Covering approximately 1,000 square kilometres of southwestern Rwanda, at the border with Burundi to the south and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, the Nyungwe Forest National Park includes the largest remaining area of montane rainforest in East or Central Africa. In addition to rainforest, the National Park comprises areas of bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs, resulting in a huge variety of microhabitats and an astonishing biodiversity.
Most famous for its 13 different species of primate (including two habituated chimpanzee communities, grey-cheeked mangabey, Rwenzori colobus, owl-faced monkeys and l'Hoest's monkeys), the park also contains about 85 mammal species, 310 bird species (including giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrowhawks) and over 1,000 plant species. Many of these species are found only in the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion in Africa.
The walking in Nyungwe Forest National Park is excellent, with over 130 kilometres of hiking routes and East Africa’s highest canopy walk, comprising a metal bridge suspended 50 metres above the forest offering spectacular views. However, the most popular activity in Nyungwe is chimpanzee trekking, which must be undertaken with a guide – sightings aren’t guaranteed as the chimps are often to be found in dense forest, but your chances are maximised if you are willing to get up extremely early in the morning!
The luxury Nyungwe Forest Lodge is the best place to stay in Nyungwe, with fabulous views over the forest canopy and a tea plantation.