Nyungwe Forest is one of the three national parks, most renowned for hosting chimpanzees and 12 other primates. The forest is the largest single tract of montane forest remaining in East or Central Africa offering its visitors with an opportunity to track the wild chimpanzees. Nyungwe Forest is the largest protected mountain forest in Africa covering between 1600 and 2000 square metres. It is located in a distance of about five-hours drive from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
Nyungwe is one of the rich biodiversity areas in Africa, home to 86 mammal species, 280 species of bird, a variety of orchids and 13 species of primate. Nyungwe is one of the best places to go chimpanzee tracking on the African continent. The forest has very many wonders like the rare attractive tree species difficult to see in other tropical rain forests.
Things to Do
Chimpanzee is the most popular tourist activity taken within the park. There are over 220 chimpanzees within the park and the success rate of tracking the chimpanzees are over 95%. Travelers take a forest walk to see these apes that live within the forest.
Chimp tracking in Nyungwe forest national park is done early in the morning/ in the evening. The trek starts with a briefing at the park headquarters about the dos and don’ts while with these man’s closest mammal. Later travelers follow the ranger guide to the forest to begin the activity possibly one of the most interesting activity at the park.
Nyungwe consist of a variety of walking trails through the steeply forested terrain in the hope of spotting some of the elusive chimpanzees (in the process of being habituated) or what is thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in the whole of Africa, the 400 strong semi habituated troop of Ruwenzori Colobus!
Bird watching is also rewarding adventure that can be taken in Nyungwe Forest. The park is blessed with over 300 species of bird.
Nyungwe is the only place in Eastern Africa which offers a canopy walk. If you are afraid of heights, don’t dare try out the canopy walk. The bridge suspended between huge trees offers a feel of fresh air, 60 metres above the forest floor. Besides the freshness in the air and magnificent aerial view of the trees, you will enjoy the sight of beautiful birds flying across as you enjoy the walk.
The Canopy Walk is the favorite activity for park visitors. It was opened in 2010 and it covers 90 metres, offering a unique face to face encounters with butterflies, colorful birds and monkeys.
Where to Stay
Choice of accommodation in Nyungwe is of a limited range with the most comfortable place being the ORTPN Rest House located near the Gisakura Tea Estate. Accommodation is based on a shared room basis however does benefit from hot water and electricity and some well cooked local food!