Nyungwe Forest National Park

About Nyungwe Forest

The Nyungwe rainforest is located in southwestern Rwanda, at the border with Burundi, to the south, and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The Nyungwe rainforest is probably the best preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa. It is located in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the basin of the river Nile to the east. From the east side of the Nyungwe forest comes also one of the branches of the Nile sources that greatly supply the area with fresh water.

Wildlife in the Nyungwe forest

Covering an area of approximately 970 km2 of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs, Nyungwe Forest National Park is Rwanda’s most important area of biodiversity, with no fewer than 1000 plant species, 13 species of primates, 75 species of other mammals, at least 275 species of birds this makes it to be a birder paradise and an astounding 120 species of butterflies. It has been rated the highest priority for forest conservation in Africa and its protected area covers one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. Despite its huge biodiversity, Nyungwe is little known outside of East Africa, but is a great fort with over 1000 different biodiversity of much kind of species.

Nyungwe forest has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa and number one rainforest in Rwanda. The forest is situated in a region in which several large-scale biogeographically zones meet and the variety of terrestrial biomes provides a great span of microhabitats for many different species of plants and animals.

Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed. The forest, which reaches its maximum altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Angola colobus (Colobus angolensis), the latter now extinct in Angola for the intense hunt to which they were subjected.


In 1903, Nyungwe was declared a forest reserve by the German colonial government with restrictions on clearing. This status was maintained by the Begins after World War I. Protection was not consistently enforced.

From 1958-1973, Nyungwe was reduced by over 150 km² due to fires, woodcutting, hunting of animals, and small-scale agriculture. Nearby Gishwati and Virunga forests were cut in half at this time. In 1969, elephants still numbered in the hundreds in Nyungwe. In 1974, the last buffalo was killed in Nyungwe by hunters.

In 1984, Nyungwe was divided into areas that allow for sustainable use and harvesting of timber. The Government of Rwanda develops a plan for a buffer zone that can still be seen today. In 1984, biodiversity surveys conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) with RDB documented colobus in groups of up to 400 members—an unheard of phenomenon. In 1987, development of the trail system began at Uwinka.

In 1994, war and genocide devastated the country and destroyed many of the research and tourist facilities in Uwinka. Most senior staff were forced to flee, but many junior staff members at Nyungwe stayed on to protect the park. The park began to rebuild in 1995, but security and stability were still uncertain. In 1999, the last elephant in Nyungwe was killed in the swamp by poachers.

In 2004, the Rwandan Government makes Nyungwe an official National Park, giving it protected status, the highest level of protection in the country.

Primates in the forest

The 13 primates which can easily be sited on your primate safari tour in the forest either during trekking, or nature walks includes; Common chimpanzee, Angola colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, and Grey-cheeked mangabey. Having an estimated 500 chimpanzees.

Number of waterfalls does exist within this great rainforest park of Nyungwe which could give you a stunning environment on your visit.

Quite a number of tourism activities can be undertaken here on your visit to this great might forest during your safari. Some of the activities include.

  • Canopy walk
  • Primate trekking
  • Hiking through the trail
  • Biking safaris
  • Tea estate visit
  • Walking safari
  • Bird watching
  • Butterfly watching
  • Nature walks
  • Community visit.
  • Camping

Having received official national-park status in 2004 and a great deal of support from the World Conservation Society, Nyungwe Forest National Park is now setting its sights on becoming one of East Africa’s leading ecotourism destinations.

Community projects around Nyungwe

  • Revenue Sharing and Outreach projects
  • Bee-Keeping Associations
  • Handicraft Associations
  • Rural Electrification Project
  • Community Tourism Project
  • Community Tourist Lodge Project
  • Energy Efficient Stoves

Handicrafts and beverages purchased by tourists create local income and the Rwanda Development Board gives a portion of park revenue to surrounding communities, who help protect the forest.


In case you’re interested to visit to visit Nyungwe forest, do not look elsewhere further, Rwanda Eco Company and Safari, can organize and plan for you something that will be of your interest as you would want it. Just send us an inquiry we shall get back to your shortly with your requested.

In a nutshell, Nyungwe forest park is ideal for short visits and is very ideal for watching primates, birds, nature walks and hiking.