Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in In the southwest of Rwanda, an enormous tropical forest with a high canopy. Access is easy, but start on one of the guided walking/hiking trails and you’ll rapidly realise just how big it is. Tall old mahoganies, ebonies and giant tree ferns tower above you, whilst orchids and other epiphytes cling to every branch. Brightly coloured birds flit around, butterflies are everywhere, and walking quietly you may encounter larger forest residents.
Nyungwe Forest is, in fact, the largest swathe of montane forest left in East or Central Africa. It harbours about 275 different birds, hundreds of butterflies and orchids, and over 75 different species of mammals – including 13 primates (about a quarter of all Africa’s primates).
Many visitors are attracted to Nyungwe by its 13 species of primates including chimpanzees (humankind’s closest living relative), the ruwenzori colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey and golden monkey. The Forest is one of the World’s most important ornithological sites with 300 species of birds, some of which are highly endangered and remain only within this area. The ruwenzori turaco, Ross’s turaco, blue-headed and regal sunbirds, hornbills and hoopoes can all be seen.
The forest walks here are excellent, lasting from one to six or seven hours. We can arrange for you to track chimpanzees, or search for Ruwenzori colobus monkeys, which can be found here in troupes of several hundred. Other primates such as the l’Hoest’s monkey and the grey-cheeked mangabey are often sighted as well. The birds are spectacular, though as in most tropical forests, you’ll have to look hard for them. Giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrowhawks are amongst the specials, of which 24 are endemic to this section of the Rift Valley.