Why is Nyungwe forest national park famous?
Why is Nyungwe forest national park famous? The reasons that make Nyungwe forest national park famous are those that make the park different from others in the world. Nyungwe forest national park is famous for the endangered chimpanzees, the canopy walk, the birds, and the rainforest.
Nyungwe forest national park is located in the southwestern part of the country on the borders of Burundi, and DR Congo, and it can be accessed by both rod transport of air transport in a single day. Nyungwe forest national park was gazetted in 2004 to promote tourism in the country and as of today the national park protects over 500 chimpanzee species, 310 birds, 1086 plant species, and 85 mammals.
Nyungwe forest national park is a sanctuary for 13 primate species among which include chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, crowned monkeys, silver monkeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, dent’s mona monkeys, L’hoest’s monkeys, grey-checked mangabeys, owl-faced monkeys, golden monkeys, olive baboons, and vervet monkeys.
Nyungwe forest national park is most notable for the 500 chimpanzees which are more than a half of those found in Rwanda. The chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest national park are found in Nyungwe forest and Cyamudongo forest. Only 2 chimpanzee families have been fully habituated in Nyungwe forest national park and these are the only families that people can encounter while in the park.
Chimpanzee trekking is the main activity done in Nyungwe forest national park and this has made the national park famous to the outside world. Chimpanzee trekking is done to enable tourists to spend some time with the apes that share about 98% human DNA. Trekking chimpanzees of Nyungwe forest national park would require one to have a trekking permit that is got from the Rwanda Development Board.
The chimpanzee trekking activity in Nyungwe forest national park starts early in the morning from the park offices where trekkers gather for a briefing about the dos and don’ts of the chimpanzee trekking activity. From here the trekkers are led by the ranger guides into the jungle to search for these apes but while searching, there are chances of meeting different park animals, birds, plants, and water sources.
On meeting the chimpanzees, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities like playing, hunting, nesting, learning about their habits, and taking photos. The trekking activity might take 2-6 hours in Nyungwe forest national park depending on the speed of trekkers, and the location of the chimpanzees.
Another reason why Nyungwe forest national park is famous is because the national park is the only place to do a canopy walk. The canopy walk in Nyungwe forest national park was introduced in 2010 to enable tourists have an aerial view of the park. The canopy walk is one of its kind raised 50 meters from the ground and 90 meters long. The canopy walk starts from Uwinka headquarters and to get to its starting point you have to use the Igishigishigi trail.
The canopy walk in Nyungwe forest national park is a guided activity and it’s done by people above the age of 16 years old. During the canopy walk, tourists are able to views most of the park attractions from the above such as primates, mammals, birds, water sources, plants, and surrounding areas.
Birding is another reason as to why Nyungwe forest national park is famous. The birding activity in Nyungwe forest national park takes place from different birding spots of the park with a help of a guide. There are over 310 bird species in Nyungwe forest national park and these have made Nyungwe forest national park be among the best birding spots in the country.
To be part of birding activities in Nyungwe forest national park, you need to have a birding permit to show that you have been allowed to encounter the birds of the park. With your birding book, a camera, and a pair of binoculars, you will follow the armed ranger guide to different trails of the park looking for the best birding spots.
Some of the 310 bird species so far recorded in Nyungwe forest national park include Albertine owlet, Archer’s robin-chat, strange weaver, Neumann’s warbler, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, strange weaver, red sunbird, stripe-breasted tit, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori turaco, Rockefeller’s sunbird, Rwenzori nightjar, Shelley’s crimsonwing, buff-throated Apalis, Rwenzori Apalis, blue-headed sunbird, mountain masked Apalis, dwarf honeyguide, handsome spurfowl, archer’s robin-chat, and red-throated alethe among others.
When to visit Nyungwe forest national park?
Nyungwe forest national park can be visited at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest and these are the drier months. The drier months of June to September and December to February are the best for a visit to Nyungwe forest national park because, during these months, there is little or no rainfall, the trekking trails will be dry, the vegetation will be thin giving unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Tourists can still visit Nyungwe forest national park in the rainy season and this is the best time for budget travelers because they get huge discounts on accommodation facilities. In the rainy season which occurs from March to May and October to November, there is plenty of rainfall and this lives the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the roads leading to the park impassable.
Accommodation in Nyungwe forest national park
Most of the accommodation facilities in Nyungwe forest national park are built outside the park premises and they do range from budget to mid-range to luxury options. The accommodation facilities in Nyungwe forest national park 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.