Nyungwe Forest National Park

Located in the south-western corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is an expanse of 970 sqkm of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs that constitutes the largest remaining ‘island’ of mountain forest in East and Central Africa.

The heart of Nyungwe Forest is famous for the variety of its flora, counting over 200 types of trees, hundreds of flowering plants and over 100 species of orchids. Visitors are struck by the tall old mahoganies, ebonies and giant tree ferns that tower above them, with orchids and other exotic plants clinging to the branches.

Wildlife enthusiasts will also not be disappointed as the fauna is equally rich and varied, with brightly coloured birds (part of the 300 species there, which include 24 Albertine Rift endemics, such as the spectacular Ruwenzori turaco, and several iridescent birds), multi-coloured butterflies and 13 species of primates recorded in the forest (including Angola colobus monkeys, which move in troops of several hundred, and an estimated 500 chimpanzees).

This national park is also a hiker’s paradise. There are 13 hiking trails with over 130 kilometres of trails through the forest. Visitors can spend a good week hiking the many trails as they explore the ancient rainforest and discover its many habitants.

Private hikes are from one to eight hours in length, and only require visitors to be in a reasonable physical shape. Using the visitors’ input, the local specialised guides then tailor the hikes to the length desired for comfort and ability in order to focus on the wildlife that the visitors would like to observe as their priority.