national parks travel blog

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park: The Primate Capital

Nyungwe Forest National Park is found within the southwestern part of Rwanda in central-eastern Africa, also referred to as the land of a thousand hills. The forest is the largest tropical afro-montane rain forest conserved in Africa, fed by the River Congo. Hotels are in Nyungwe Forest National Park and the forest was declared a forest reserve during the time of colonial government in Rwanda in 1903, though the park suffered poaching and fire outbreaks during the 1950s and 1990s Restoration work began after the Rwandan genocide and it was declared a park in 2004.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

The park covers a neighbourhood of 1,020 kilometres squared, one of the world’s oldest forests that survived the glacial period. The forest is roofed with rainforests, swamps, bogs, and grasslands. This park boasts 1,068 plant species, 38 species of reptiles, 120 species of butterflies, 32 species of amphibians, and far more. Chimpanzee Tracking
Nyungwe may be home to 13 species of primates, but the park is the only destination in Rwanda that offers chimpanzee trekking. Chimpanzee tracking starts in the morning, and it’s best to hold each day’s pack where you’ve got a few litres of water, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a rain jacket, hiking boots, and a hat.

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzees at the park are being habituated, which suggests they’re new to the citizenry. Chimp tracking here is, although more hit-and-miss than gorilla tracking in Virungas, partly because these smaller and fewer sedentary apes are usually found either feeding high within the trees or moving swiftly along the bottom.

Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk

Suspended between higher slopes and giant trees about 1km from Uwinka, the metallic walkway is nearly 200m long, with a maximum height of around 40 m, and it offers an outstanding view for birders over a steep stream bed lined with tall trees and ferns. It can feel quite unstable to those with poor head heights. This walk is also an activity not to be missed in Rwanda. just in case you’re coming to Rwanda to trek the mountain gorillas.

Nyungwe Canopy Walk and Birding

Nyungwe forest has 310 bird species 27 Albertine rift endemics, a part of the species that are established within the forests of the Albertine Rift Endemics, of which three (red-collared, Rockefeller’s sunbird, and Albertine owlet) are unregistered elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine Rift. Bird watching at Nyungwe is sweet since the vegetation is sweet for birds and lots of birds are usually seen at the cover. Of the 27 Albertine Rift Endemics found in Nyungwe Forest park are the Ruwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, red-faced woodland warbler, collared Apalis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, mountain masked Apalis, Ruwenzori batis, and regal sunbird.

Monkey Tracking

Nyungwe Park may also be home to the Ruwenzori colobus, grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, owl-faced monkey, mona monkey, Dent’s monkey, silver monkey, and blue monkey. it’s a mystical experience to return across a forest covered with colobus with their black and white colours.

Forest Hikes

Nyungwe Forest Park is the perfect park for hiking, with a varied selection of walking prospects and other expeditions.

Bigugu Trail

The trail takes you through astonishing views of Kivu and, therefore, the hills of DRC. Birders come here to ascertain the localised red-collared mountain babbler, but the world also boasts some wonderful wildflowers, starting from red-hot pokers and orchids to large lobelias.

Ngabwe Trail

Set on the slopes of Nyabwe near the park’s eastern boundary, this new circular trail is the only straightforward option for hospitable people staying at the KCCEM Guesthouse without their transport, since the trailhead lies about 200m down a street on the left of the most road only 3km past Kitabi Entrance Gate. The trail is right for camping.

Kamiranzovu Trail

This trail leads from the forested highway downhill to the relatively low-lying Kamiranzovu, this trail is the park’s largest swamp, set within a caldera-like depression.

Karamba Trail

This is one of the simplest trails in Nyungwe and, therefore, the best for bird watching. The absence of massive trees is essential because of human disturbance, first as gold mines and markets.

Isumo Trail

This superb trail starts at the Gisakura Tea Plantations and to the most important waterfall in Nyungwe Forest Park.


Nyungwe Forest Park is the largest remaining tract of montane rainforest in East Africa, The park contains 13 primate species, including chimpanzees, with a population estimated at 500–1000, which is typically tracked at a brief notice or maybe by the sound they create within the jungle, Several other monkeys are readily seen; including L’Hoest’s monkey acrobatic Ruwenzori colobus, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Olive Baboon, vervet, Silver Monkey, Angola Colobus, and therefore the red-tailed monkey.

Birding Safari in Nyungwe

Nyungwe Forest Park is a crucial site for birders; there are 284 bird species and 26 species of the Albertine Rift Endemic bird area which occur in Rwanda. The birds at Nyunwe Forest Park include among others; Rockefeller’s sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Ruwenzori Turaco, Batis drops, Ruwenzori Batis, Handsome Francolin, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Francolins Nobilis, Black and White Hornbill, Regal Sunbird, and Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher.


Nyungwe is remarkably rich in biodiversity within the region, with quite 200 tree species, including orchids, flowering plants, and giant lobelia. The park features a span of vegetation zones that are dispensed consistent with their different altitudes. At 2500m above sea level, you explore the Alpine vegetation, which is characterised by bamboo and shrubs. At 2250m, there are a variety of tall trees and fern species like Polycscias, Newtonia, and Symphonia. At 1900m, there are taller tree species like Carapa, Cyathea Manniana, and Newtonia.

Nyungwe Forest National Park hotels

Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel

Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel is set on an isolated hilltop with stunning panoramic views of the tea plantation and west to Lake Kivu.

The hotel has 12 stone cottages; king-sized beds, a large sitting room with a fireplace, an en-suite bathroom with a hot shower, and a balcony with a lake and forest view. The common area of the hotel is a large circular two-story building with a wide balcony on the first floor, a reception on the ground floor and a bar area on the second floor where you can enjoy some great views of Lake Kivu and the Virunga Volcanoes.

To top