A Short Guide to Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda
Nyungwe National Park is found in southwestern part of Rwanda, about 5 hours drive from Kigali capital. Though Rwanda is famously known for mountain gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe forest inhabits about 13 primate species and attracts thousands of visitors for chimpanzee tracking, black and white colobus monkey tracking, birding as well as canopy walk adventure among other activities.
Location: Nyungwe Forest is a high-altitude montane tropical rainforest located in Albertine rift in southern Rwanda and was established as a forest reserve in 1933. Nyungwe’s biodiversity is astonishing by African standards and is one of the most endemic species-rich areas in all of Africa.
Area: Nyungwe National Park covers an area of over 1000 km2. It is the largest montane forest in East and Central Africa, and famous for the highest concentration of primates with about 13 species.
Altitude: 1,600-2,950 meters above sea level
Rainfall: 1800-2500 mm per year.
Access: Road access is 225 Km from Kigali, 90 Km from Butare, and 54 Km from Cyangugu. By road, it can take up to 5 hours to drive from Kigali.
Nyungwe national park can also be accessed by air from Kigali International airport to Kamembe airstrip and this is less than an hour flight. From Kamembe, it’s about 1-hour drive to Nyungwe forest.
Best viewing season: The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to September and December to March especially for birding.
Accommodation: Serene and luxurious Nyungwe Forest Lodge is the ideal home base for exploring the park. Differently, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel lives up to its name. Step out onto your private balcony or sit on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace for mist-shrouded views of the national park and Lake Kivu.
Attractions: 13 species in all including humankind closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’hoest monkey and hundred-strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola Colobus. The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe forest harbors almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of montane forests on the Albertine Rift.
Fauna: Leopard, Chimpanzee, Golden cat, Ruwenzori Colobus, l’Hoest’s monkey, Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Serval cat, Owl-faced monkey, Side stripped jackal, Red-tailed monkey, Don’t mona monkey, Genet, Vervet monkey, Slender and marsh mongoose, African civet, Olive baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey and three species of bush baby
Viewing Hours: Chimpanzee tracking starts at 06:00 Hrs. However, it can be visited daily from 7h00 to 18h00
Particularities: Nyungwe forest has more than 260 species of trees and shrubs, 275 bird species with 24 endemics to the Central African Highlands, Over 140 species of orchids, and giant lobelias, a host of colorful orchids, 120 species of butterflies and Reptiles including three species of horned chameleons.
• Bird walks
• Primate trekking
• Excursions to Kamiranzovu Marsh
• Excursions to Lake Kivu and Gisakura tea factory
More information about Nyungwe National park and other Rwanda tourist attractions, visit tourstorwanda.com.