Nyungwe Forest national park


Nyungwe Forest national park is a famous primate haven in Rwanda located in South West Rwanda protecting one of the wolrld’s most beautiful and pristine rain forests, the park is situated close to the border of Burundi in the south and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west and near to the Congo Nile divide that marks a point of separation between the catchment areas of River Congo that flows to the west emptying in Atlantic Ocean and River Nile that flows to the north emptying in the Mediterranean sea.

Nyungwe Forest national park covers an area of 970 kilometers protecting one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine rain forests and is dominated by a series of mountains originating in northern Uganda and Congo running south through the Rwenzori Mountains, Western Rwanda and Burundi to the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Nyungwe Forest national park a primate nirvana hosting 25% of the primates in Africa with 13 primate species including morethan 300 colobus monkeys. Primates in Nyungwe Forest national park include

  • chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
  • Rwenzori colobus (colobus angolensis)
  • l’Hoest’s monkey (C.l’hoesti)
  • silver monkey (c.mitis doggetti)
  • golden monkey (C.mitis kandti)
  • owl-faced monkey (C.hamlyni)
  • red-tailed monkey (C.ascanius)
  • Den’t mona monkey (C.mona denti)
  • vervet monkey (C.aetiops)
  • olive baboon (papio anubis)
  • grey-cheeked mangabey (Cercocebus albigena)
  • three species of bushbaby

Nyungwe Forest national park is a bird watchers haven hosting about 300 species of including with 16 endemic species, 27 Albertine rift endemics and 121 forest species. These birds include Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turacos, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, , Stripe-breasted Tit, the remarkable Red-collared Babbler, Archer’s Robin Chat, White-bellied Robin Chat, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Handsome Francolin Mountain Masked, Black-faced, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Purple-breasted and Regal Sun-birds, Chestnut-throated, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Short-tailed Warbler and White-tailed Blue-flycatcher among others.

Nyungwe Forest national park is also a home to 75 different species of mammals but because of the thick vegetation cover they are to spot.


Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is the highlight Rwanda safari activity to do in Nyungwe Forest national park, the park is a home to about 400 chimpanzees with 2chimpanzee groups habituated from chimpanzee tracking tours, one of the chimpanzee groups is found in the Cyamudongo section of Nyungwe forest and another found around the Uwinka area of Nyungwe forest. Nyungwe Forest national park

Nyungwe Forest national park
Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris in Nyungwe

Chimpanzee tracking starts with briefing at the park’s headquarters as early as 6:00 am in the morning, be grouped then hike into the forests of Nyungwe looking for chimpanzee with assistance from an experienced guide, this experience offers 1 hour of being in the presence of chimpanzees while watching the chimpanzees in their natural habitat as they take care of their young ones, build nests, pick fruits and leaves which they eat as food and others. You will also watch other primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, many bird species and several flower and tree species.

Bird watching

Nyungwe Forest national park protects mountain forests at high altitude range of 1600 – 2950 meters which is a great habitat for various bird species recorded to be over 300 bird species including 27 endemic species to the Albertine Rift Valley. Bird watching in Nyungwe Forest national park some of the frequently sighted bird species include Rwenzori Nightjar, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, the Handsome Francolin, Dwarf Honeyguide, Greatblue and Rwenzori Turaco, montane Double Collared Sun and Red- Throated Alethe among others.

Nature and hiking walks

Nature and hiking walks in the park is an adventurous Rwanda safari activity offering an opportunity to explore the landscape of the park, this activity is conducted on an extensive network of hiking trails which make the park one of the best hiking destinations in Rwanda. These trails running through the diverse landscape of the park and offer some of the most scenic views of Nyungwe Forests, trails used for hiking in the park include Congo – Nile divide trail, The Igishigishigi trail, Karamba trail, Umugote trail, Umoyove trail, Uwinka trail , Irebero trail, Imbaraga trail , Bigugu trail, Isumo trail, Kamiranzovu trail , Muzumu trail  and Ngabwe trail  and Rukuzi Trail. Generally nature and hiking walks in the park lasts for about 8 hours offering stunning views of features such as Lake Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, various species of birds and primates.

Canopy walk

Canopy walk is an entertaining Rwanda Safari activity to do in the park done on a 160 meters long and 70 meters high suspension bridge suspended above a ravine in the lush montane rainforest, this activity is accessed as part of a guided tour along the Igishigishigi trail. Canopy walk in the park offers an exhilarating perspective of on the ancient treetops and various primates and wildlife found in the park.

Nyungwe Forest national park
Canopy walks in Nyungwe National Park

During the walk lookout for primates such as olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and many birds such as Ruwenzori Nightjar, Crimson wings, Ruwenzori batis, blue turaco, Kungwe Apalis, Montane Double collaered sunbird among others

Cultural tours

A Rwanda safari experience can never be complete without visiting the local community found along the boundaries of the park for a chance to engage in the rich Rwandan culture, people living in these communities used to live in the forests of Nyungwe until the area was gazetted as a national park. These people peacefully co-existed with the forests and in one way of the other they contribute to the conservation of Rwanda’s ecosystem and preserving the culture of Rwanda.

During cultural tours in the local community you will experience the rich Rwanda culture and engage in activities such as dance ceremony, production of beer from banana, making of traditional medicine from various medicinal plants and grinding of maize among others.


The park is found in western Rwanda and can easily be accessed from Kigali the capital of Rwanda on a drive of about 5 hours through Nyanza to Huye and to the park. Alternatively you can fly to the park, scheduled and domestic flights to Akagera national park are offered by the Akagera Aviation.


There is limited accommodation facilities in the park, however the available one offer amazing and comfortable staying during your Rwanda Tour. The accommodation facilities are categorized as luxury, midrange and budget. Accommodation in Nyungwe Forest include

  • One & Only Nyungwe House
  • Nyungwe top view lodge
  • Gisakura guest house
  • EAR Guesthouse
  • Emeraude Kivu Resort


book a trip