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Home » Rwanda National Parks » Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda Safaris – Nyungwe National Park Safari

Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda Safaris – Nyungwe National Park Safari

Rwanda safaris to Nyungwe Forest National Park (Nyungwe National Park safari tours) take you to the 2nd must-visit tourist destination in Rwanda prominently known for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda safari tours and forest canopy walking.

Spanning over 1,019 km2 in southwestern Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park Rwanda safari is one of the oldest rain forests in Africa and the largest expanse forest in Rwanda. Nyungwe Park features several picturesque vegetation zones including the dense Afro montane forest, bamboo zone, grasslands & and wetlands.

Due to the various rich habitats of Rwanda Nyungwe Forest Park, it is blessed with a wide diversity of wildlife! For example, this park holds several primate species including Chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Vervet Monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, and Baboons, among others.

If you’re a bird lover, Nyungwe Park offers the best birding-watching tours in Rwanda! Over 345 bird species have been recorded here including 29 Albertine Rift endemics such as Red-throated Alethe, Rwenzori Turaco, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, etc.

Botanists can spot about 1,068 plant species in Nyungwe Park, 140 Orchids, and 120 species of Butterflies. Lucky visitors on nature walk adventures in Nyungwe Park Rwanda can spot Serval cats, Congo clawless otters, Mongoose, and Leopards.

For a notable trip in Rwanda, top-up Rwanda gorilla tours on your Nyungwe Park safari! Other must not miss activities in Nyungwe Park are chimpanzee tracking expeditions, canopy walk experience, birding, monkey tracking, and nature walks.

Below, Let’s Explore Rwanda Nyungwe Park The More

Best Attractions in Nyungwe Forest National Park- What is the Main Attraction in Nyungwe National Park?

Nyungwe Forest National Park Park holds various attractions including lovely primates, colorful bird species, beautiful vegetation as well as other amazing wildlife.

These are the major attractions in Nyungwe Park:

1. Amazing Primate Species in Nyungwe Park

With a small population of Chimpanzees, Nyungwe Park is home to over 13 primates. Usually, these attractive primates are spotted during guided walks, or even while on birding tours.

Below is a list of 13 primate species in Nyungwe Park:

    1. Chimpanzees

    2. Red tailed Monkey

    3. L’Hoest’s Monkeys

    4. Vervet Monkeys

    5. Olive Baboons

    6. Silver Monkeys

    7. Dent’s Mona Monkeys

    8. Owl Faced Monkeys

    9. Hamlyn’s Monkey- rare

    10. Grey-cheeked mangabey

    11. Black and white Colobus Monkeys

    12. Ruwenzori black and white colobus

    13. Bush babies

2. Incredible Bird Species in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Park is a prominent birding destination for bird lovers on Rwanda birding tours.

Several birding tour guides refer to Rwanda Nyungwe Park as one of the best bird-watching areas on the African continent!

In this spectacular exceptional landscape- Nyungwe Forest National Park, over 345 bird species have been recorded. Among these include over 29 Albertine Rift endemics and many others.

Notable birds in Nyungwe Forest National Park include:

    • Rwenzori Turaco
    • Great Blue Turaco
    • Regal Sunbird
    • Albertine Owlet
    • Red-throated Alethe
    • Strange Weaver
    • Dwarf honeyguide
    • Kivu Ground Thrush
    • Handsome francolin
    • Bar-tailed Trogon
    • Red-faced woodland warbler
    • Yellow-eyed black Flycatcher
    • Purple-breasted Sunbird
    • Abyssinian Ground-Thrush
    • Archer’s Robin-chat
    • Black-faced Apalis
    • Dusky Crimsonwing
    • Pin-tailed Whydah
    • White tailed crested Flycatcher


3. The Breathtaking Canopy Walkway

Indeed, the Nyungwe canopy walkway is a lovely attraction worth exploring on your visit to Nyungwe Forest National Park.

This incredible canopy walkway (one of a kind in East Africa) suspends above a stunning lush montane rainforest of Nyungwe Forest National Park.

The best way to explore this wonderful canopy walkway is by undertaking the Nyungwe forest canopy walk! Expect to enjoy jaw-dropping views of ancient treetops, Lake Kivu, as well wildlife- primates, magnificent birds, Orchids, and many colorful butterflies.

