​Overview – Nyungwe NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Rwanda.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Rwanda.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Rwanda.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Rwanda.

Nyungwe National Park protects the largest highland rainforest in East Africa. Even from the main road, you’ll be blown away by the endless views over layers of steep jungle-clad mountains. It provides an opportunity to see an amazing variety of monkeys and birds. It’s also a prime chimpanzee trekking destination and notable for its thrilling 70m-/230ft-high canopy walk.

Best Time To Go June to September (Dry weather, best chimp trekking)
High Season June to September (Popular gorilla trekking time in Volcanoes NP)
Size 1,015km² / 392mi²
Altitude 1,629-2,870m / 5,344-9,416ft

Pros & Cons

  • Important highland rainforest with rich biodiversity
  • Has 130km/80mi network of hiking trails
  • Habituated chimpanzees
  • Thirteen primate species recorded
  • The region’s only canopy walk
  • Birder’s paradise with many Albertine Rift endemics
  • Busy main road running through the park
  • Chimpanzee trekking is more difficult than in Tanzania or Uganda

Nyungwe NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Nyungwe has a good variety of forest animals, but it’s the primates that steal the show. Thirteen species are present, including chimpanzees and Ruwenzori colobus monkeys. Both can be tracked on separate activities. Another highlight is the land-dwelling L'Hoest's monkey, which can often be found along the main road and in the campsite.

Scenery

The scenery is nothing less than spectacular. Even a drive on the main road will offer incredible views of the pristine rainforest canopy stretching over endless hills toward the Burundi border. A hike to a forest waterfall or to the vast open swamp area offers different glimpses into the stunning range of habitats.

Activities

Although Nyungwe is bisected by a surfaced road, guided activities are undertaken on foot. These include chimp trekking at Cyamudongo to see humankind's closest relative, and the breathtaking suspended canopy walkway on the Igishigishigi Trail. Numerous other walking trails are available, some rated highly for monkey viewing or bird watching, while others visit scenic waterfalls, mountain summits or landmarks such as the most remote source of the Nile.

Weather & Climate

Nyungwe is a true rainforest, located at high altitude, which results in a wet, cool climate. It can rain at any time, but June to September is considered the Dry season as rainfall is a bit lower during these months. Due to the proximity to the equator, temperatures don’t change much throughout the year, but nighttime temperatures are about 10°C/15°F less than daytime temperatures.

Best Time To Visit

Nyungwe can be visited throughout the year, but waterproof clothing is necessary. General hiking and chimp trekking are usually most enjoyable during the drier months, from June to September. Bird watching is great throughout the year, but best from March to May. Note though that during those months rain can sometimes interfere with activities.

Want To Visit Nyungwe NP?

107 Nyungwe Chimp Tours

Nyungwe NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

A Primate’s Paradise
4/5

Every time I visit Nyungwe, I’m overwhelmed by its scenic beauty. The main road bisects the park and even before you get to your destination, you’ll get some incredible views across the never-ending rainforest extending over rolling...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Christophe Iradukunda  –  
Rwanda RW
Reviewed: Aug 28, 2019
4/5

This is natural forest with intense trees on large scale and high number of birds good looks, and number of wild life is not high because its climate and physical manner.

Full Review