The wildlife is pretty spectacular too, featuring a grand total of 13 primate species. The national park covers over a thousand square kilometres, and it’s situated in Rwanda’s south-west. To its south lies the country’s border with Burundi, while Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are found on the west side. Nyungwe Forest can be accessed via air or road from Kigali International Airport. The drive from Kigali takes 4–5 hours.
Nyungwe was designated a national park in 2010, following restoration work since 1995. The area had suffered fire damage, woodcutting, and poaching, particularly in the years from 1958 to 1973. Fortunately, granting national park status to the forest served to protect both the land and its resident wildlife.
Visitors to Nyungwe today are enthralled by its verdant rainforests, which in some places rise to cloak whole hills in gorgeous greenery. The park’s highest altitude is 3,000 metres above sea level! There are grasslands too, as well as swamps and bogs, and rivers rushing through the forest.
In all, the park contains 13 primate species, 85 types of mammal, and 275 varieties of bird. Keen botanists might be interested to learn that plant numbers are also impressive – 1,068 species! The reptile count is 38, and there are 32 amphibians. A significant proportion of these animals are found only in Africa’s Albertine Rift montane forests, and some are specific to Nyungwe. So a safari here is a really special experience.
Activities available in the national park include chimpanzee tracking, monkey tracking, birding, hiking along over 130 kilometres of forest trails, and enjoying a treetop forest canopy walk – the highest of its kind in East Africa! While tracking chimp and monkey, you can expect to see a wonderful range of other wildlife, not least leopard, golden cat, serval, civets, genets, duikers, giant forest hog, white-bellied pangolin, and African giant squirrel. Treats for birders include red-winged francolin, yellow-whiskered greenbul, large blue turaco, and purple-breasted sun bird.
Presently we sell two properties in this breathtaking region – One&Only Nyungwe House and Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel. Each is a great base from which to explore the forest! Please visit our accommodation pages, or contact a member of our team to find out more.