Little known outside of East Africa, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a treasure waiting for your discovery. One of Africa’s most stunning and oldest rain forests, not to mention its largest, this almost primeval carpet of lushness virtually explodes with its biodiversity.
Come here to experience over 1000 plant species, 13 different types of primates, 75 species of mammals, 275 species of birdlife, and a rainbow of 120 types of butterflies coloring the forest.
Famous for its rich eco-system, a big draw to the park is its population of chimpanzees and the chance to track them. You’ll find chimp communities here of up to 100 individuals living in highly cooperative groups. But chimpanzees are just the beginning of primates you’ll discover in the park. Spend some time tracking the troops of Colobus monkeys found here, set off by their long, white silky hair. The Colobus lives in troops of up to 300 individuals.
While moving over the park’s well-maintained trails you’ll likely see an assortment of its many other primate populations like the L’Hoest’s monkey, Owl faced monkey, Dent’s monkey, grey-cheeked mangabeys, vervet monkey, and olive baboon.
But the park also offers an enticing variety of wildlife – look for larger mammals peering through Nyungwe’s dense forest such as the serval cat, mongoose, otter, and leopard. Birdlife includes the Rwenzori Turaco, sunbirds, wagtails, African crowned eagles, hornbills, and the red-collard babbler.
Another big draw to the park is the chance to traverse high through the trees on the Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walkway. The 160 m (524 ft) long and 70 m (229 ft) high canopy is the first in all of East Africa and affords a bird’s eye (and perhaps monkey’s eye) view of the dense and colorful jungle below. You’ll be at tree-tops level with the high-flying wildlife and enjoy a perspective few get to experience.
One of the most wonderful aspects of Nyungwe is the collection of excellent walking trails. Few national parks offer so many choices to explore on foot – choose from six color-coded trails ranging from the 2km (1.2 mi) long Buhoro Trail to the 10 km (6.2mi) Imbaraga Trail, wending through forested slopes.
The Nyungwe rainforest is the best-preserved mountainous rainforest in Central Africa. The park was created in 2004 with an area of 970 sq. km (374 sq mi), consisting of rainforest, grassland, bamboo, and marshes.
Being near the equator, the park’s temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. But because of its elevation, the climate is on the cool side. Look for daytime highs of 20°c/68°f, with cooler temperatures at night of about 11°c/51°F.
Nyungwe Forest is in southwestern Rwanda, approximately 225 km (139 mi) from the capital of Kigali.
The best time to visit is during the dry season that runs from June to September and also from mid-December to mid-February. During the rainy season, the park’s excellent system of trails can become extremely slippery.
The park is open from 6 am to 4 pm.
By road – you can book a tour with Natural World Kenya Safaris from Kigali.
Though not as big as gorillas, but every bit as fascinating, no trip to Nyungwe is complete without a guided journey to find our playful genetic cousin, the chimpanzee. The journey can take several hours but the trek through this beautiful park is worth it. You’ll come across one of two habituated groups that will comprise from 40 to over 60 individuals. And then you’ll have a leisurely hour at the site to enjoy, learn and soak up this very special African safari experience.
Similar to the black and white colobus, the Angolan colobus monkeys inhabiting the park form giant troops of 500 individuals. Coming upon the scene of hundreds of monkeys swinging all about is an exciting and unforgettable moment. Usually, your guide will locate a group colobus within an hour of starting your trek.
One of the first such walkways in Africa, don’t miss this special aerial walk through the forest canopy as part of your safari experience. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view and a monkey’s perspective of the lush biosphere all about and especially below.
With over 300 species, the park is famous for its fabulous birdlife. Look for hornbills, mountain buzzards, turacos, eagles, and the purple-breasted sunbird.
The park features a well-maintained series of color-coded trails. All walks are with a guide and included in the trek fee. They originate at the Uwinka Reception Centre.
Not as busy as the other trails but surely worth your time, explore the very lush forest on your way to a beautiful and secluded waterfall.
Blessed with an incredible diversity of plant, bird, primate, and mammal species, Nyungwe is a verdant paradise, an important destination on any wildlife safari. Where else could you be serenaded with over 120 species of colorful butterflies? This park will amaze you with its biodiversity and breathtaking scenery.
Come to Rwanda and we will create a once-in-a-lifetime safari for you amid this tropical paradise. We have safaris departing from Kigali to this and other exciting parks.
Natural World Kenya safaris is Member No.FA/440 - Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) bonding scheme. The scheme is insured to guarantee your holiday safari in the unlikely event that a bonded KATO member ceases operating.