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nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park: Background Info

Nyungwe is the second national park in Rwanda to fall under our management. The park is the largest remaining tract of forest in Rwanda and is nestled in the southwest of the country, bordering Burundi. One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. The mountainous region is teaming with wildlife, including a small population of chimpanzees as well as 12 other species of primate, including the L’Hoest’s monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift. With 15 trails, some of which are detailed here, along with various other activities, visitors can choose to sample the delights of the forest or indulge themselves for a week or more in one of Africa’s most stunning forests. Primate tracking tops most visitor’s list, but it’s worth lingering a little longer for those with time to relax and take in the primal atmosphere.

The park feeds two of the world’s largest rivers, the Congo and the Nile, and provides a significant portion of Rwanda’s freshwater. Over 1,100 recorded plant species, 345 bird species and 85 known mammal species, including 13 of Africa’s primates – notably, chimpanzee, Ruwenzori black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys – are found in this exceptional landscape.

Nyungwe Forest National Park: Destination Preview

nyungwe forest national park

Wildlife

The park has amazing and breathtaking scenery and is a vantage point for picturesque views of the Virungas and the Congo. Nyungwe is nature at its very best. It is lush and beautifully green, often seen with cooling mists in the early mornings and late evening. A total of 86 mammal species have been recorded in Nyungwe National Park, though most are very secretive and rarely encountered. The primates, on the other hand, are Nyungwe’s main attraction, especially the charismatic chimpanzees. Another 12 primate species are present, including olive baboon, l'Hoest's monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, Ruwenzori colobus, silver monkey and owl-faced monkey.

Tracking Nyungwe’s habituated chimpanzees is the prime activity in the park. Another highlight are the unusually large troops of Ruwenzori colobus, counting up to 600 individuals. This unique race of Angola colobus is restricted to the Albertine Rift. Antelope species in the park include the secretive bushbuck and the black-fronted duiker, which is commonly seen on the trails and even along the main road.

Birdlife

Nyungwe National Park is a stunning birding destination. Casual birders will be amazed at the variety of colorful species fluttering around, while dedicated bird-watchers have an opportunity to mark off many lifers. It pays to ask for a specialist birding guide at the park’s headquarters as they can identify many species by call. Of specific interest are the many Albertine Rift endemics and birds unique to the highland forest habitat. Three birds unrecorded elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine Rift are Albertine owlet, red-collared babbler and Rockefeller’s sunbird.

Birding in Nyungwe is excellent throughout the year. Since so much of forest birding depends on calls, the best time is from March to May, when birds are most vocal. From June to September, many birds are feeding their fledglings and keep quiet, only becoming vocally active again in January or February. April is the wettest month and the logistics of birding might become a challenge, as trails get very slippery.

Nyungwe Forest National Park: Location

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