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Home » Rwanda National Game Parks » Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe rainforest is positioned in the southwest of Rwanda, bordering Burundi in the south including Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lake Kivu in the west.

This rain forest can be considered as so far the well conserved in the central African highlands.

Positioned in the watershed divide of Congo River basin and the Nile basin in the west and east respectively, Nyungwe forest is a home to the branches of the sources of the Nile.

Established in 2004, the forest park covers over 970km2 of the rain forest, grassland, bamboo, bogs and swamps.

Kyangugu is the nearby town over 54 km to the west direction while the notable Bigugu Mountain lies within the park boarders.

The forest of Nyungwe is a biodiversity hotspot making it to be ranked among the Africa’s conservation priorities.

This can be attributed to its intermediate existence in the bio geographical zones which leads to a range of terrestrial biomes supporting a long span of microhabitats for this bio diversity.

The park encompasses 13 species of primate, 1068 species of plants, 275 species of birds, 85 species of mammals, 38 species of reptiles and 32 species of amphibians. Some of these species are endemic to the Albertine region.

Tourist Attractions in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe regarded as an Important Bird Area by the Bird life International verifying its significance in terms bird population conservation.

It is a re-known hub for montane forest birds. Nyungwe provides shelter to over 278 bird species of which 26 species are endemic to the Albertine rift forests.

The birds include; Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Turacos such as the Rwenzori Turaco, Red-throated Alethe, Kungwe Apalis Apalis argentea, Purple-breasted and Blue-headed, Alehe poliophrys, Ruwenzori Apalis Apalis ruwenzorii, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Ruwenzori Batis, Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer, Batis diops, Ruwenzori Nightjar Caprimulgus ruwenzorii, Archer’s Robin-chat Cossypha archeri, Dusky Crimson Wing, Shelley’s Crimsonwing Handsome Francolin, Cryptospiza jacksoni, Francolinus nobilis, Cryptospiza shelleyi, Red-collared Babbler, Hemitesia neumanni, Kupeornis rufocinctus, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher Melaenornis ardesiacus, Regal Sunbird Cinnyris regius and Neumann’s Warbler.

Nyungwe forest stretches up to 3000 meters in elevation above sea level which sustains a number of wildlife on this varied ecosystem.

The forest has a good number of Chimpanzees and Angola colobus. It has other primate dwellers including; L’Hoest’s Monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti), Silver Monkey (Cercopithecus doggetti), Adolf Friedrich’s Angola, Colobus (Colobus angolensis ruwenzori), Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus kandti), Red-tailed Monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius), Hamlyn’s Monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), Dent’s Mona Monkey (Cercopithecus denti), Grey-cheeked Mangabey (Lophocebus albigena). Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), and Olive Baboon (Papio anubis).

Being the largest tract of montane forest in Central Africa and having survived the last ice age, Nyungwe is one of the Africa’s ancient forests with great floral diversity.

It contains over 200 tree species, a range of flowering plants not forgetting splendid giant lobelia and a batch of flamboyant orchids.

At 2950 m encounter sub alpine vegetation dominated by bamboo, shrubs Species such as Podocarpus, Phillipia, bamboo, Erica johnstonii; At 2500 m dominated by upland trees species including; Podocarpus, Syzygium, Macaranga, Balthacaria, Hagenia; At 2250 m dominated by tree ferns and tall trees Species including; Carapa, Entandophragma, Newtonia, Polycscias, Symphonia, Cyathea manniana; At 1900 m dominated by taller trees species including; Carapa, Newtonia, Engtandophragma, Prinaria exelsium, Cyathea manniana. Epiphytes like mosses, ferns, orchids and other plants exist high in the trees a pure feature of moist mountain rainforests. Entandrophragma excelsum or African mahogany is one of the largest trees in the forest.

Tourist Activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Ranging from the multitude of attractions available in Nyungwe forest national park, tourists have enormous activities that they can participate in while on safari in Rwanda. These include;

This activity is supported by a number of 13 trails designed to unleash different forest landscapes and its rich biodiversity.

Some of these trails include; Igishigishi, Bugufi, Mount Bigugu, Umuyove, Umugote, Kamiranzovu swamp, Rukuzi, Imbaraga, Uwinka via swamp, Congo Nile divide, Karamba, Isumo, Irebero, Rukungu, Mwumba, Ngabwe and Rutovu. Some can be described below;

The colored trails; These are seven in number with distinct colors. They provide a broad exploration of the forest thus offering opportunity to view a range of primates and species of birds.

