highlights and main attractions of nyungwe forest national park

Set in southwest Rwanda, within a protected national park founded in 2004, Nyungwe is one of Africa’s oldest forests, and a rainforest in its purest sense, with regular rainfalls of up to 2,000mm per annum. As the largest single tract of montane forest that remains in Central/Eastern Africa, the area is of utmost importance to Rwandan tourism and it is undoubtedly one of the country’s main attractions with waterfalls, abundant wildlife and viewpoints over the idyllic scenery.

Absolutely teeming with wildlife, the national park is a great destination to include, especially if you like primates; its verdant forests are a haven for 13 species in total. 

where is nyungwe forest national park?

flora and fauna

As part of the Albertine rift, the park is easy to access, dissected by the road that runs from Lake Kivu to Butare. Once you are there you will soon get a sense of its sheer scale, as it covers a total area of 970 square kilometres across the majestic mountain ranges.  It is known to be one of the richest areas of Africa for its endemic species and stunning biodiversity. Whilst not guaranteed, is it not uncommon to spot troops of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys, which can number up to 400 swinging through the trees – thought to be the largest arboreal troop in Africa no less! Other primate fauna includes the Hoest’s monkey, chimpanzee, silver monkey, golden monkey, olive baboon, vervet monkey, several species of bushbaby, grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey. There is also a healthy number of chimps in the forest, estimated at 400 in total, which are in the process of being habituated.

The area also has the greatest concentration and variety of birdlife in Rwanda, with nearly 300 species recorded, including iridescent sunbirds, giant hornbills and extravagant blue turaco, and many species which are endemic to the Albertine rift.

There is an equally rich variety of flora in the forest, with over 100 orchid species alone and over 200 types of tree.

The accommodation options in the Nyungwe Forest are quite limited in scope, but the Nyungwe Forest Lodge has a superb setting overlooking the forest canopy and excellently furnished rooms and villas. It is possible to arrange some great trekking tours of varying lengths to see the primates of the forest, plus canopy skywalks, you might even spot monkeys moving through the forest from your room.

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