One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is a vast untouched tropical rainforest with a high, dense canopy. Nyungwe forest is one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests covering over 1000 square meters. It is believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age, which explains its diversity.
It is home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates’ species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.
Hiking or even biking the beautiful terrain, tracking the famous chimpanzees, experiencing the canopy walk, witnessing beautiful birds, relaxing by waterfalls are just a glimpse of activities that Nyungwe offers.
Sounds and views collaborate to create a one-of-a-kind wildlife experience. Exploring through the forest, travelers will witness the lush green mountains and cooling mist in a landscape that won’t be soon forgotten.
Walking in this evergreen forest, offers a opportunities to see some of the 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids. The bird watching experience in Nyungwe is among the best in Africa with 322 bird species including Red-collared Babbler and 29 other Albertine Rift Endemic species. Butterflies are also a common sight, with at least 120 species.
Primate tracking in Nyungwe Forest; Nyungwe is an ideal destination for lovers of primates, with 13 different species living here, and most visitors will go for at least one tracking experience, the most popular being chimpanzee trekking. Starting very early in the morning, chimps are tracked in groups of eight and just like with the mountain gorillas, you will have just one hour in their company once they’ve been located. Sightings aren’t as reliable or as clear as gorillas however, since they often remain in dense forest, but their engaging playfulness and human-like characteristics make the long day worthwhile.
Trekking in search of grey-cheeked mangabey and Rwenzori colobus monkeys is also on offer in Nyungwe Forest, the latter of which can be found here in troops of several hundred. And there’s no need to trek far to see l’Hoest’s monkeys – you will often see them ambling along the roadside as you drive past.
Much as Nyungwe is popular for Primate tracking, it’s got lots more activities than that! Forest hiking trails in Nyungwe; The forest has got over 130 kilometres of hiking routes, allowing visitors to explore its interior and its fascinating habitats. Walking in Nyungwe is excellent, with trails lasting from one to eight hours. The beautifully named Igishigishigi Trail is one of the shortest hikes yet includes East Africa’s highest canopy walk with spectacular views across Nyungwe Forest, while the 6-hour Bigugu Trail leads you to the highest mountain in the Park at 2950m.
Canopy Walkway: To get a real sense of the scale of Nyungwe, try East Africa’s highest canopy walk with a metal bridge suspended 50 metres above the forest. It’s not for the vertiginous but the views of Nyungwe sprawled out below are unforgettable.
The 160m long and 50m high suspension bridge is accessible as part of a guided tour along the Igishigishigi trail, or to those hiking the Imbaraga or Umuyove trails.
Along the hour’s walk to the canopy walkway from the Uwinka Reception Centre, visitors will see countless butterflies, orchids and colourful birds, including many endemics to the region.
While on a canopy walk, you will definitely have an encounter with some of primates! How about booking a short trip purely dedicated to Rwanda primate tracking?
The steep forested slopes in Nyungwe have well-maintained footpaths but can be muddy especially after rain. You therefore have to dress right. Check out our travel notes for ideas on what to pack and wear.
Here are some of Adventure consults packages that have Nyungwe as part of the Rwanda Safari.
• Rwanda Primate Ramble.
• Ultimate Rwanda.
• Nyungwe escape – for more than Chimps.