Best Nyungwe National Park Activities-What Are Activities That Are Done in Nyungwe National Park?

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Due to several safari activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park, all visitors should expect a memorable safari experience on their visit to this scenic park.

Here are the top activities in Nyungwe Forest National Park:

1. Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Among the top things to do in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Chimpanzee trekking ranks as the best. Chimpanzee tracking is an extraordinary safari experience allowing you to visit amazing man’s close cousins- chimps in their natural habitat.

According to science, these intelligent humanlike primates- Chimpanzees share over 98-99% of their DNA similar to humans. They live in communities of over 20 to over 150 members however, they spend most of their time roaming in small temporary groups.

Over 400 chimpanzees have been recorded in Nyungwe Forest National Park and out of these, 3 chimpanzee communities are habituated, and open for chimpanzee Rwanda Safaris.

There are three reception centers where all chimpanzee trekking tours in Nyungwe Park. Among these include Gisakura, Kitabi, and Uwinka reception centers. After, you’ll meet the rangers and embark on a chimp trek in the jungle to search for these amazing man’s cousins.

On spotting Chimps, you’ll be limited to 1 hour with them. You’ll learn about their amazing behaviors, and watch them swinging in trees, feeding, breastfeeding, as well as mating. You’re free to take photos and videos.

During your chimpanzee tracking expedition in Nyungwe Park, be expectant to encounter other primates like Baboons, Vervet Monkey, Colobus Monkeys, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, etc.

Chimpanzee trekking is among the most remarkable adventures in Africa. The chimp trek takes about 2-5 hours.

Best Time for Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe chimpanzee trekking tours are best done during the dry months- (June-August and December-February). In these months, chimpanzee tracking trails are drier as less rainfall is normally received in Nyungwe Park.

Note that, chimp treks in Nyungwe Park remain possible all year!

Cost For Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park- How Much Does It Cost to Trek Chimps in Nyungwe?

    Visitor’s Category          Fees
International Visitors          $150
Foreign Residents          $57
Rwandan/East African Citizens          $25

Note that, chimp tracking in Nyungwe takes place in Cyamudongo forest- an isolated patch that was annexed to Nyungwe NP to emphasize its importance in the region.

2. Nyungwe Forest Canopy Walk

Undertaking the Nyungwe canopy walk is the best way to explore this great bio-diverse tropical forest in Africa. This suspended canopy walkway is a 70m high steel bridge built above tree tops.

The canopy walkway holds several trails and each is named after the type of trees where it’s found, for example;

  • Igishigishigi Trail (main trail)- meaning Fern trees
  • Umuyove Trail- meaning Mahogany trees
  • Umugote Trail
  • Karamba Trail and,
  • Isumo Trail, etc.

Canopy walks in Nyungwe Forest National Park are divided into 3 walking sections the longest is 90m, the other is 45m and the shortest is 25m high. All of these start at Uwinka Visitors Center, taking about 2 hours each.

On the walk, you’ll enjoy dazzling views of Nyungwe Forest, several gorgeous bird species, Lake Kivu, and neighboring local communities. This experience can be ideal for adventurous honeymooners on Rwanda safaris.

Nyungwe Canopy Walk Rwanda Price is $40

3. Bird Watching in Nyungwe Park

Nyungwe Park is a great haven for Rwanda birding tours with about 345 bird species counting 29 Albertine Rift endemic birds. Probably, this rich birdlife is due to its being blessed with several birding habitats such as Afro-montane forest, bamboo-covered slopes, grasslands as well and wetlands.

There are several well-maintained trails for birding tours in Nyungwe Park, for instance, Umugote Trail, Ngabwe Trail, and Isumo Trail.

Some of the most notable birds in Nyungwe Forest to look for include:

  • Red-throated Alethe
  • Great Blue Turaco
  • Pin-tailed whydah
  • White Bellied Robin-chat and,
  • The Blue-headed sunbird is usually found in flowering trees

While birding, you’ll be escorted by an experienced local birding tour guide as well as a ranger who ensures your safety. A camera, binoculars, rain jacket, and insect repellents are key while bird watching in Nyungwe Park.

Morning sessions offer the best birding experience. 

