Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe, one of Africa’s oldest rainforests, boasts remarkable biodiversity and breathtaking beauty. Nestled in a mountainous expanse, this region is teeming with wildlife, including a modest population of chimpanzees and a dozen other primate species. Among these, the L’Hoest’s monkey, exclusive to the Albertine Rift, finds its home here.
With a network of 15 trails and an array of other activities, visitors can opt to savor the forest’s wonders or immerse themselves for a week or more in the splendor of one of Africa’s most captivating woodlands.
While primate tracking tops the list for many, those with the luxury of time will find value in lingering to soak in the primal ambiance.
For botanists, the forest’s glory unfolds through 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids. The birdwatching experience ranks among Africa’s finest, with 322 avian species including the Red-collared Babbler and 29 other endemic species from the Albertine Rift. Butterflies adorn the scene as well, with at least 120 species adding to the vibrant tapestry.
Within Nyungwe’s realm dwell 75 known mammal species, among them the elusive cerval cat, the agile mongoose, the Congo clawless otter, and the stealthy leopard. Many of these creatures remain discreet, making sightings a delightful element of chance.
Unforgettable moments await, such as strolling to the Isumo waterfall or traversing the suspended Canopy Walk. The park’s periphery is bordered by tea plantations, accompanied by a habituated troop of Ruwenzori colobus monkeys at Gisakura, alongside a medley of forest fringe birds.
Nurtured by abundant rainfall, Nyungwe stands as Rwanda’s primary watershed, supplying water to an impressive 70% of the nation.
A ridge coursing through the forest creates a natural divide between the Nile and Congo drainage systems. It is at a spring on the slopes of Mount Bigugu that the origins of the Nile, the world’s longest river, are said to be found—a testament to the remoteness and majesty of this remarkable rainforest.
- A quarter of all of Africa’s primates, 13 species, are found here, including the common chimpanzee
- A birder’s paradise with around 300 recorded species, nearly 30 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift region
- High species diversity and endemism of plants, birds, and mammals
- In 2021, 1,277 hectares of indigenous forest regeneration was assisted through the removal of exotic plants
- Over 6,000 community members and local leaders have been engaged in community environmental awareness meetings, and 1,000 children from school environmental clubs visited the parks in 2021
- A community freelance guiding project has seen 15 local guides trained for the park’s tourism activities