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Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe National Park is one of Rwanda’s most prized natural wonders. It offers visitors an immersive experience in one of Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse rainforests. From its rich history to its diverse wildlife and exciting activities. Therefore, Nyungwe is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Background: Nyungwe National Park was established in 2004 to protect one of the largest and oldest remaining montane rainforests in Africa. Spanning approximately 1,019 square kilometers. And again the park is a vital ecological asset, providing water catchment for both the Nile and Congo basins. Its origins date back millions of years, making it a unique and ancient habitat that has survived numerous climatic shifts. This pristine wilderness plays a crucial role in Rwanda’s conservation efforts and sustainable tourism initiatives.


Located in the southwestern corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is nestled near the border with Burundi. Again the park is about 225 kilometers from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. And it makes it accessible via a picturesque drive through the country’s famed “Land of a Thousand Hills.” The park’s varied terrain includes dense rainforests, bamboo groves, grasslands. More so  swamps, and open glades, providing a wide range of habitats for its diverse wildlife.

Wildlife in Nyungwe national Park

Nyungwe National Park is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity. It is a sanctuary for numerous species, including:

  • Primates: The park is home to 13 primate species, making it one of the top destinations for primate tracking in Africa. Key species include chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Angola colobus monkeys, and the Rwenzori colobus, which are seen in large troops.
  • Mammals: Other mammals found in the park include the elusive golden cat, duikers, bushbucks, and civets.
  • Birds: Nyungwe is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 300 recorded bird species. For example rare and endemic species like the great blue turaco, red-collared babbler, and the Ruwenzori turaco.
  • Butterflies: Adding to the park’s vibrant ecosystem are more than 120 butterfly species, showcasing a dazzling array of colors and patterns.

Activities in Nyungwe National Park

Visitors to Nyungwe National Park can engage in a variety of activities that highlight its natural beauty and biodiversity:

  1. Chimpanzee Tracking: One of the park’s main attractions, visitors can join guided treks to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. And these treks offer a unique opportunity to witness these fascinating primates up close.
  2. Canopy Walk: Experience the forest from a different perspective on East Africa’s only canopy walkway, suspended 50 meters above the ground. The walkway offers breathtaking views of the forest canopy and the chance to see wildlife from above.
  3. Guided Nature Walks: With numerous trails winding through the park, visitors can explore diverse landscapes, from waterfalls to swamps. Each trail offers unique sights and the chance to encounter different wildlife species.
  4. Bird Watching: Nyungwe’s rich avian diversity makes it a prime destination for birdwatchers. Guided birding tours can help visitors spot rare and colorful species.
  5. Cultural Encounters: Visitors can also engage with local communities to learn about traditional cultures and lifestyles, adding a cultural dimension to their nature experience.

How to Reach Nyungwe National Park

  • By Car: The most common way to reach Nyungwe is by road from Kigali. And it takes a a drive of approximately 5 to 6 hours. The route is scenic, offering stunning views of Rwanda’s hilly landscape.
  • By Public Transport: Public buses from Kigali to Rusizi or Nyamagabe towns are available, with local transport options to the park.
  • By Tour Operator: Many tour operators like Umarella Voyage safaris offer guided tours. And these include transportation, accommodation, and organized activities within the park.

Best Time to Visit the park

Nyungwe National Park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry seasons. And these are from June to September and from December to February. These periods offer the most accessible trails and optimal conditions for wildlife viewing. However, Nyungwe’s evergreen nature ensures that there is always something to see, regardless of the season.

In conclusion, Nyungwe National Park offers an enchanting blend of natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and thrilling activities, making it a top destination for anyone looking to experience the wonders of Rwanda’s rainforests. Whether you’re tracking chimpanzees, walking through the canopy, or simply soaking in the serene beauty of the forest, Nyungwe promises an unforgettable adventure. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the magic of one of Africa’s most captivating natural reserves.

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