Where to go

Nyungwe National Park

One of Africa's greenest and oldest forests!

Nyungwe Forest Lodge
Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests and sat in the southwest pocket of Rwanda, is the breathtakingly beautiful Nyungwe National Park and Forest. This lush and vibrant green rainforest covers over 1,000 square kilometres and its dense bamboo, grasslands, tea plantations, swamps and bogs make the perfect home for a diversity of wildlife – from chimpanzees to rare species of bird.

The forest is generally untouched as it is a high-altitude, mountainous rainforest. There are few settlements, few hotels and properties, and consequently few visitors… which is what makes the forest so idyllic and pleasingly peaceful. The forest homes habituated chimpanzees and 12 or so other primate species (including black and white colobus monkeys). Nyungwe is also a haven for birders paradise, with over 300 species that can be spotted on guided bird walks.

There are several activities that you can do in and around this picturesque rainforest. Its location, only 4 to 5 hours from the capital, Kigali, makes it easy to combine with other destinations across Rwanda. Trekking and guided walks are by far the most popular, with the length and difficulty of the walk tailored to each guest. Exploring by foot allows you to see the most untouched parts of the rainforest, passing waterfalls and lush green mountains.

Trekking for the habituated chimpanzees of the Nyungwe National Park begins early in the morning and in groups of no more than eight people. As with the mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park, once the chimps are tracked, the group has only one hour with them. Although the guides are extremely knowledgeable and experienced, sightings of the chimpanzees are not as reliable as the mountain gorillas as the rainforest is so dense.

For a different perspective of the forest, visitors should do the Canopy walk which hangs 50 metres from the ground in the midst of the giant trees. The hanging walkway is 200 metres long and offers panoramic views across the misty forest, spotting monkeys and birds along the way!

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    At a glance... Nyungwe National Park

  • Size 970 square kilometres
  • Location Northern Tanzania, NW of Arusha
  • Recommended time 2 to 4 nights
  • Time to visit Year round
  • Safari Activities Trekking to see the chimpanzees, guided walks and birding, canopy walk
  • Topography Rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps
  • Main species Chimpanzees, other species of monkeys, birds
  • Further reading...

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