These hiking trails stretch from grey colored 1 km trail to a 10 km Red trail all worth encountering while on Rwanda safari.

The waterfall trail; This Rwanda safari active offer stretches from 3 – 6 hours in consideration of ones en route stops.

It allows one on Rwanda safari to experience the roaring falls in an environment surrounded by birds, primates like monkeys, and a lush of this pre historic forest.

Kamiranzoru trail; Hiking this 4km trail can cost you over 3 hours experiencing the down boggy areas with popular sights of orchids and swamp bird species.

Bigugu trail; This is an ascending trail with the interest to hike the peak of Bigugu which is over 2,950m high making it the highest Nyungwe point. It provides an impressive scenic view once on the trail head.

Launched on October 2010, this Rwanda safari offer is the first of its kind in East Africa. Nyungwe canopy walk is carried out on a strong built platform which stretches over 90m with 50m above the ground.

It provides a clear view of biodiversity dwelling in the higher levels of the forest coupled with aerial views of the forest land scape.

This Rwanda safari activity is organized by Uwinka visitor center. The activity can be conducted in the morning and in the afternoon and it lasts for 1 – 2 hours.

This is one of the rewarding activities on Rwanda safari. Encounter the range of 13 species of primates that find their dwelling in this ancient forest.

Encountering chimpanzees man’s closest relative is in it’s a rewarding encounter. The chimp trekking experience exposes you to green jungle of Nyungwe passing through mature trees where these apes roll themselves and swing from branch to branch as the young ones display their playful tactics.

The amazing sounds will leave you with a taste of wonder. This activity is conducted in the morning and lasts 2 – 6 hours.

The prehistoric forest of Nyungwe has the largest grouping of Colobus monkeys in Africa. It is an amazing wonder to come across a piece of forest filled by these primate species as they play hide and seek with their stunning skin color.

The activity is quite rewarding and is conducted in the morning lasting between 2 -5 hours.

This activity of Rwanda safari in Nyungwe forest leaves every traveller mesmerized. With over 154 species of which 8 are endemic to the nation of Rwanda, Nyungwe provides a great opportunity for orchid ogling since it contains the highest number of this great flora.

Getting There

Accommodations in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Safari Lodges in Nyungwe Forest National Park | Safari Hotels in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Gisakura Guesthouse.

This overnight facility is situated over 2 km outside the forest park of Nyungwe adjacent to the tea estate of Gisakura.

It offers budget yet comfortable accommodation in its double, twin and triple rooms. The rooms have showers with warm water available on request. The guest house also has a restaurant.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge.

This is a luxury lodge adjacent to Nyungwe forest national park amidst the tea plantation. The lodge features luxury rooms and suites.

Lodge Amenities.

  • Swimming pool
  • Fitness center
  • Conference facilities
  • Bar and lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Laundry
  • Internet

Room Amenities

  • Air conditioner.
  • Fire place
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • En-suite bathroom with indoor shower
  • Wireless Internet connection.
  • Private mini bar
  • Hairdryer
  • International electric adaptors
  • Private deck
  • International dial telephones
  • Digital TV.

Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel

Situated on top of the hill, Nyungwe Top Hill Lodge is an excellent overnight offering on Rwanda safari. It has elegant accommodation offered in its 12 units of which 4 are twins while 8 are apartments with queen sized beds all of which are self-contained.

The lodge has a restaurant, bar and a fire place. Accommodation arrangements can stretch from bed and breakfast to Full board.


This option is available to avail camp liking travelers on Rwanda safari to enjoy their stay.Various campsites exist at the following areas;

Uwinka visitor center.

Two campsites are available with a toilet, shower and tents. Canteen provides eats and drinks while water and firewood are provided on request.

Wilderness Campsites

These offer opportunities to spend a night in the park. These are situated along the trails and are basic. Night guide is necessary who can also help you out with fire wood collection. Own water is recommended. Tents and sleeping bags are personally arranged including food.

Mt. Bigugu peak.

A campsite at the top of Mount Bigugu- the highest point in the park has the capacity of 4 people at a time. Own water recommended.

Congo-Nile Divide Trail

This geographical spread has 3 campsites providing camping services to travelers on Uganda safari.