Nyungwe Forest National Park – Rwanda

Nyungwe Forest National Park is found in southwestern Rwanda, bordering Burundi in the south and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. The national park is presumably the best preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa. The park is found in the watershed between the basin of River Congo to the west and the Nile River basin to the east. From the east side of the Nyungwe Forest comes also one of the branches of the Nile sources.

Nyungwe Forest National Park was formed in 2004 and covers an area of about 970 square kilometers across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda. Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of montane forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age.

An extensive network of well-maintained walking trails leads through Nyungwe forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortably rustic rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can readily be visited as a day trip from the towns of Butare and Cyangugu.

The park provides the best ground for chimpanzee tracking and bird watching. Nyungwe National Park protects 13 primate species including human closest living “cousin” the chimpanzee, together with the LHoests monkey and hundred strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola Colobus. That makes it the most important ornithological site in Rwanda.

More so, the park harbors almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of montane forests on the Albertine Rift. The avian highlight of Nyungwe National Park is the great blue turaco – an outlandish blue, red and green bird which streams from tree to tree like a procession of streamlined psychedelic turkeys.

Nyungwe has unique and diverse vegetation with over 200 species of tree and shrub and many unusual flowering plants including over 100 varieties of orchid.

The forest walks here are excellent, lasting from 1-6hours. We can arrange for you to track chimpanzees, or search for Ruwenzori colobus monkeys, which can be found here in troupes of several hundred. Other primates such as the l’Hoest’s monkey and the grey-cheeked mangabey are often sighted as well. The birds are spectacular, though as in most tropical forests, you’ll have to look hard for them. Giant hornbills, great blue turacos, and red-breasted sparrow hawks are amongst the specials, of which 24 are endemic to this section of the Rift Valley.

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