Incredible Things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park

The Nyungwe Forest National Park offers stunning views of the rainforest canopy, which are very enchanting. Meanwhile, the forest floor is adorned with towering ferns and beautiful orchids. Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts an intricate system of footpaths, providing excellent chances for birdwatching, butterfly seeing, and primate tracking. A significant number of the pathways pass through ravines adorned with ferns and streams that produce a soothing sound – the overall experience is characterized by a surprisingly unspoiled and untamed natural environment.


Nyungwe National Park tourist activities

Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park

1. Colobus monkey and other primate trekking

Nyungwe Forest offers a variety of primate treks, allowing guests to explore the diverse range of primate species inhabiting the forest, in addition to the well-known chimpanzee.

Although lease treks are less physically demanding than chimpanzee trekking, they are nonetheless highly worthwhile and deserving of one’s attention. Nyungwe Forest harbors around 25% of Africa’s primate populations, making it a remarkable habitat with the largest density of colobus monkeys on the continent.

During these guided walks, you will have the opportunity to explore any of Nyungwe’s thirteen distinct paths, where you will be introduced to various species such as Grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’heost monkeys, Owl-faced monkeys, blue monkeys, and Mona monkeys.

Typically, these monkey walks have a duration of two to four hours, which varies depending on the degree of success in locating fascinating creatures.

2. Nature, forest walks and waterfalls

One of the main activities/things to do in Nyungwe Forest is guided trail walks, which offer a delightful experience for the senses as you explore the forest’s beautiful trails. The forest features numerous color-coded routes that lead hikers through its scenic landscape. Along these trails, hikers can gain knowledge about the diverse array of tree, butterfly, and orchid species. Additionally, they can completely experience the tranquility of the forest. The duration of the nature walks typically spans approximately three hours and is led by knowledgeable local guides.

The nature and waterfall treks typically commence at the outskirts of the forest, where the pathways lead down into the amphitheater of the rainforest. Here, the soothing sounds of flowing rivers blend harmoniously with the calls of birds, frogs, and insects, producing a truly delightful soundtrack for the trip. The rainforest is adorned with a profusion of ferns, lichens, wildflowers, and orchids, creating a visually extravagant display of vibrant colors.

The most renowned waterfall in Nyungwe Forest is called Kinyarwanda. It has a height of approximately 20 meters and is encompassed by a multitude of breathtaking flora, caverns, and precipitous cliffs. On clear and sunny days, visitors are rewarded with the sight of rainbows formed by the spray and mist emanating from the powerful waters.

It is not unusual to observe a wide variety of primates and birds in the vicinity of the waterfalls, so be ready for an exceptionally delightful encounter with nature.

3. Forest Canopy Walks


This is RWANDA – Nyungwe Forest, Canopy Walk & Tea Plantation

One of the latest additions to the range of activities offered to visitors of Nyungwe Forest. The canopy walk is essentially a guided, one-hour trek along a 200-meter trail that is hung over 50 meters above the forest canopy. It is a thrilling experience. The summit offers a vantage point that provides a bird’s-eye view, showcasing breathtaking panoramic vistas of the verdant jungle. You will have many opportunities to observe abundant wildlife, including numerous vibrant butterflies, birds, and possibly primates that rarely descend to the lower regions of the forest, such as blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys.

Within certain portions of the canopy walk, the bridge over a profound ravine, completely obscuring any view of the ground beneath. This particular feature can be an exhilarating encounter for anyone who are not concerned about heights! Children under the age of 6 are prohibited from participating in the canopy walk for safety purposes.

4. Chimpanzee trekking


Trekking in Rwanda Part 1 | Chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park

While chimpanzees may not possess the same colossal stature as the furry black giant mountain gorillas, it is undeniable that people feel a strong connection with them. Chimpanzees, with approximately 94% DNA resemblance to humans, exhibit a wide array of human-like behaviors, including tool usage and engaging in conflicts with other chimpanzee groups.

Chimpanzees are extremely gregarious and one of the rare primates that establish intricate societies, with populations that can exceed 100 individuals. Throughout the day, chimpanzee societies disintegrate into smaller groups and engage in the activity of searching for food, a behavior that has been labeled as ‘fission-fusion’ by anthropologists.

When embarking on a chimpanzee trekking expedition, it is essential to be ready for a possibly extended trip lasting several hours, even before coming across the chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking can be physically demanding due to their ability to go longer distances compared to the more calm gorillas. It can be particularly challenging if the chimpanzees are in motion when encountered. Their agility in navigating the jungle, whether on the ground or in the tree branches, is truly impressive. Similar to gorilla trekking encounters, when locating the chimps, your group will be granted a duration of one hour to interact with them. Although it may appear to be a brief duration, this timeframe is sufficient and serves to promote the well-being of the chimpanzees. Reducing the likelihood of transmitting any contagious human diseases while also minimizing the negative influence on their innate behavior.

5. Birding excellence

Nyungwe is renowned among birdwatchers that visit East Africa. The country’s premier location for birding boasts an impressive array of over 300 species, including over 30 endemic species found in the Albertine Rift Valley, such as Rwenzori turacos. Additionally, the area is home to other notable forest species like African crowned eagles, different hornbill species, and the Congo Bay owl.

In Nyungwe, there are several expert birding guides available who specialize in leading birdwatching expeditions. It is necessary to make advance bookings for these guides. Depending on your specific birdwatching goals, the guide will select suitable trails that will increase your chances of spotting a greater number of new bird species, sometimes referred to as ‘lifers’.

Driving through a forest offers excellent chances to observe several species, including mountain buzzards, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, countless sunbirds, wagtails, and flocks of little yet stunning waxbills.

Nyungwe Forest is an exceptional and essential excursion for anyone with even a minor interest in birds. Even if you are not initially interested, being in the area will likely spark a newfound fascination as you observe and identify numerous vibrant species.

6. Cultural tours

To enhance your Nyungwe forest experience, consider including a visit to the local village to actively participate in and immerse yourself in the vibrant Rwandan culture. The populations residing around the periphery of this forest have peacefully coexisted with it and, to some degree, contributed to its conservation upon realizing its significance to Rwanda’s ecosystem. Efforts have been made to establish community-based initiatives aimed at preserving the culture of Rwanda and providing visitors with a culturally immersive experience. Upon arrival at the village, you will have the opportunity to participate in various activities, including a dance ceremony, the creation of banana beer, bow-and-target shooting, traditional medicine making, and maize-grinding.

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