4. Forest Walks in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Park can be dabbed as a hiker’s paradise! This stunning park features over 15 hiking trails all covering about 130km, taking you through different vegetation zones.

Forest walks in Nyungwe Forest National Park can take 1- 8 hours, the choice is yours. However, on any chosen trail, expect to encounter several unique magnificent wildlife species such as primates, birds, butterflies, different flowering plants, and ancient trees.

Popular trails for nature walk expeditions in Nyungwe Park are:

  • Igishigishigi Trail- It’s about 2.1km offering brilliant views of the canopy walkway and dazzling wildflowers.
  • Congo Nile Trail- offers the best hiking experience in East and Central Africa. It takes you through 12 coffee washing stations, 3 tea plantations, several villages, waterfalls, and valleys.
  • Karamba Trail- The Karamba Trail is an easy hike considered the best for bird-watching tours as it’s flanked by Fern trees. It starts from the army camp and takes you to the former gold mining site in Nyungwe NP.
  • Irebero Trail- It loops around 2 of the highest peaks of this park and provides lovely views of Lake Kivu.
  • Imbaraga Trail- The Imbaraga trail is Ideal for experienced hikers! This 10km long trail offers scenic views of 4 waterfalls
  • Rukuzi Trail- It’s an exciting hike offering visitors some chance of spotting Chimpanzees and views of Banda village.
  • Bigugu Trail- The Bigugu trail takes you to the highest peak of Nyungwe NP. On clear days, you can enjoy spectacular views of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands in DRC.

Nature lovers should note that Nyungwe Park forest walks are ideal for both novice and experienced hikers.

5. Monkey Tracking

Since Nyungwe NP holds several primates, some monkeys have been habituated and are also open for Rwanda primate safaris.

For Instance, visitors in Nyungwe Park Can Track:

  • Ruwenzori Colobus Monkeys- the most popular and these monkeys can live in troops of over 300 to 400 individuals.
  • White-cheeked Mangabeys
  • Blue Monkeys

6. Gisakura Tea Plantations Tour

If you have time, Gisakura Tea Plantation “Gisakura Tea Estate” (around this park) is also worth exploring.

On your visit to this tea plantation (set on rolling hills), you’ll enjoy walking through tea fields and encountering local people picking tea leaves and you can try it out also for a remarkable experience.

This lovely agro adventure allows you to learn about the tea growing process as well as harvesting. Expect to have amazing life memories with the locals.

This experience costs $32

Best Time to Visit Nyungwe Forest National Park- When Is the Best Time to Visit Nyungwe Forest National Park?

Travelers can visit Rwanda Nyungwe Park any time of the year but, a dry season in June to August and December to February offers the best experience. During these months, there are minimal rainfall inconveniences in this tropical rainforest park. Therefore, chimpanzee tracking trails are drier.

March, April, May as well as October and November is a rainy season in Nyungwe NP. Some trail points can get muddy.

When you visit Nyungwe NP in the rainy season, most tourist facilities e.g. lodges offer discounts to guests.

How to Get to Nyungwe Forest National Park? | How to Visit Nyungwe National Park?

From Kigali, Nyungwe Park can be accessed by both road and air means however, most travelers usually travel by road using 4×4 Safari Landcruisers for hire, or 4×4 Safari Vans for hire. If interested in hiring a 4×4 safari car for your Rwanda safari, please follow our 4×4 car rental for Uganda and Rwanda page for a good insight

Traveling to Nyungwe by Road

From Kigali International Airport, it’s about 209km taking about 4-5 hours to drive including some optional stopovers like Nyinza Palace, Gikongoro Genocide Memorial, the National Museum, and Arboretum, among others.

Getting to Nyungwe Park by Air

Chartered flights can be offered from Kigali International Airport to Nyungwe NP. You should book in advance.

Nyungwe Park Accommodation

Nyungwe Forest National Park

In Nyungwe Forest National Park, every traveler can get a lodge that suits his budget. They range from budget to midrange, and luxury facilities.

If interested in camping, you should come with your camping equipment though some lodges offer them.

