Nyungwe Forest National Park – Chimpanzee Tracking Safaris

The Nyungwe Forest is located in southwestern Rwanda, on the border with Burundi, where it is contiguous with the Kibira National Park to the south, and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The Nyungwe rainforest is probably the best preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa. It is located in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the basin of the river Nile to the east. From the east side of the Nyungwe forest comes also one of the branches of the Nile sources.

Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km2 of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km to the west. Mount Bigugu is located within the park borders.

The Nyungwe forest has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The forest is situated in a region in which several large-scale biogeographical zones meet and the variety of terrestrial biomes provides a great span of microhabitats for many different species of plants and animals.

The park contains 13 primate species, 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests Eco region in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed.

The forest, which reaches its maximum altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees and Angola colobus, the latter now extinct in Angola for the intense hunt to which they were subjected.

Local people around Nyungwe make Handicrafts and beverages purchased by tourists create local income and the Rwanda Development Board gives a portion of park revenue to surrounding communities, who help protect the forest.

Tourists pay to watch dancers and purchase handicrafts. Tourists buy food, water, and soda.

Nyungwe is a Source of Income People depends on Nyungwe to make a living it provides jobs for guides and trackers, and opportunities for the local economy, like the selling of handicrafts.

Natural Resources Rope, bamboo, and other traditionally used forest plants are still important to people for weaving, medicines, building and more. They must be harvested sustainably to protect the forest’s integrity.

Canopy walk

In October 2010, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) launched canopy walk tourism in Nyungwe National Park as part of a strategy to diversify tourism attractions. Canopy tourism is also aimed at encouraging tourists to spend a longer time in Rwanda. The Canopy Walk is the only attraction of its kind in East Africa. This is the first ever hanging platform that allows tourists to view different animal species in Nyungwe Forest. The dizzying platform is above a steep and deep valley stretching across the massive forest.

The platform is 50 meters above ground level and 90 meters long. It allows tourists to view butterflies, birds and blue monkeys that dwell in the upper levels of the forest.  There are also a couple of multi day trails such as the Nile-Congo divide trail .