Distance from Kigali to Nyungwe forest national park
What is the distance from Kigali to Nyungwe forest national park? The total distance from Kigali to Nyungwe forest national park is 218km to 220km and this entirely depends on the route you are going to use to get to the national park after reaching Murama. Nyungwe forest national park is an area full of rainforests and it’s situated in the southwestern part of Rwanda near Lake Kivu on the borders of Burundi and DR Congo.
Nyungwe forest national park is situated in Rusizi district which is in the southwestern part of the country on the borders of Burundi and DR Congo. The national park is located near Cyangugu town and driving to the park from Kigali is 4-5 hours.
Nyungwe forest national park is home to over 500 chimpanzee individuals, 12 primates, 310 birds, 1086 plant species, and 85 mammal species. Nyungwe forest is the largest afro- montane forest in East and Central Africa covering a total area of 970 sq. km.
Nyungwe forest national park protects more than 500 chimpanzee species in Nyungwe and Cyamudongo forest making it eth national park with the highest population of chimpanzees in the country. Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity within this park and it’s done at all times of the year but all people aged 15 years and above.
The chimpanzee trekking activity in Nyungwe forest national park starts with a briefing at the park office and from here grouping is done then the rangers lead them into the jungle to search for the endangered apes using different hiking trails. Trekking chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest national park takes 2-6 hours but when trekkers meet the chimps, they are given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos.
The other activity mostly done in Nyungwe forest national park is birding because the park has been named among the best birding spots in Rwanda. Nyungwe harbors more than 310 bird species and you can easily spot most of these with a help of a birding guide in different birding spots in the park. The birding activity requires you to put on long-sleeved clothes, have a camera, a birding book, and a pair of binoculars to spot distant birds.
Birds in Nyungwe forest include handsome spurfowl, regal sunbird, grauer’s swamp warbler, dusky crimsonwing, strange weaver, archer’s robin cat, Rwenzori batis, buff-throated apalis, Albertine owlet, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, blue-headed sunbird, purple-breasted sunbird, dwarf honeyguide, neumann’s warbler, red-throated alethe, Kivu ground thrush, red-faced woodland warbler, mountain masked apalis, red collared babbler, Rwenzori apalis, handsome francolin, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rwenzori turaco, strip-breasted tit, and shelley’s crimsonwing among others.
Nyungwe forest national park also protects over 12 primate species and among these include the black and white colobus monkeys are habituated and available for tourists to trek. Trekking the Angolan colobus monkeys is like trekking chimpanzees because it starts with a briefing and them going to the jungle to search for the monkeys. On meeting them, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
Apart from Angolan colobus monkeys and chimpanzees, other primates in Nyungwe forest national park include olive baboons, blue monkeys, grey-checked mangabeys, L’hoest monkeys, golden monkeys, owl-faced monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, crowned monkeys, vervet monkeys, dent’s mona monkeys, and Angolan colobus monkeys. All these monkeys can be spotted during the nature walks in the different trails of the park such as Karamba trail, Buhiro trial, Umuyove trail, Isumo trial, and Bigugu trial among others.
A canopy walk was open up in Nyungwe forest national park and this is used by all people above the age of 15 years with permits. To get to the canopy walk, tourist need to use the Igishigishigi trial and get to the starting point of the canopy. It’s a guided activities that gives tourists an opportunity to have an aerial of the park, the wildlife, birds, plants, water sources, surrounding areas like the rivers, lakes and mountains.
Getting to Nyungwe forest national park can be done using air transport or road transport.
By air transport: Tourists to Nyungwe forest national park can now get to Nyungwe in just a few minutes by using Akagera aviation from Kigali international airport to One & Only Nyungwe House Helipad or Kamembe airport. From here, your safari driver will transfer you to the park or the lodge. To use flights to Nyungwe forest national park, you will need to have to book the flight seat in advance with your tour operator.
By road transport: By road transport, your safari guide will pick you up from Kigali international airport or any place in Kigali, brief you about the 218km road distance from Kigali to Nyungwe forest national park in Rwanda. The journey from Kigali takes you southwestwards to Muhanga, then to Nyanza, then to Huye town, and then to Nyamagabe which is near the park entrance fee.
During the journey to Nyungwe forest national park, tourists can have stopovers along with the journey and visit places such as Nyanza King’s Palace where you get to see local arts and crafts as well as entertainment from the traditional dancers. You can also have another stopover at Gikongoro Genocide Memorial Center where you meet different graves of victims of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
Best time to visit Nyungwe forest national park
Nyungwe forest national park can be visited at any time of the year but many have said the park needs to be visited in the dry season. The dry season happens from June to September and December to February and is characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall. This leaves the trekking trails dry, the vegetation in the park short giving clear views of the wildlife, and the roads leading to the park passable.
Nyungwe can still be visited in the rainy season of March to May and October to November and this favors budget travelers because there are huge discounts on accommodation facilities. During the rainy season, there is plenty of rainfall and this makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation in the park tall with unclear views of the wildlife, and the roads leading to the park impassable.
Accommodation in Nyungwe forest national park
All the accommodation in Nyungwe forest national park is found outside the park premises. The accommodation does range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they include One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Top View Hotel, Gisakura Guest House, Gisakura Family Hostel, E.R.A Gisakura Visitor Guesthouse, Emeraude Kivu Resort, Peace Guesthouse, Hotel du Lac, Rusizi Progress Hotel, Golden Monkey Hotels, Comoran Lodge, and Delta Resort Hotel among others.