiful Lake Kivu, the forest trees, amazing fauna and flora found in the forest. The canopy walk is a bridge suspension across the Nyungwe forest that was established in 2010 for a fascinating experience while in Nyungwe national park.
This walk has three trails with the shortest with 20 meters, 25 meters for the moderate and 90 meters walk serving the longest trail while at the walk. Hiking to the canopy walk begins at Uwinka and going through the igishigishi trail. This activity takes about 2 hours of exploring the beautiful gems of the park, it is divided into the morning shift from 8:00 am to 10:00 am and the evening shift that is from 1:00pm to 3:00am. This favors the tourists not to miss the glimpse while on the walk depending on their time schedule.
While on this walk, you can view bird species such as the Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Colobus, Red collared mountain bladder, red faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori nightjar, kivu ground thrush and Congo – bay owl among others.
Cultural encounters in Nyungwe national park have been liked by many while on safaris. Communities such as the kibati cultural village, Friends of Nyungwe troops, Cyamundo culture group and Banda community village can be visited to fully immerse and explore the Rwandan culture. These exhibit different crafts and traditions that fully explain the authenticity of the Rwandese in Rwanda.
For travellers who want to stay at the park for more than one night, there are a number of different accommodation facilities that carter for tourists’ needs depending on their interests.
Hotels, lodges, tented camps and guest houses are available from the budget, midrange to luxury. Among these include;
• Nyungwe nziza eco lodge
• Gisakura Guesthouse
• Nyungwe top view hill hotel
• One and only Nyungwe
• Nyungwe forest etc.
With all the above considered, Nyungwe national park is considered among the top tourist destination in the world, which should be visited on every safari.