Below are the:

Popular Luxury Lodges In Nyungwe Park

  1. One & Only Nyungwe House
  2. Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Best Midrange Lodges In Nyungwe Park

  1. Mariah Hill Resort
  2. Emeraude Kivu Resort
  3. Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
  4. Golden Monkey Hotel

Common Budget Lodges In Rwanda Nyungwe Park

  1. Gisakura Guest House
  2. Uwinka Visitor Center
  3. Kitabi Eco-center (KEC)
  4. Comoran Lodge

We shall advise you on the best lodge to use after your particular interest.

Rwanda Safari Packing List for Nyungwe Forest National Park

While on your Rwanda safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park, there are some essential items you must not miss on your safari park list!

These include:

  • A camera
  • Binoculars so ideal for bird lovers
  • Comfortable hiking boots
  • Insect repellents to safeguard your body from insect bites
  • Light pack back
  • Rain jacket- helps in case rain finds you on the chimpanzee tracking trail
  • Sun protection gear- i.e. A sunhat, Sunscreens, & sunglasses
  • Bottled water- to keep you hydrated during forest walks
  • Long-sleeved shirts and trousers
  • Walking sticks

More Safari FAQs About Nyungwe Park

1.     Where is Nyungwe Found? 

Nyungwe Park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda on the border with Burundi. It adjoins Kibira National Park to the south, and Lake Kivu and the DRC to the west. This park is about 4-5 hours drive from Kigali.

Rwanda Nyungwe Park is found in the western arm of the Rift Valley that stretches from Lake Albert to Lake Tanganyika.

2.     What Is the Largest Forest in Rwanda?

Nyungwe Forest under the management of Rwanda Development Board is the largest forest in Rwanda covering about 1,019 km2.

3.     What Does Nyungwe Mean?

Nyungwe is one of the most popular and oldest rainforests in Africa! This great biodiverse protected area in southwestern Rwanda is one of the top areas for chimp trekking tours as well as birding tours in Africa.

4.     What Is the Importance of Nyungwe Forest?

Apart from being a lovely site for eco Rwanda safari tours, Nyungwe is also a great water catchment area. It feeds 2 of the world’s incredible rivers; the Congo River and the Nile River.

Also, this protected area provides 70% of fresh water in Rwanda.

5.     What Animals Are Found in Nyungwe National Park?

About 85 mammal species have been recorded in Nyungwe NP. Out of these, 13 are primate species including Chimpanzees, Red-tailed Monkeys, White-cheeked Mangabeys, Vervet Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Bush babies, and L’Hoest’s monkeys.

On rare occasions, a Serval cat, a Congo clawless otter, and a Leopard can be encountered during a nature walk.

Though uncertain, some bloggers have it that Golden Monkeys have been spotted in this park on rare occasions. There are no Mountain gorillas in Nyungwe Park.

6.     What Is Unique About Nyungwe National Park?

This park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa! It holds a rich biodiversity and lush green spectacular scenery worth exploring on your Rwanda safari. Nyungwe is the only place in Rwanda to enjoy chimpanzee tracking tours as well as a canopy walking experience.

We don’t have Mountain gorillas in Nyungwe Park, they are only found in Volcanoes National Park.

7.     How Long Is Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Park?

This canopy walkway is about 160m long and is suspended 70m from the ground, offering great views of the beautiful thick forest canopy. In most cases, guided hikes on this suspension bridge take about 2 hours.

  1. Which Is Better Nyungwe or Kibale?

Although you can track chimps in all destinations; Nyungwe and Kibale Park, chimp trekking safaris in Kibale Forest offers the best experience. Kibale is home to over 1500 Chimpanzees while Nyungwe holds only about 400 chimps.

In Nyungwe Park, there’s no Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, you can only find it in Kibale Forest.

There is no forest canopy walking in Kibale, you can only have this experience in Nyungwe Park.

All sites are great sites for birding tours in Africa.

Undeniably, Nyungwe Park is a tourist destination you shouldn’t miss on your Rwanda tours. This attractive park of Rwanda offers several thrilling safari activities such as chimp trekking, birding, incredible nature walks, and forest canopy walking experiences.

On your visit to Nyungwe Park, expect to encounter several amazing primates in East Africa such as the rare L’Hoest’s Monkey- an endemic species in the Albertine rift region.

Feel Free To Email Us For Any Inquiries About Your Rwanda Safari Tours For A Rewarding Experience.