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Activities in Nyungwe National Park- Things To Do in Nyungwe Forest

What to do in Nyungwe National Park/Activities in Nyungwe National Park

They are number activities to do in Nyungwe National Park. Top things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park on you Rwanda safaris include;

  1. Chimpanzee tracking
  2. Colobus Monkey Tracking
  3. Hiking and nature walks
  4. Bird watching
  5. Canopy Walk

All these activities in Nyungwe National Park are done after paying the park entry fee.

The park entrance fees for Nyunguwe vary according to the park activity you would like to engage in and the type of visitor you might be.

Visitor categories include foreign non-residents, foreign residents, Rwanda citizens, or East African community citizens.

Each visitor category has its National Park fees. Below are the details about all Nyungwe National Park activities and their fees.

  1. Chimpanzee Tracking In Nyungwe National Park

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is understandably heralded as one of the most exhilarating tourist activities in Rwanda but a Rwanda chimpanzee tour is definitely another unique and completely different safari experience.

Tracking our closest relative through the African jungle is, in fact, one of the most thrilling wildlife watching experiences in the world.

Nyungwe National Park has two habituated chimpanzee group, but most visitors track Cyamudongo chimpanzee group in an isolated ‘island’ of forest surrounded by tea estates, about an hour’s drive from the park office at Gisakura. This group consists of over 43 chimpanzees.

Visitors can also be taken to see a second habituated group; the Uwinka group which is the largest with around 60 individuals. This chimpanzee group is usually found within 12km of the Uwinka Reception Centre and very hard to trek.

What Is Chimpanzee Tracking Like In Nyungwe National Park

  • The adventure starts with a briefing at 5.00 am, during which you will learn a little about the great apes you are about to see, as well as being given some rules and regulations to follow while tracking.
  • Some of the rule includes avoiding getting too close to chimpanzees. Not only for your own safety, but also for theirs as our colds, viruses and diseases can easily spread to them due to shared DNA.
  • It is not good to imitate chimpanzee calls. It might see fun to mimic them, but if you are not careful you might accidentally end up recreating a battle cry and bring 100 angry chimpanzees down upon you.
  • Once briefed, visitors are divided into groups of up to 10, each assigned to different park ranger guides that will guide them as they go for chimpanzee trekking in the forest. And then it’s time to head into the forest.
  • Nyungwe Forest National Park terrain can be steep, slippery and muddy and passing through thick vegetation.
  • Suitable footwear is essential, as well as a certain level of fitness, although less tiring than Rwanda gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.
  • As you push through the thick vegetation you will hike in the direction of where the animals were last seen, all the time listening for their cries in the trees above.
  • With a bit of luck you will soon hear them: that harsh, high-pitched screeching that rises to a crescendo and then fades away again as the family members call to one another. It’s an eerie, thrilling sound, and one that you know means you’re about to meet the stars of the show.
  • As you follow the direction of the cacophony, you should soon find one of the family’s sub-groups. They may be high up in the treetops, feasting on figs, grooming or playing. But if you’re lucky, some will have come down to the ground, and that’s when the real magic happens.
  • The trek to see chimpanzees can last anything from 1 to 6 hours depending on where the chimps are. Visitors have to spend a maximum of 1 hour with chimps after encountering them.
  • The gorillas may be Rwanda’s star attraction, but coming face-to-face with a wild chimpanzee is every bit as breathlessly exhilarating.
  • You will be thrilled by how intelligent they are, with their poses, expressions and interactions that could be almost human.
  • The way they look right at you with their bright eyes, and even pose for your camera, you may wonder if they’re enjoying the interaction even more than you are.

