Nyungwe Forest National Park

Lying on a surface area of 1 000 km2 of imposing hills in the south-east of Rwanda, the Nyungwe National Park is the greatest reserve and one of the oldest high altitude forests in the Eastern Africa. It existed before the last glaciation. Being unique as a result of the diversity of its flora, the forest is a home to 200 different tree species and a myriad of flowers, including the giant lobelia and a number of colored orchids.

Nyungwe is especially renowned for its primates: 13 species on the whole, including the closest ancestors of the human being, chimpanzees, and the magnificent kingfishers as well as the Angolan colobus monkeys, which are agile acrobats. Being the most significant ornithological site of Rwanda, Nyungwe is home to 300 bird species, of which 24 are endemic in some high altitude forests of the Rift.

The most beautiful bird in Nyungwe is the big blue turaco – a bird that has a strange blue color, with red and green feathers, which flutters from tree to tree in psychedelic processions. An important network of well maintained pedestrian tracks takes you through the forest to water falls and panoramic sights. A comfortable and rustic inn and a perfectly well-located camp are located on the main road. You can visit the reserve in one day from Butare or Cyangugu. Nonetheless, Nyungwe requires more time. Anyone wishing to see the chimpanzees or other smaller primate species on the spot will need at least two days – and lovers of ornithology may never want to leave.