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Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the southwest corner of Rwanda, near the border with Burundi. It’s about a five hour drive from Kigali and if you’re coming from the capital city you can visit the King’s Palace Museum at Nyanza and the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda (Rwanda National Museum) in Butare Town en-route.
Covering an area of over 1,000km², Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife, and it’s a birder’s paradise with over 300 species of bird. Nyungwe is renowned for its primate population - 13 different primate species can be found in the forest, including chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkeys, and Rwenzori colobus monkeys which can often be seen in troops of several hundred!
Nyungwe Forest offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy an array of adventure, wildlife and cultural experiences – including hiking along the colour-coded walking trails (there are over 130km of walking trails ranging from a gentle 2km stroll through the forest on the Buhoro Trail, to a more challenging 10km trek up steep forested slopes on the Imbaraga Trail), tracking chimpanzees and Rwenzori colobus monkeys in their natural habitat, spotting beautiful birds and butterflies, experiencing the suspended canopy walkway, discovering spectacular waterfalls, and visiting local communities such as Kitabi Cultural Village and Banda Village.
Nyungwe Forest National Park can be visited at any time in the year. You can track chimpanzees throughout the year, although the best times are during the rainy seasons from March to May and October to November. During the rainy season the fruit ripens and this brings the chimps down to the lower reaches of the forest canopy making them easier to locate, however during the dry season the chimps often venture deep into the forest interior in search of food.
If you’re specifically interested in hiking with Nyungwe Forest the best time to visit is during the dry season as the paths are less muddy and slippery and conditions are much more favourable for exploring the various walking trails.
On our Rwanda Highlights Holiday you’ll have an opportunity to trek along Nyungwe’s lush forest paths with expert guides in search of the famous chimps and the distinctive black-and-white Rwenzori colobus monkeys! There are no guarantees that you’ll see chimpanzees, however sightings are very common and guides are extremely skilful in tracking them.
You’ll also be able to experience cultural activities around the forest, including a visit to Kitabi Cultural Village which promotes community-based tourism by involving local communities in the preservation of Rwanda’s culture and heritage.
Our recommended property within Nyungwe Forest National Park is One & Only Nyungwe House. This luxurious lodge, situated within a tea plantation on the edge of the park, offers impressive views of the rainforest canopy and the surrounding mountains. Accommodation comprises of 15 King bedded luxury rooms, seven Twin bedded luxury rooms, and two King bedded suites. All rooms and suites are forest facing and they all have wood burning stoves as well as air conditioning.