Nyungwe Forest National Park


Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in western Rwanda and is one of the most magnificent and pristine rain forests on the planet. It is dominated by a chain of mountains that runs south from northern Uganda and Congo, via the Rwenzori highlands, western Rwanda, and Burundi, to the beaches of Lake Tanganyika.

On a clear day, Nyungwe Forest National Park provides spectacular views of Lake Kivu and, in certain cases, the Virunga hills. The forest includes a large network of well-kept walking and hiking paths that lead to numerous waterfalls and viewing sites. Chimp trekking, bird viewing, colobus monkey trekking, and the canopy walk are the most popular activities in Nyungwe forest.

Wildlife in Nyungwe forest national park


The Nyungwe forest is home to 75 different species of animals, the most of which are tiny and/or nocturnal, making sightings difficult. Chimpanzees are the major draw of Nyungwe Forest, with chimp trekking taking place every day in the early morning. The forest is home to battalions of 300 or more colobus monkeys who traverse the treetops, providing tourists with yet another exciting pastime.

The 13 ape species found in the Nyungwe forest including the Chimpanzees, Silver monkeys, Golden monkeys, and Owl-faced monkeys /  Hamlyn’s are all examples of primates, Mangabey with grey cheeks, Red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, Dent’s Mona Monkey.


The Nyungwe forest is home to over 300 bird species, including 16 endemics, 27 Albertine rift endemics, and 121 woodland species. The bird species include the Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turacos, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Tit, the amazing Red-collared Babbler, Archer’s Robin Chat, White-bellied Robin Chat, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Handsome Francolin Mountain Masked Chestnut-throated Apalis, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Short-tailed Warbler, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, and more species

Activities in Nyungwe forest national park

Chimpanzee Trekking

The Nyungwe forest is home to two wild chimp populations that have become used to chimp tourism. One group is in the Nyungwe forest’s Cyamudongo sector, while the other is in the forest’s Uwinka portion. Around 400 chimps live in the jungle. While seeing chimps is not certain, your guides will teach you about these animals and their natural surroundings. You are required to be at the briefing location as early as 5.00 a.m. This is due to the fact that chimps are most likely to be observed early in the morning, and they prefer to wander around, requiring you to stay active as you follow them.


Nyungwe Forest National Park is a high altitude mountain forest with elevations ranging from 1600 to 2950 meters. The birds in Nyungwe forest are primarily found in the trees, bushes, or on the ground near the tea plantations. Some birds, such as many woodland species, are timid and hence more easily heard than seen. The Rwenzori Nightjar, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Handsome Francolin, Dwarf Honeyguide, Greatblue and Rwenzori Turaco, alpine Double Collared Sun, and Red-Throated Alethe are among the often seen species. There are well-maintained routes to follow while birding, as well as qualified bird guides headquartered in Nyungwe Forest.

Nature walks and hiking

Nyungwe forest is ideal for hikers due to its high terrain and vast network of trekking routes. The paths varied in length, ease of trekking, and characteristics; thus, it is recommended that you contact the ranger guides for recommendations on which route to follow according on the attractions you are looking for. The trails wind across a varied environment and provide the most picturesque route to explore the forest. The routes listed here are some of the options for hiking in the forest.

The Congo-Nile Divide Trail is a 227 km walk for expert hikers that takes several days to complete. However, a one-day trek of a portion of the stretch is an option. The different scenery and villages along the path are the major draws of this trail. There are campgrounds where you may stay, but you must provide your own camping equipment. There are businesses along the path where you may purchase basic necessities.

Karamba route, which is surrounded by several fern trees and is located on the former gold mine site, market, and army camp, is a good birding area in Nyungwe.

The Umugote track in Nyungwe forest is ideal for monkey and bird watching, with views of ridges, flowers, and butterflies. Kibira National Park in Burundi may be seen on a clear day.

Umoyove route, also known as Mahogany trail, leads to the waterfall for a relaxing stroll among the park’s biggest trees.

The Uwinka route is a demanding trek but a lovely area to see birds.

The Irebero trail This hike offers views of Lake Kivu and two of Nyungwe National Park’s tallest peaks.

The Igishigishigi walk is 2 kilometers long and offers spectacular views of the Nyungwe forest canopy, gorgeous wild flowers, occasional monkeys, and a variety of birds. This path takes between one and two hours to complete, depending on one’s interests. All participants must be at least six years old, and youngsters must be accompanied by an adult.

The Imbaraga path is a 10-kilometer walk for skilled hikers. Hikers will see waterfalls, which will be a welcome sight after a hard climb.

The Bigugu Trail offers views of the DR Congo, Lake Kivu, and the Islands. It leads to the highest point of Nyungwe Forest Park.

The Isumo Trail will take you through the lovely tea fields; you can even get involved in selecting tea and observe the entire process until it reaches your cup. You will also be able to see Nyungwe National Park’s largest waterfall.

The Kamiranzovu Trail takes you near to the majority of the waterfalls, wetlands, and marshes.

The Muzimu Trail winds through eucalyptus and pine woodlands.

The Ngabwe Trail leads to a beautiful picnic and camping area.

The Rukuzi Trail leads you through chimp-spotting areas and village vistas.

Canopy Walk

The Igishigishigi route leads to the canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest. The walkway may be reached as part of a customized guided tour of the path. The canopy walk, which hangs 60 meters above the forest floor between massive trees and towers, offers a breathtaking perspective of the park.

Cultural tours

To round up your Nyungwe forest experience, include a visit to the neighborhood to immerse yourself in Rwandan culture. Following an understanding of the forest’s value to Rwanda’s eco system, the villages along its boundaries have coexisted with it and contributed to some extent in its preservation. There have been initiatives to establish community-based events in order to conserve Rwandan culture and provide tourists with a rich experience. When you arrive at the village, you may participate in activities like as a dance ceremony, banana beer manufacture, bow-and-target shooting, traditional medicine making, and corn grinding, among others.

Getting there

Drive from Kigali through Nyanza, then Huye to Nyungwe National Park. Depending on your stopovers, the journey takes about 5 hours.

Alternatively, you might use Akagera Aviation’s services.