Nyungwe National Park

Extending for 1,000 square kilometers across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of mountain forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age.

A uniquely rich centre of floral diversity, the forest has more than 200 different types of tree, and a myriad of flowering plants including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colorful orchids.

Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and hundred-strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola colobus

The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe harbors almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of mountain forests on the Albertine Rift. The avian highlight of Nyungwe is the great blue turaco – an outlandish blue, red and green bird which streams from trees.

An extensive network of well-maintained walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortably rustic rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can readily be visited as a day trip from the towns of Huye and Cyangugu.

Facts about Nyungwe Forest

Area: 970 square kilometers (378 square miles), the largest single forest blocks in East Africa.
Elevation: Between 1,600 meters and 2,950 meters (Between 5,600 feet and 9,700 feet).
Temperature range: 0-30 degrees C (32-85 degrees F, average daytime temperature: 15.5 degrees C (60 degrees F).
Rainfall: 1800-2500 mm per year (71-78 inches).
Rainy season: September to May.
Dry Season: June to August, with several dry weeks in December/January.

Highlights:

  • The nyungwe national park lies within five districts; Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru and Karongi.
  • Hikes can be arranged from the Giovu tea plantation, if you book in advance with a guide Uwinka visitor centre.
  • The Nyungwe National Park is home to 310 bird species, 13 primate species, including chimpanzee and more than 1068 plant types, of these 140 are orchids.

Things to See & Do

Extending for 1,000 square kilometres across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of montane forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age.

There are 13 primate species, including habituated chimpanzees, a number of mammals and a large variety of other species within the park, comprising of hundreds of butterflies, a small number of snake species, due to the altitude but several colorful lizards and species of chameleon. There is much to be seen and experienced on a number of magnificent hikes offered in the park.

A uniquely rich centre of floral diversity, the forest has more than 200 different types of tree, and a myriad of flowering plants including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colourful orchids.

Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and hundred-strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola colobus.

The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park harbours almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of montane forests on the Albertine Rift. The avian highlight of Nyungwe is the great blue turaco – an outlandish blue, red and green bird which streams from tree to tree like a procession of streamlined psychedelic turkeys.

An extensive network of well-maintained walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortably rustic rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can readily be visited as a day trip from the towns of Butare and Cyangugu.

Nyungwe does, however, deserve more time: anybody who wants to track chimps and see several varieties of smaller primate will need two days there – and dedicated birdwatchers might never want to leave!