Nyungwe National Park

Travel Guide Africa Rwanda Nyungwe National Park

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Introduction

Nyungwe National Park is located in the southwest of Rwanda, just south of Lake Kivu and protects not only tropical rainforests but also swamps and grassland. The park is famous for its primates and about a quarter of all primates in the whole of Africa can be found here in this relatively small area, including the number one favorite, the chimpanzee. You can reach the park easiest from Cyangugu which is less than an hour away. If you want to get a feel for the forest, then a guided walk is the only way and doesn't come cheap. Depending on your budget, there are currently two places to stay. They are currently building an impressive looking visitor centre at the old campsite in the centre of the park. There are just a few options of staying inside the park.

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Sights and Activities

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 (25% of Africa's total), 275 bird species, 1,068 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 ecoregion 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 3,000 metres 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.

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Cost

There are no "park fees" as such but you must be accompanied by a guide on all of the walking trails. The costs vary depending on the length of the trail and what your immigration status in Rwanda is (Tourist, National, Resident or East African Community Resident). If you are a tourist expect to pay around US$40-60 per trail. Additional days within the same category of activity entitle to a 50% discount.

Camping fees are US$50 if you don't do any other activities, $35 if you do, but the camp site is well situated in the jungle, there are European toilets and a cold shower.

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Getting There and Around

The main entrance is at Uwinka on the main Cyangugu - Huye road. It's about 55 km from Cyangugu and 90km from Huye. The road is mostly in good condition. There are regular buses along the route and hitching is also an option. Buses are often full when the reach here so if you're getting a bus out it may be best to try and book your ticket in advance.

If travelling from Cyangugu ignore the sign in town that says it's 20 km and further ignore the sign 15km from Cyangugu directing you right up a dirt track. These refer to a small off shoot of the park, not the park proper.

Other than the main road through the forest there are no (public) roads or vehicle tracks in the park, everything is on foot (see do).

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Eat

There is a small kiosk selling basics, but if you are camping bring whatever food you will need.

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Drink

Water, soft drinks and Primus (beer) is available.

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Sleep

There are guest houses on either side of the park on the main road.

In Kitabi (on the Huye side) the guest house is situated in the school of wildlife management. Coming from Huye take the left turn marked 'tea factory' about 200 m before the park entrance. There is then a right turn about 500 m further on, this is the guest house. The reception is l'Hoests monkey house.

At the West side, Gisakura guesthouse is 4.5 km east to Gisakura village. On the bus from Huye or Cyangugu, ask the driver to stop at "Gisakura Guesthouse" or take a motorbike from Gisakura (1000 Rwandan francs).

At the upper end is the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, which is a luxurious eco-lodge surrounded by tea fields and at the edge of Nyungwe Forest.

There is camping at the Uwinka head quarters, it's a bit pricey (see fees and permits) but you do get a guy who lights your fire for you. This may sound a bit unnecessary but after a cold night (apparently it can get down to 0 °C here due to the altitude), waking up to a roaring fire is heaven!

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Nyungwe National Park Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 12:56 on Aug 23, 17 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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