Nyungwe Forest National Park is nestled in southwest Rwanda, borders Burundi, and is surrounded by tea plantations. The impressive expanse of the National Park spans across an elevated ridge that divides the Nile and the Congo—protecting the largest tract of montane rainforest on this part of the continent. One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe boasts magnificent biodiversity and teems with wildlife.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is defined by lush rainforest, deep valleys, bamboo zones, grassland, swamps, and bogs, and spans approximately 260,000 acres. Within the National Park borders, Mount Bigugu towers at 2.950 metres tall and its slopes are home to a spring which is now regarded as the most remote source of the world’s longest river—the Nile. Local attractions in and around the National Park include the Isumo Waterfall, the Canopy Walk Suspension Bridge, primate trekking, the Gisakura Tea Estate, and the 15 nature trails.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is approximately 200 kilometres from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. Kigali International Airport is the usual point of entry for safari-goers, while the drive from the airport to Nyungwe is about four hours.
Nyungwe Forest is considered medium-risk because of its high altitude.
Nyungwe Forest receives about two-thirds of Rwanda’s total rainfall. Nyungwe is one of Africa’s oldest forests and boasts East Africa’s highest canopy walk.
This incredible wildlife destination offers a powerhouse of safari experiences for any discerning nature enthusiast. The Nyungwe Forest National Park spans a whopping 260,000 acres and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Safari-goers will encounter a small population of chimpanzees, along with 12 other species of primates—making up 25% of Africa’s total. These include acrobatic Ruwenzori colobus and striking L’Hoest’s monkey.
Furthermore, the Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to over 300 species of bird, 85 species of mammals, 38 reptile species, 32 different amphibians, and about 1,068 plant species—among these 200 varieties of orchid. The incredible biodiversity of the National Park provides perfect habitats for its living beings.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is open throughout the year. However, those interested in chimpanzee trekking and birding will find the wet months—from October to May—the best time to visit. General hiking and wildlife spotting might be better during the dry season as the primates are easier to locate.
This fantastic safari destination offers a whole host of outdoor experiences for any discerning nature enthusiast. Nyungwe Forest National Park is most famous for its chimpanzee trekking, in an isolated part of the montane forest called Cyamudongo. This part of the forest is home to over 40 chimpanzees which are generally difficult to spot as they tend to be restless, but the experience overall is worth the trek.
For those seeking adventure down the road-less-travelled, the most remote source of the Nile River has been located on the slopes of Mount Bigugu and can be visited. Travellers should make arrangements in advance and expect a walk that takes about 60 minutes in one direction. Additionally, the Canopy Walkway—a suspension bridge which is part of the Igishigishigi Trail—offers outstanding views across the surrounding forests and valley. While exploring the many walking trails, safari-goers can marvel at the incredible birdlife, over 200 species of orchid, and a thundering waterfall.
The Nyungwe Forest National Park is surrounded by an array of accommodation options, offering modern amenities and facilities. Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly lodges to luxury hotels and resorts. Travellers can enjoy the serenity of the wilderness without forfeiting the creature comforts of home while on holiday.