Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest national park, one of the four national parks of Rwanda, is a home to the chimpanzees and 13 other primates. The Nyungwe forest national park is the biggest of the other national parks in Rwanda and is located in the Nyungwe forest thus its name. The Nyungwe forest national park attracts the guests interested in chimpanzee trekking.

The Nyungwe forest national park is popular for the chimpanzees and the canopy walk bridge in the Afro-Montane forest. The Nyungwe forest is considered the largest Afro-Montane forest in Africa and this forest is located south west of Rwanda. The Nyungwe forest is right next to the Rwanda border with Burundi, south west of the Lake Kivu and west of the Democratic republic of Congo. The Nyungwe forest national park is located in the Rusizi district of Rwanda.

Nyungwe forest is a home to 2 chimpanzee families and 13 other primates which is 25% of the primates found in the entire Africa. The Nyungwe forest is also a home to 275 different bird species both endemic and migratory, 1,068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibians and 38 reptiles that you can chance on your visit to the Nyungwe forest national park.

The Nyungwe forest national park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa but was established as a national park in 2004 and is also recognized as an important place of conservation in Africa because of the diverse animal life living within. The Nyungwe forest national park lies in the western arm of the Great Rift Valley. The Albertine Rift is known for having a number of endemic species.

The Nyungwe forest national park offers a number of activities to the visitors and a few are discussed below;

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most sought after activities in the Nyungwe forest and this forest has two habituated chimpanzee families which guests get to visit. One of the families is trekked from Uwinka while the other bigger group is trekked in Cyamudongo forest. The treks in Cyamudongo are abit more physically demanding. A permit to trek chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest goes for 90 USD. Chimpanzee treks take about 4 hours to complete and usually start as early as 5 am.

Nyungwe forest national park
Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe forest national park

Canopy walk

Take on this thrilling hike on this 70 meter highly suspended bridge in the Nyungwe forest for a view of the forest from the top. This walkway is a 200 meter long Canopy walkway and a great chance to do some birding and also spot some butterflies. Get to spot some of the other primates like monkeys on this walk. There are 2 shifts to take on this activity and this is at 9 am and later in the day at 2 am. A permit to do this canopy walk is 60 USD per person. It is a 2 hour activity to complete.

Other primate treks

Nyungwe forest may be popular for having chimpanzees however if you have more time in the area, you can book yourself a permit to trek any of the other 13 different primates living in the park. The most common other primate trek is the Colobus monkey trek. The Colobus monkey trek is done in the Gisakura forest and is a 3 hour activity however this varies depending on how far the monkeys may be on that day.

The Colobus monkey trekking is a less strenuous activity and is abit more relaxed and can be enjoyed at only 60 USD for a permit. The colobus monkey trekking starts from the Gisakura Guest House There are black and white colobus monkeys at Uwinka as well. Ensure to carry your pair of binoculars, wear great hiking shoes and get a walking stick as the terrain is abit demanding.

Get to trek the blue monkeys from the Uwinka Reception center or opt for a trek to the Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys from the Uwinka reception as well. The permits for these treks are also sold at 60 USD per person.

Nature walk

The Nyungwe forest is an ideal destination for guests looking to get lost in nature and breathing clean fresh air. There are a number of nature trails that you can take on while in the Nyungwe forest national park and a permit for a nature walk in Nyungwe forest goes for 40 USD.


Take on some birding in Nyungwe forest and spot some of the 275 bird species in the area. The Nyungwe forest has 27 endemic bird species of the Albertine region and this activity is best enjoyed with a professional bird guide.

Nyungwe forest national park
Birding in Nyungwe

Tea plantation visit

There are a number of tea estates in the area and if you are a teetotaler, this would be an exciting activity to visit a tea plantation to get an insight of how the tea is grown up to when it is consumed. Also enjoy a hot cup of tea at the end of the visit.

Nyungwe forest is a 5 hour road transfer from Kigali and there are a number of accommodations that you can book a stay in like the Gisakura Visitor Center, the Nyungwe top hill view hotel, Emeraude Hotel, Nziza Eco lodge and the luxurious One and Only Nyungwe house. Get in touch and let us plan your visit to the Nyungwe forest national park.