Chimpanzee Tracking Rules In Nyungwe National Park

  • A group of not more than ten (10) people is permitted per chimpanzee group per day.
  • The minimum age for tracking is 15 years.
  • Visitors are allowed to spend only one hour with the chimpanzee community from the time they have met it.
  • Don’t go for chimpanzee trekking if you are sick, chimps can catch your diseases.
  • Do not leave any litter in the forest
  • Speak in a low voice when you are in the forest, you will see more.
  • Keep a distance of at least 8 meters (25 feet) from the chimpanzees at all times.
  • Do not try to mimic Chimpanzees’ vocalization (you do not know what you might be saying!)
  • Do not eat near the Chimpanzees.
  • Do not chase the Chimpanzees
  • Do not use flash photography

What To Pack For Chimpanzee Tracking In Nyungwe National Park

  • A Rwanda chimpanzee trekking permit
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • Enough drinks and snacks
  • Insect repellent
  • Warm sweater
  • Good hiking shoes/boots and long shocks
  • Garden gloves
  • A longs sleeved shirt and trouser
  • Sun glasses
  • Walking stick
  • Do not forget to move with a good camera and binoculars.
  • A water proof backpack for your camera, binoculars and other items
  • Porters are available at Cyamudongo (US$10).

Cost Of The Chimpanzee Tracking Permit

For any traveller interest in a chimpanzee safari in Rwanda, you must have a chimpanzee trekking permit which cost;

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$90
·         Foreign resident·         US$60
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX5000

·         US$10

·         US$ 60

Permits can be booked online, at an RDB office or via a tour operator.

When Is The Best Time To Track Chimpanzees In Nyungwe

A chimpanzee tour to Nyungwe National Park can be done at any time of the year. But in rainy season you have a good chance of successfully tracking the chimps on the coloured trails. During this time, the plenty of food in the forest limits the movement of the chimps.

During the dry season, chimps have a tendency to head for higher elevations hence making it more difficult to track them. The dry season is perfect for those who are interested in the canopy and nature walks.

  1. Colobus Monkey Tracking in Nyungwe National Park

Another interesting Rwanda safari activity in Nyungwe is tracking the Rwenzori colobus monkeys.

While they may not be as charismatic as chimps, colobi monkeys are extremely social primates that form enormous group sizes.

Large troops of these delightful acrobatic monkeys, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, use tree branches as trampolines to spring up to 15 meters through towering forest openings providing one the most spectacular sights to the visitor on wildlife safaris in Rwanda.

There are two semi-habituated troops in the park. Curious animals by nature, Rwenzori colobus in Nyungwe seem to almost revel in their playful interactions with human visitors.

Trekkers can find the colobus monkey troop in an hour or more. There is a smaller, and often more accessible troop, of around 50 individuals near the tea plantation of Gisura.

Reporting times at Visitor Information/registration for Colobus Monkey Treks with Guides is 7 am in the morning.

A maximum number of ten (10) people are permitted per colobus monkey Trekking group per day. The minimum age for colobus monkey tracking in Nyungwe Park is 12 years.

Monkey Tracking fees in Nyungwe National Park

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$60
·         Foreign resident·         US$40
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX5000

·         US$10

·         US$ 40

  1. Hiking and nature walks in Nyungwe Forest National park

Beside trekking primates, Nyungwe Park has a number of stunning hiking and walking trails that mostly begin at the Uwinka Reception Centre.

Visitors on a wildlife safari in Rwanda who are interested in nature walks and hikes in Nyungwe National Park must have a guide and one is included when you pay your trek fees.

Walks begin at set times; the first departures are around 9 am, with further departures around 11 am and 2 pm.

The different hiking trails in Nyungwe forest were established in the late 1980s in an attempt to open up Nyungwe to tourists.

Hiking these trails offers visitors an opportunity to a variety of birds, different primate’s species, and different types plants, plus several butterfly species.

Each trail is marked with a different colour and includes the short trails, intermediate trails, and long hiking trails used by different travellers on Rwanda hiking safaris.  Below are some of the hiking trails in Nyungwe National Park.

  • Buhoro hiking Trail (1.8 km; 1½ hours)

Buhoro means slow and this short trail is an easy walk. It is, in fact,  the shortest possible hiking route amongst all hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

It is 1.8km trail allowing hikers to about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the trail.

  • Igishigishigi Trail (2.1km; 1½ hours)

Igishigishigi means a tree fern. The trail was named Igishigishigi due to the spectacular giant tree ferns which are more common here than anywhere else in Nyungwe National Park.

