Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park is one thing that every traveller intending to undertake a Rwanda safari tour visiting the park, in particular, should know. Getting to Nyungwe is not so hard given the development of a good road network, availability of a variety of road transport means, as well as developed airports and airstrips that facilitate easy access to Nyungwe Forest National Park. 

Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the south western part of Rwanda, not far from Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and borders Burundi in the south. Nyungwe Forest National Park is located just near Cyangugu town only 225km away taking about 4-5 hours of road drive from Kigali. 

Getting to Nyungwe can be done by both road, air and water. All these have well-developed transport means that are safe, affordable and available all year long.

Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park by Road

Getting to Nyungwe by road is the most commonly used type of transport by most travellers visiting the park. Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park by road is the cheapest and most adventurous that travellers get to see more of the countryside during the ride, admire the rolling hills of Rwanda as they drive past them, and get to visit a number of attractions en-route say the Nyanza King’s Palace and the Gikongoro genocide memorial centre, giving travellers a snippet of the historical background of Rwanda and learn one or two things along the way. Travellers getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park by road, in the company of a tour guide for Rwanda safari tours organised by a tour company, make as numerous stops as the travellers may like, with the driver-guide driving slowly past worth to note features as well as stop at some photogenic areas. Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park is only 4-6 hours away from Kigali.

From Kigali, travellers drive south words passing by a number of towns including Huye, which is only 32 km from Kigali on a very smooth road with some sharp turns that require drivers to be extremely careful. For travellers on a self-drive to Nyungwe Forest National, noting these directions could be good;

  • From Kigali, drive south west to Muhanga, then south to Nyanza and proceed to Huye town.
  • From Huye town, proceed westwards to Nyamagabe which is near to the park’s entrance

Travelling by bus to the park is also possible, though of course, it wouldn’t get you in the park itself, though there are some that drive through the park. Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park by bus has travellers taking a bus from Nyabugogo bus terminal in Kigali to Rusizi and then get off at Uwinka centre in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Travelling by bus has travellers spending quite a long time on the road, up to 8 hours even. Planning accordingly is therefore important. It is advised that travellers get to the bus terminal very early in the morning and get on the very first bus out. Some of the public transport companies that operate Kigali to Rusizi include Ritco Express that goes through Kigali-Karongi-Rusizi, Alpha Express that goes through Kigali-Nyungwe-Rusizi as well as Omega Express that goes through Kigali-Nyungwe-Rusizi as well. These public transport companies charge a substantial amount, so travellers after experiencing Rwanda as a local can have this option.

Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park by Air

Getting to Nyungwe by air is the fastest way to get to the park, though quite costly. There are a number of airlines that offer chartered flights from Kigali to Kamembe national airport. RwandAir has a minimum of 9 flights a week from Kigali International Airport to Kamembe national airport. Kamembe national airport is only 32km from Nyungwe Forest Lodge which offers helicopter pickups. If staying in other lodges, you will have a short road drive from Kamembe national airport.

Flying with Akagera Aviation has travellers getting on a helicopter from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National Park. This helicopter ride is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery along the way, say the tea plantation field.

Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest National Park Chimpanzees

Getting to Nyungwe Forest National Park by Water

Getting to Nyungwe by water is one great and very thrilling way to get to the park. Here, travellers move from Rubavu or Karongi Kamembe to Nyungwe on a boat ride on Lake Kivu. This boat ride on Lake Kivu is a great way for travellers to explore the lake, enjoy the view of the island as well as interact with the locals that you may come in contact with. This can take anything from 6-8 hours.

Getting to Nyungwe is not so hard and neither should you make or believe it to be. Planning in advance would have you avoiding loads of mishaps. The best and easy way, however, is for you to have a tour company make for you all the necessary arrangements. Most tour companies offer transportation throughout the safari if you book a tour package with them. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to start planning your Nyungwe Forest National Park adventure.

book a gorilla trip