Occupying an area of 970 square kilometres, Nyungwe Forest National Park is located 225 Km from Kigali, 90 Km from Butare and 54 Km from Cyangugu. It was gazetted as a national park in 2004. Nyungwe forest has a height above sea level range of between 1600 M-2950 M with temperatures changing between 0°C and 30°C; average day temperatures 15°C while rainfall is between 1800-2500 mm per year. The rainy period is September to May and the dry spell from June to August with some dry weeks in December and January.
The Main Attractions and Features at Nyungwe Forest National Parks:
- Over 100 species of orchids and giant lobelias.
- Largest montane rain forest remaining in Africa.
- Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
- Kamiranzovu marsh (13 Km)
- In the environs is Cyamudongo community forest inhabited by Chimpanzees.
- 260 species of trees and shrubs.
- More than 275 species of birds recorded like the Ruwenzori turaco, Ross’s turaco, Red-breasted sparrow hawk, Grey –cheeked horn bill, Red-throated alethe, Ruwenzori batis, White-headed wood-hoopoe, Kungwe apalis, Blue-headed and Regal sun birds.
The recorded species of primates which constitute 25% of all primates in Africa:-
- 1. Ruwenzori colobus
- 2. Chimpanzees
- 3. Olive baboon
- 4. Grey-cheeked manga-bey
- 5. Silver monkey
- 6. Den’t mona monkey
- 7. Vervet monkey
- 8. Red-tailed monkey
- 9. L’Hoest’s monkey
- 10. Owl-faced monkey
- 11. Three species of bush baby.
Animals like the leopard, golden cat, serval cat, side stripped jackal, Genet, African civet, slender and marsh mongoose represent the carnivores. There are also three species of duikers, two species of flying squirrels, tree hyrax, and Congo clawless otter. Also recorded are over 120 species of butterflies and reptiles as well as the three species of horned chameleons. Activities at Nyungwe Forest National Park A tourist is at liberty to take on activities within and in the surrounding areas of Nyungwe Forest National Park which include;
- Primate trekking like the chimpanzees and visitors should book chimpanzee tracking in advance.
- Bird walks.
- Expedition to Kamiranzovu Marsh.
- Excursions to Lake Kivu and Gisakura tea factory.
- Scaling Mt Bigugu (2925M).
- Taking photographs.
- On your way to Nyungwe, stop for a moment at:
- 1. Genocide memorial of Murambi.
- 2. Butare: visit the Museum, University, cathedral, arboretum and the curio worships.
- 3. Nyabisindu: to visit the Nyanza King’s Palace, the capital of ancient Rwanda Kingdom.
- 4. The Cathedral of Kabgayi and the adjacent small ethnographic museum. Kamageri’s Rock (Uratare rwa Kamageri) on the roadside after Ruhango towards Gikongoro.
Accommodation: 1. Nyungwe Forest Lodge is an eco-lodge located in the tea estate overlooking Nyungwe forest. The lodge has wifi internet, TV, health club and goes. One can also stay at Uwinka Rest House, Gisakura Guest House and ORTPN campsites. Visiting the primates can be done basing at Gisakura ORTPN headquarters and at Uwinka Tourist Centre. Park fee and other charges: Park Entrance $20. Paid on daily basis. Tracking Chimpanzee $50 Tracking Colobus Monkeys $30 Birding $30.