NYUNGWE FOREST

NYUNGWE FOREST

Located in the southwest corner of the country. Nyungwe is a vast untouched tropical rainforest rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful.  Tucked away in the middle of tea plantations Nyungwe forest is probably the most preserved forest in Africa. Some say it is the most important site for biodiversity in Rwanda.

 Tall ancient mahogany and ebony trees tower above. Closer to ground, the forest is home to 75 mammal species including 13 primate’s species. Though chimpanzees and golden monkeys tend to be the highlight, treks to see the Grey-Cheeked Mangabeys, Angola Colobus and L’Hoest’s Monkey are equally rewarding.

HIGHLIGHTS

THE CANOPY WALK

The only one of its kind in East Africa, the canopy walk is a must on a visit to Nyungwe. At 200m long and 50 meters above the ground it can be dizzying heights for some people, but the views of the forest are breath-taking. There are chances of spotting the monkeys moving around in the treetops. The birds flying above and below you is a wonderful sight. This is a thrilling experience for many, though trekking through the rainforest to the canopy walk, and back is a hike! Whether novice or experienced, Nyungwe’s steep landscape makes it as an ideal destination for hikers. The park boasts an extensive network of scenic hiking trails.

CHIMPANZEE TRACKING

Nyungwe is home to one of East Africa’s last intact populations and boasts two wild chimpanzee troops that welcome guests. Sociable creatures, chimpanzees live in extended communities and move around every day, foraging for food or occasionally hunting smaller mammals. They build fresh nests in the trees each night. It is common to hear the chimpanzees before seeing them, with their vocalizations reverberating through the forest as they call to each. Tracking starts early, at 5.30am, and can last anything from an hour to several hours depending on where the chimps are – visitors spend a maximum of one hour with them once they are found.

TEA PLANTATIONS

On the fringes of Nyungwe, there are two tea plantations, Gisove and Gisakura, which offer daily tours. Both sit on the edge of the park, where the meticulous rows of tea draw a sharp contrast with the wild forest greenery just behind them.

KING’S PALACE & MUSEUM

Travelling by road to Nyungwe Forest, the King’s Palace and Museum is a great stop-over. Located in Rwanda’s Nyanza ya Butare district and approximately a 2½ hour drive from Kigali – you’re then a 2 hour drive down to Nyungwe Forest. The palace and museum were the traditional seat of Rwanda’s kingdom. This historical location was of key importance during the colonial era. The ancient palace has been reconstructed in Rukari and visitors can now explore the replica King’s Palace, built using traditional materials and methods. Take a guided tour and learn about the evolution of farming and building through the centuries, and then venture into the grounds to meet the beautiful long-horned cows, known as Inyambo, which are part of the royal heritage, used in many important ceremonies.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park is during the drier months of June to August or December to January. Even though June to August or December to January are categorically referred to as drier months – it still does rain the Nyungwe Forest National Park almost all year around, as Nyungwe is a tropical rainforest

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