Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is the largest montane rainforest that still stands to date in the whole of East Africa., extending up to 1015 square kilometers over the mountainous southwest of Rwanda, thereby forming a contiguous forest block with Kibira National Park of Burundi which is 70 square kilometers. Nyungwe Forest is an important water catchment area of Rwanda, supplying up to 70% to the country. Nyungwe Forest Park is bordered by Burundi to the south and Lake Kivu to the west.

Nyungwe Forest is a rich montane rainforest with a very rich biodiversity, with a record 1,050 plant species, 250 Albertine Rift Endemics and 200 orchids, along with at the very least 120 butterfly species. The vegetation cover of Nyungwe Forest Park is spread over the various vegetation zones in the different altitudes. Nyungwe Forest has about 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 85 mammals and 310 bird species of which about 15% of these are Albertine Rift Endemics. 

The 13 primate species found in Nyungwe Forest are a wonder to marvel at especially the chimpanzees whose population ranges from 500-1000 individuals. Chimpanzees can be encountered by a chimpanzee tracking experience in Nyungwe Forest. Other primate species tourists can see include L’Hoest’s monkey, Olive baboons, vervet monkeys, and Angola colobus, among so many others.

Nyungwe Forest is a true birder’s paradise with over 322 bird species, which tourists can head out to spot on a number of well-developed walking trails. 26 or more of the 284 bird species are Albertine Rift Endemics. The various bird species in Nyungwe Forest National Park that tourists can encounter include the Chapin’s flycatcher, Ruwenzori Turaco, Batis diops, handsome francolin, regal sunbird, among so many others.  While on a canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest, birding is possible, and tourists have a bird’s eye view of the montane forest.

Nyungwe Forest National Park Activities

With so much to offer to travelers who visit, there are a number of activities that tourists can do when in Nyungwe Forest. These include;

Chimpanzee Tracking 

Chimpanzee tracking in nyungwe National Park is the most done activity in the park, the one activity that has many of the travelers visiting the park. There are two habituated chimpanzee groups in Nyungwe Forest that tourists can encounter on a chimpanzee tracking safari, spending only one hour with the near humans.

Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk

A canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest has travelers getting a bird’s eye view of the forest, on a 200m long walkway suspended between higher slopes and giant trees about 1km from Uwinka. The walkway has a height of 40 meters, rewarding travelers with spectacular views of wildlife including chimpanzees, various monkey species, birds and so much more.

Monkey Tracking

With over 13 primate species, monkey tracking in nyungwe Forest is an activity that tourists should take part in to get to encounter these various monkey species including the owl faced monkey and grey cheeked mangabey. 


Nyungwe Forest has about 322 bird species roaming the park, including about 27 Albertine Rift Valley endemics. Some of the bird species travelers are sure to encounter include Rockefeller’s sunbird, Albert Owlet, and so many more. Keen birders can see over 100 bird species on a good day. 

Nature trails

Nyungwe Forest has about 15 nature trails well developed that travelers can take to explore the park extensively, in the guidance of a ranger guide. Whereas some nature or hiking trails are easy, others are rather strenuous and are very challenging that they require a level of certain fitness. Famous hiking trails in nyungwe Forest include Bigugu trail, Ngabwe trail, Karamba trail, among others, all of which give stunning views and travelers get to explore the hidden treasures of nyungwe Forest. 

When to visit Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Forest National Park can be visited all year long. The best time is however during the dry season when the roads are easily passable and also the vegetation cover is not so thick to hinder game viewing, especially during chimpanzee tracking and bird watching. Nyungwe Forest National Park is however a rainforest, meaning that rains can fall at any time of the day. Travelers should therefore be weary of this when visiting Nyungwe Forest National Park.

How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park can be accessed by both air and road. By road, Nyungwe Forest National Park is 217km away from Kigali, barely 3 hours away. A 4WD vehicle is however required, making a number of stops along the way as well as enjoy scenic views of among others the countryside and rolling hills of Rwanda. By air, flights are available for booking with RwandAir for a transfer from Kigali to Kamembe airport, which is only 1 hour from Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park Accommodation. 

There are a number of accommodation options in Nyungwe Forest, from super luxury to basic, thereby catering for all kinds of travelers. Some of the accommodation facilities that travelers can choose to stay in while on a Rwanda safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park include Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel, among others.

Nyungwe Forest is one of the best Rwanda national parks that tourists can explore while on a Rwanda safari tour. Nyungwe Forest Park can be visited solely on a 3 Days Nyungwe Forest Park safari or more days depending on one’s tastes and preferences. Combining Nyungwe Forest with any other Rwanda national park like Volcanoes National Park is a great idea for a complete  Rwanda primate safari, or with Akagera National Park for a bit of game viewing in savannah plains. Combining a Nyungwe Forest Park safari with Uganda for Uganda gorilla safaris, Uganda game viewing safaris, and so much more would have you enjoying your Africa safari in great measure. Get in touch with a reputable our operator to help you plan a wonderful Rwanda safari to visit Nyungwe Forest Park.

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