Nyungwe Forest National Park, Southwestern Rwanda Destinations Featured

Nyungwe Forest Lodge

 

 Nyungwe Forest National Park in southwestern Rwanda is south of Lake Kivu on the border with Burundi it is one of the oldest forests in Africa. Home to the Chimpanzee and thirteen other species of primate, Nyungwe Forest is wonderfully populated with a wide variety of animal and plant species and is a must visit on the Rwanda Safari circuit.

Established in 2004 the park covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rainforest over the mountainous southwest of Rwanda and protects the largest single tract of mountain forest remaining anywhere in East Africa consisting of bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs. Nyungwe is one of the oldest forests in Africa and is one of the last few mountain rainforest habitats.

With an extremely rich biodiversity the park is home to 13 different primate species (25% of Africa's total) including the Ruwenzori colobus in troops of up to 400 strong (the largest arboreal troops in Africa) and the beautiful and highly localized l'Hoest's monkey. There are also silver monkeys, golden monkeys, owl-faced monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys.

Nyungwe is also highly alluring to birders with 310 bird species recorded; the forest is home to 26 Albertine Rift & endemic bird species. The stunning blue turaco is often seen gliding through the trees and forest hornbills can be heard wailing through the canopy. Other birds found here include Ross’s turaco, grey-cheeked hornbill, red-throated alethe, white-headed wood-hoopoe, Kungwe apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Blue-headed and regal sunbirds. Giant hornbills, red-breasted sparrow-hawks and the spectacular Ruwenzori turaco are key specials. Other sites include 1068 plant species, 100 varieties of orchid, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian, 120 butterflies and 38 reptile species are also found. Larger mammals like the buffalo and elephant that once inhabited this area are no longer found here, but can be easily found elsewhere in Africa. But to see chimpanzees there are few places and Nyungwe is one of them.

The nearest large town is Cyangugu, 54km to the west and can be reached by road from Kigali or Lake Kivu though most travelers opt for a charter flight. There are a large number of hiking trails in the forest and with such biodiversity the forest is a favorite for birders.

As in the Volcanoes National Park, safaris here are undertaken on foot. The big draw card is the chance to see one of the troops of chimpanzees. As with tracking the mountain gorillas, the forest walks can last anything from one to six hours and once you have found them, you are allowed to spend one hour with them watching them jump from tree to tree and groom each other intently.

Chimp tracking hikes leave early in the morning and it may be several hours before you reach a troop, but along the way you will likely see many other animals, like the blue monkey! When you do find the chimps you will be privileged to spend as much time as possible around them. Unlike in some areas where visitors are restricted to only an hour's visit, there is no such rule in Nyungwe. The canopy walk over a suspended bridge over the forest canopy is a must especially for the adrenalin seekers

As you approach Nyungwe the road winds through the rural Rwandan landscape of rolling tea plantation and terraced hills. Then before you know it, a dense tangle of trees rises from the cultivated fields. For a full 50 km. the road clings to steep forested slopes, offering superb views over densely swathed hills which tumble towards the distant Burundi border.


Why Visit Nyungwe Forest National Park, Southwestern Rwanda.

  • Visit one of Africa's oldest forests Nyungwe Forest National Park.
  • To see the troops of chimpanzees and thirteen other species of primate found at Nyungwe Forest National Park.
  • Walk on the canopy of an African Rainforest observing the forests rich biodiversity on a canopy walk on top of a suspended bridge in the forest provides an adrenalin thrill.
  • Visit and experience the largest single tract of mountain forest remaining anywhere in East Africa and one of the last few mountain rainforest habitats Nyungwe Forest National Park.
  • For the birds with over 310 bird species recorded especially the stunning blue turaco, forest hornbills, Ross’s turaco, grey-cheeked hornbill, red-throated alethe, white-headed wood-hoopoe, Kungwe apalis, Ruwenzori batis, Blue-headed, red-breasted sparrow-hawks and regal sunbirds.
  • To conduct walking safari treks into the forest especially to track the chimpanzee and other primate troops spending a little time watching them jump from tree to tree and groom each other intently.

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