Nyungwe Forest National Park occupies a total area of 1015 square kilometers. It is occupied by the largest part of the remaining tract of montane rain-forest in East Africa. The Park’s central ridge divides the two largest drainage systems in Africa (Nile & Congo River).
The park’s rich biodiversity consists of over 120 butterfly species, more than 1050 plant species including 250 Albertine Rift Endemics and 200 orchids.
Other than flora, Nyungwe is home to vertebrate fauna including 38 reptiles, 85 mammals, 310 species of birds and 32 amphibians. Over 13 species of primates inhabit the lush habitats in Nyungwe including the Chimpanzees. Other common primate species are L’Hoest’s monkeys, Ruwenzori colobus, Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, Silver monkey, Angola Colobus and red-tailed monkeys.
Nyungwe National Park is recorded with over 284 species of birds. Expect to see some species like Chapin’s flycatcher, Ruwenzori Turaco, Batis diops, Francolins, Rockefeller’s sun bird, Regal Sunbird, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Francolins Nobilis, Black and White Hornbill. The flora is one of its kind in East Africa. It consists of more than 200 plant species.
The vegetation zone differs according to altitude. At 2500m above sea level, the vegetation is Alpine. It is mainly dominated by bamboo trees and shrubs.
Activities in the Park
Nyungwe has 13 species of Primates including the Chimpanzees. Part of the chimpanzees that are habituated are the ones which are ready for the tracking excursions.
Tracking sessions are done in groups. It’s advised to keep your voice at low tone and move slowly while in the Jungle.
These primates are very sensitive; therefore if you scare them, you are most likely to miss beholding them in the Jungles.
Expeditions start in the morning after briefing at the Park headquarters, it is advised for any tourist to come with water for drinking in the Jungles, put on long sleeved shirts and strong hiking shoes.
Nyungwe is perfect for guided hiking expeditions. It has multiple hiking trails that wind through the Jungles and rolling hills.
What a breathtaking experience had from heights above sea level, Canopy walk is another highlight for Safaris to Nyungwe Forest National Park.
This walkway suspended amid higher slopes and giant trees is about 200 meters long and 40 meters high.
Before the walk, you ascend and descend the valleys and hills in the Jungles up to the starting point. From this point you are briefed about the walk and after it starts.
This adventure is some scary but rewarding with sweeping views of tree tops, rolling hills and towering volcanoes in DR Congo. For birders, you will spot a lot of species while on this walk. It is not good for the faint-hearted.
For birders, Nyungwe Forest National park is a birding hotspot you should visit. It is recorded with over 310 bird species, 27 of which are Albertine Rift Endemic.
Rare species that are not found anywhere else appear on the eastern side Albertine rift. You can see plenty of species while on canopy walk.
Some of the species to admire are red-faced woodland warbler, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked apalis, francolins, Ruwenzori Turaco and sunbirds.