It is also considered as a shorter hiking trail leading travellers to the canopy walk. It is among the bestselling nature walk trails as many travellers on Rwanda tours in Nyungwe National Park are interested in canopy walk.

Birding is good on Igishigishigi Trail are there are wildflowers year round, and hikers have a good chance of hearing and spotting numerous species of monkeys and other primates.

The Igishigishigi Trail can also be hiked with the longer Imbaraga or Umoyove Trails.

  • Umuyove Trail (5.5km; 3½ hours)

Umuyove means mahogany in Kinyarwanda. The trail is named Umuyove due many large mahogany trees which are seen on this trail.

Umuyove Trail also offers great views of birds, colourful flowers, and a waterfall.

It starts from Uwinka Visitors Center and most hikers prefer this trail because it’s a bit short and offers a special feeling of cool breath from the waterfall and around the falls is plenty of bird species including water birds.

Umuyove Trail offers access to other side trails used for chimpanzee viewing.

  • Imbaraga Trail (10km; 6 hours)

Imbaraga means strength, reflecting how difficult the trail is.

Starting from Uwinka Visitors Center, this 10km-long trail winds steeply up forested slopes and requires about six hours.

It starts from the northern side of Nyungwe National Park and it is used by travellers interested in canopy walks.

This trail is geared toward experienced hikers; the trail rewards hikers with the sight of four scenic waterfalls.

  • Irebero Trail ((3.6km; 3 hours)

Irebero means a viewpoint, and there are magnificent ones on this trail.

The trail allows visitors to get clear views of Lake Kivu, a clear view of the forest and the park at glace from each side of the ridge.

  • Rukuzi Trail (9km; 5 hours)

This 9-kilometre trail takes a 5 hours hike to complete a full circuit. It is highly rewarding enabling hikers to encounter chimpanzees which are the major attractions of the park alongside beautiful vegetation, a variety of other primates and birds.

  • Umugote Trail (3.6km; 3hours)

This 3.6-kilometre trail begins from Uwinka Visitors Center and takes 3 hours to complete.

The hike on this trail provides hikers on Rwanda safari tours superb views of numerous ridges, rainforests, and stunningly beautiful flowers and on a clear day, the Kibira National Park in Burundi.

The trail is also a prime location for primate viewing and bird watching in Nyungwe.

  • Karamba Trail (6km; 3 hours)

This 6km trail starts from Karamba Main Road and takes 3 hours to complete the circuit. It is relatively easy to hike and passes through the former gold mine site, market and an army camp.

This hiking trail is regarded as one of the best spots for birding in Nyungwe Forest National Park as it is flanked by numerous fern trees.

  • Bigugu Trail (13.2km; 6 hours)

This 13.2km trail starts from Nyabishwati takes about 6 hours to complete.

The park’s highest peak, this nature walk provides hikers with incredible flora and on clear day views of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Kamiranzovu Trail (6km; 3 hours)

This 6km trail starts Kamiranzovu and takes 3 hours to complete.

Water enthusiasts will love trail as it features the park’s largest wetland, an ancient swamp that gives birth to Nyungwe National Park’s brilliant waterfalls.

Sadly, the last elephant was shot here in 1999, though the swamps still offer a chance to spot other large mammals.

This trail is, however, particularly popular for its rare species of orchid and birds such the Grauer’s rush warblers.

  • Waterfall (Isumo) Trail (10.6km; 4 hours)

Although not as famous as nature walks, the Waterfall Trail is a stunner of a hike and one of the highlights of a Rwanda trip to Nyungwe National Park.

It is among the few hikes that begin Nyungwe Gisakura side and takes about 4 hours to complete depending on your level of fitness.

Isumo hiking trail winds up and down steep hillsides through ancient-looking rainforest where the trees are festooned in vines and mosses and the air is heavy and damp.

