Nyungwe Forest National Park

Located in the southern part of Rwanda, close to Burundi border. The park was established in 2004, and it covers over 970sqkm. The park is composed of a rain forest, grasslands, bamboo trees, woodland, swamps, and bogs among others. The closest town to the park is Cyangungu that lies in west, just 54km from the park. Within the park boundaries also lies Mount Bigugu along the borders of the park and Nyungwe Forest where the name of the park was derived. The park is also a home to 85 wild animals, including 13 primate species, 32 amphibians, 275 birds, 1068 plant species, and 38 reptile species, among other creatures, that you will enjoy to see once you take on a safari to this park.

How to access the Park

The main point will be Kigali International Airport. From the airport to Kigali its 10km.The main entrance of the park is at Uwinka Cyangungu-Butare Road. Its 55km from Cyangungu and 90km from Butare. You can use public or private means. If private, use a 4×4 wheel drive.

What to carry

You will need to carry the following items on your visit to the park: a mosquito net, hiking boots or shoes, gloves, light clothing, a sun screen, bottled drinking water, first aid kit, snacks, warm clothing, a rain jacket, a guide book, a pair of binoculars, a hat, a good camera with spare charged batteries, a notebook, insect repellent, a water resistant backpack, sun glasses, and so on, depending on the activities you intend to enjoy. Some items can be hired at places of accommodation.

Things to do

Chimpanzee trekking

The park is one of the few that have a home for these humble creatures. The uniqueness of these creatures lies in the fact that they are the closest animals to humans. Their DNA test approximately 98%. Make sure you be part of this activity. Trekking these animals is normally done in the morning. It may be a short or long journey to find them, depending on where they last fed. Sometime it can be tiring, but once you set your eyes on them, you will be filled with pleasure. You will have over an hour with them enjoying their day to day life. You will watch them communicate, disagreeing, fighting and even making up. They are fully habituated although you will have to follow the conservation rules and obligations as you will be briefed before you start the trek.

Monkey Trekking, you may trek any of the monkeys in the park. Golden monkeys are most enjoyed.

Bird watching

The park is a paradise for birds. If you’re a bird lover, you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity of seeing these beautiful creatures especially in the wet season when they are many in the par. Don’t forget to carry your binoculars to enjoy the likes of: Shelley’s Crimsonwing Cryptospiza, Francolin Francolinus nobilis, Ruwenzori Apalis, Ruwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Warbler, hornbills, paradise flycatcher, long tailed blue, orange or white bird, Blue turaco, and Stripe-Breasted Tit, among others will be at your disposal.

Cultural Safari

The locals in the area have rich culture. You will get to know their food, how it’s prepared and also taste it, their way of dressing, learn a few words, they famous, dance, and also interact with them, and study their way of life. You may also support them by buying a souvenir. Communities include: Banda, Kitabi, among others.


The park has various trails that you can explore on your bike. Bikes can be hired at places of residence and at the park, at a supplementary fee. You will enjoys closer views of wildlife, birds, plants, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, primates, and much more.

Mountain Climbing

This will be enjoyed on Mountain Bigugu which lies in the park, it stands at 2950km above sea levels. You will be with your guide o this activity, and no matter where you reach, you will enjoy pleasant views of the park and its surroundings, the higher you go, the better scenic views you will get.


The forest has 13 hiking trails and also trails that run over 130km, don’t mind the distance. The pleasure will be in the variety of nature that you will be exposed too. This activity can be done in one day if you want to explore the beauty of the area. You can dedicate a week to enjoy nature and take a number of trails because all of them lead to different parts of the park and with different kinds of nature. You will see the various species of plants, meet primates, butterflies, other animals, and also see birds. The most common followed trails are Kamiranzoru and Bigugu,


The park is a great camping ground. You can carry your camping equipment and have a feeling of being in the wilderness. The pleasure in this activity is enjoying the sounds of birds and wildlife with in the park, an experience of a lifetime.

Nyungwe Forest Canopy walks

The forest has a canopy which is 50m from the ground and 90km long. Imagine yourself above the trees and in clear contact with the primates and birds. The walk will reward you will amazing views of the forest and its habitants. You will enjoy a photograph moment on this activity.

When to visit the Park

The park can be enjoyed throughout the year but some months are better than other months. The country has two seasons, (dry and wet seasons). It has been noted that the dry season is better as per information below. 

Dry Season (June-September and December-February)

The period is most preferred for there’s little or no rainfall that might disorganize the tour. It’s mostly sunny during this period thus roads and trails are easily accessible compared to the wet season that has a lot of mud and makes it uncomfortable for the tourists.

Chimpanzee trekking is tiresome compared to the wet season. The humble creatures travel a lot. It’s a hit and miss.

It’s the high season of the park with a lot of competition and availability of accommodation contrary to the low wet season where some of the provider’s close.

The period hardly has mosquitoes that could infect malaria to tourists, this is   contrary to the rainy season.

Visitors are cautioned that sometimes weather can be unpredictable, as a safety measure, one need to equip themselves with clothing for all seasons.

Wet Season (October-November and March-May)

The season it characterized of short or long heavy rains. Good news is that even in the rain wildlife can be seen during game drives but not as easily as the dry season. During the rainy season, primates don’t go far and trekking them is very easy.

The early wet season is the peak of migratory birds in the park. Bird lovers storm the park during this season and enjoy the rare bird’s species.

This is a low season and prices are cheaper compared to dry season. The peak of the wet season March-April should be avoided for tourists might not be able to enjoy most of the activities due to heavy rains.


Nyungwe Forest

Located within the park, lies close to the border of Burundi, and The Republic of Congo and also Lake Kivu. It’s one of the best protected rain forests in Central Africa. It lies in the watershed between River Congo and the basin of River Nile in the east. In the eastern part of the forest lies one of the branches of the sources of River Nile. Nyungwe Forest is a home for a number of animal species and birds and thus one of the reasons it was conserved. It lies in a region that has terrestrial biomes and bio geographical zones which provides a lifespan of microhabitats for both animal and plant species. The forest receives over 2000mm of rain each year. You will have to come visit and enjoy what it harbors.


The park is a home for a number of primates. These unique creatures concentrate in this park and you will have pleasant views of them. You will enjoy the likes of chimpanzees, Ruwenzori colobus, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Olive baboon, vervet monkey, red tailed monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, Golden monkey, silver monkey, Angola colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, and Hamlyn’s monkey. All these can be tracked.


Await for the sights and sounds of these flying creatures. The park has over 275 bird species. These can be viewed throughout the year but the early wet season will be the best. Home birds are joined with migratory birds from other continents and it’s just wonderful seeing them. The likes of paradise flycatcher, long tailed blue, orange or white bird, Blue  turaco, Stripe-Breasted Tit, Parus fasciiventer, Shelley’s Crimsonwing Cryptospiza, Francolin Francolinus nobilis, Ruwenzori Apalis, Ruwenzori Batis, Neumann’s Warbler, hornbills, among others will be viewed.


There several accommodation places, hotels and lodges and guest houses within the park on Butare side and also Cyangungu side.


  • One &Only Nyungwe House

Midrange and Budget

  • Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel