Extending for nearly one thousand square kilometres over the mountains of southwest Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park protects the largest remaining single tract of Afro-montane evergreen forest in Africa.

It is a remarkably rich centre of biodiversity with 86 mammal species, 280 birds, 120 butterflies and about 100 varieties of orchid.

The main attractions in Nyungwe are the large troops of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys and Chimp tracking. Guides lead you through the forest in search of these elusive creatures; and you should also encounter the striking l’Hoest’s monkey and Grey-cheeked mangabey.

Nyungwe National Park was gazetted in time to save this remarkable forest from the depredations of agriculture. Fields of maize, beans and bananas are intensively cultivated right up to the forest edge. There is also an abundance of tea plantations.

Nyungwe Forest is bisected by the winding tarmac road linking Butare to Cyangugu and the reserve’s terrain includes many steep slopes. Accommodation used to be provided only by the simple Gisakura ORTPN Resthouse, but now One&Only has the elegant Nyungwe House for discerning travellers.  If you have a strong interest in birds and/or primates and other smaller forest wildlife, you could happily spend three days here.

Nyungwe’s primates include wild Chimpanzees which are slowly being habituated – the chances of seeing them are approximately 60% - and 8 species of monkey. Resident monkeys include large troops of the Albertine Rift endemic Rwenzori colobus (arboreal), the terrestrial L’Hoest’s monkey, the rare and elusive Albertine Rift endemic Owl-faced monkey, Silver monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Dent’s mona monkey, very cheeky Vervet monkeys and Olive baboon. Three species of Galago (bushbaby) and the peculiar Potto constitute Nyungwe’s nocturnal primates. Other resident mammals include Leopard, Bushbuck, three species of forest-dwelling Duiker, Bushpig, Giant forest hog, Congo clawless otter, various forest-dwelling squirrels and Tree Hyrax. Reptiles include at least 12 snakes and the lizard fauna includes at least 5 chameleon species.

Along the road, birders can seek many of the sought-after Albertine Rift Endemics, including the Handsome francolin, the remarkable, 'painted' Rwenzori turaco, Mountain black boubou, Rwenzori batis, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Archer's robin-chat, Rwenzori hill babbler, Red-faced woodland warbler, the rare Grauer's rush warbler, Neumann's warbler, Mountain masked apalis, the near-endemic Kungwe apalis and a cluster of colourful Sunbirds including Ruwenzori double-collared, Purple-throated, Blue-headed and the stunning Regal Sunbird. It is the only place where birders can seek the Red-collared Mountain Babbler in safe conditions.

There is an extensive system of forest trails around the Gisakura Resthouse, including the enjoyable ‘Waterfall Trail’. Around the Uwinka Campsite, there are the seven ‘Coloured Trails’, each marked with a different colour and leading downhill from the campsite. Take note that the reserve’s trails are for the most part quite challenging and can be slippery, so require a reasonable level of fitness.

The park holds at least 100 species of Butterfly of which over 40 are regionally endemic. The forest’s flora includes around 200 species of hardwood trees such as African Mahogany and Smooth-barked Albizia; stands of Bamboo; impressive Giant Tree ferns and about 200 species of Orchid.

The canopy walkway is a must see, for all who visit this beautiful park.

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Rainbow Specialists
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Emeraude Kivu Resort
Nyungwe National Park

Emeraude Kivu Resort

A good choice of accommodation for those who visit Nyungwe Forest National Park is the family/owner run Emeraude Kivu Resort at Kamembe, near Cyangugu. (About 45 min from the Gisakura area).The hotel is on the top of a hill from where there is a panoramic view over Lake Kivu. Each of the 8 rooms has en-suite facilities and a private balcony with lake view. The service is of high quality and the f...

One&Only Nyungwe House
Nyungwe National Park

One&Only Nyungwe House

At long last, a wonderful accommodation option for discerning travellers. Designed to blend in with the surrounding environment, this luxury establishment is situated in a lush tea plantation along the edges of the dense Nyungwe rain forest.Set in blocks of 4 but still widely enough spaced to afford a sense of privacy, the very comfortable en-suite rooms face the rainforest so guests can enjoy stu...

Rwanda - Primates, Nature & Landscapes
+3 others
11 nights from £16,085 per person

Rwanda - Primates, Nature & Landscapes

Itinerary Highlights

  • Time with the Mountain gorillas at PNV
  • Chimp tracking at Nyungwe National Park
  • Albertine Rift Endemics (AREs) and other wonderful birds in both parks
  • Scenic, high-altitude Lake Kivu

Why Choose Us?

Passionate travel experts

  • We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
  • Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
  • We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences

Personal & tailor-made

  • You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
  • We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
  • Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love

Responsible by nature

  • We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
  • For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
  • We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours
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