Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest national park


Nyungwe Forest National Park is the largest remaining tract of montane rainforest in East Africa; Nyungwe extends for 1,015km2over the mountainous southwest of Rwanda, forming a contiguous forest block with Burundi’s 370km2 Kibira Narktional Park. The park is the most important catchment area in Rwanda that provides 70 percent of the country with water, and its central ridge separates the two largest drainage systems in Africa, the Nile and the Congo, a spring on the slopes of Mount Bigugu 2,950 m is now considered the most remote source of the longest river in the world.

Nyungwe forest National park  is a surprisingly rich biodiversity hub. More than 1,050 species of plants, 250 species of Albertine Rift Endemics, 200 species of orchids and at least 120 species of butterflies. The vertebrate fauna comprises 32 amphibians, 38 reptiles, 85 mammals and 310 species of birds, of which about 15% are native to the Albertine Rift.

Nyungwe primates are the main attraction, with 13 species present, including the L’Hoest’s monkey and acrobatic Ruwenzori colobus, Chimpanzees, Black faced monkey and many others. 


Location of Nyungwe Forest National Park 

Nyungwe Forest National Park  is located in the South Western part of Rwanda close to the Burundi border. The park is 217 kilometers away from the Rwanda capital Kigali which is easily accessed by road through good tamac road.  To arrive on time, you’ll need a decent 4-4 car. A vehicle is fun and necessary. Along the way, there are a few scenic observations. You could stop at the National Museum to see locally made arts and crafts and cultural entertainment when time allows you to make a few visits. There is also the satellite town of Murambi, Nyamagabe (formerly named Gikongoro), which was the site of one of the unforgettable fears of the 1994 genocide.

By air

You can book a flight with Rwanda Air, offer a private flight with the airline, and Kigali-Kamembe is one of its favorite routes. From Kigali to Kamembe International Airport, the airline is busy all week. Kamembe is 49km 1 hour drive to the forest lodge in Nyungwe.


Activities done in Nyungwe Forest National Park 


Chimpanzee tracking


Nyungwe is home to 13 species of primates, and the park is the only chimpanzee trekking destination in Rwanda. Tracking the chimpanzee begins in the morning and it’s best to bring a day pack with a few liters of water, long pants, long gloves, a rain jacket, hiking boots and a hat.


Chimpanzees are used to the park, meaning they are used to humans. Although more hit-and-miss than gorilla tracking in Virungas, chimp tracking here is partially because these smaller and less sedentary apes are usually found either feeding high in the trees or moving around the ground quickly.

An approximate 94 percent of their DNA is shared by Chimps with humans and many of their actions may remind you of a similar relative. The chance to get up close and personal with these apes in their natural habitat is one of the highlights of every trip to Rwanda. The habituation process is still going on, and there might be moments when you can’t glimpse them through your eyes, but from the hoots and hollers they make, you will know they are there.


Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk


Suspended between higher slopes and giant trees about 1 km from Uwinka, the metal walkway is almost 200 m long, with a maximum height of about 40 m, and offers a stunning view of the birds and a steep stream bed lined with tall trees and ferns. To anyone with a weak head for heights, it can feel very unstable.


This walk is also an experience in Rwanda which should not be skipped. Its the longest and the oldest canopy walk in East Africa. It takes you through some lovely foliage and species of animals. You’ve got a chance to spot the blue monkeys and rare birds that live in the forest’s upper levels.


Waterfall Hike

This route starts from Gisakura Guesthouse and takes between 3 and 6 hours to complete as a round trip, depending on how often you stop, in addition to driving or walking from the guesthouse. Basically, the first section of the trail follows the path to the vehicle park and then settles into the forest. Here, before a sharp descent to the base of the pretty yet tiny waterfall, you must cross separate streams. Along the way, monkeys are often identified and the steep slopes provide excellent views of the canopy.




There are 310 bird species in the Nyungwe forest with 27 Albertine rift endemics part of the species present in the Albertine Rift Endemics forests, three of which (red-collared, Rockefeller sunbird and Albertine owlet) are unregistered elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine rift. Bird watching at Nyungwe is good as the vegetation is good for birds and the canopy typically displays many birds. The Ruwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, red-faced woodland warbler, collared apalis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked apalis, Ruwenzori batis, and regal sunbird are among the 27 Albertine Rift Endemics found in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Monkey Tracking


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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] visit the Royal Palace Museum and Ethnographic Museum in Southern Province. After lunch you head to Nyungwe National Park. Overnight and dinner at the […]

  2. […] will exit the park at a few minutes to or at exactly midday and embark on your 10 hour drive to Nyungwe forest national park with lunch en-route and arriving late evening. Dinner and overnight at Nyungwe Top Hill View […]

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