The highlight of a hike to this route is a remote waterfall, where you can take a shallow dip and refresh your body after the hot and humid walk. 10 years is the minimum age for Isumo Trail Guided Hike

What to pack for your hiking trip in Nyungwe National Park

  • Waterproof sturdy hiking boots
  • Long-Sleeved Shirts and long trousers.
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • A warm jacket
  • Hat
  • Gaiters
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Insect Repellent
  • Camera and binoculars

Nyungwe National Park hiking and nature walk fees

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$40
·         Foreign resident·         US$30
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX3000

·         US$5

·         US$ 30

Waterfall (Isumo) hiking trail fees

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$50
·         Foreign resident·         US$40
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX5000

·         US$10

·         US$ 40

  1. Bird watching in Nyungwe Forest National Park

With over 300 bird species, Nyungwe National Park is the heart and soul of birding in Rwanda.  It has something of a legendary status among twitches in East Africa and is by far the top destination for bird watching tours in Rwanda.

But, the dense cover of this forest park implies that getting a good view of birds can often is frustratingly hard, which means that only serious bird watchers are likely to get feathered into excitement by many of the park’s birds.

There are specialist birding guides based in Nyungwe who can easily identify them and by hearing their sounds.

Depending on what you want to see, the guide will choose a bird-watching trail that maximizes your chances of seeing a variety of Nyungwe National Park’s bird species.

Five is years is the minimum age for birding in Nyungwe National Park.

Birding trails in Nyungwe National Park

For those visitors on Rwanda birding safaris in Nyungwe, the dirt Rangiro Road which starts 1.5km east of Uwinka, and the Imbaraga, Umuyove and Kamiranzovu Trails are all highly recommended for bird watching.

The paved road through the park offers viewing at all levels of the forest. Visitors on this route expect to see mountain buzzards and cinnamon-chested bee-eaters perched along here and numerous sunbirds like regal sunbirds as well as wagtails and flocks of waxbills. Other commonly sighted birds include;

  • Handsome francolins,
  • Rwenzori turacos,
  • Great blue turacos,
  • Long-crested eagle,
  • Rwenzori Nightjar,
  • Rwenzori batis,
  • Several hornbills,
  • Red-collared mountain warbler, and
  • Kivu ground thrush,

The trail around Kamiranzovu offers a chance of seeing the Grauer’s rush warblers in one of the largest concentration in the world.

What to carry for bird watching in Nyungwe National Park

  • Binoculars and cameras
  • Field guide book like Bird of East Africa
  • Rain coat
  • Hiking shoes
  • Snakes
  • All-weather notebook and pencil

Nyungwe National Park birding fees

This activity also requires a traveller to book a birding permit before just like other activities.

The permit can be obtained through Rwanda development board on through a reputable tour operator. The permit fees for different categories of visitors include;

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$50
·         Foreign resident·         US$40
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX5000

·         US$10

·         US$ 40


  1. Canopy Walk in Nyungwe National Park

The construction of a 160m-long and at times 70m-high canopy walkway is a big draw for the traveller on adventure travel to Rwanda.

While on the metallic suspension bridge, you will enjoy the jungle anew from this unique monkey’s-eye perspective.

The dizzying platform is above a steep and deep valley across a massive forest. This exciting walkway with its 3 towers is the biggest in East Africa and the third in Africa.

Access to the canopy walkway, which is on the Igishigishigi Trail, involves a preliminary 20- to 30-minute hike from Uwinka.

Canopy tours in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park begin at set times (8 am, 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm), lasts about 2 hours and are visitors must be accompanied a guide.

Along the walk to the canopy, visitors see a variety of butterflies, orchids and colourful bird such as the Rwenzori turaco, handsome francolins, Rwenzori batis and others.

Thirteen species of primate live in Nyungwe, so a chance encounter some is not out of the question, although those wishing to seek them out should opt for a dedicated Rwanda primate tour.

As you plan your canopy walk in Nyungwe, it is a good idea to go with your;

  • Camera and binoculars
  • Good hiking boots or shoe
  • A rain jacket/poncho
  • Insect repellant
  • Long-sleeved shirt and trousers
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and cap

Five years is the minimum age for canopy walks in Nyungwe Forest.

Nyungwe National Park canopy walk fees

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$60
·         Foreign resident·         US$50
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX5000

·         US$10

·         US$ 50

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