Nyungwe National Park may not be as well-known as its sister park, Volcanoes, but if there is one place that will encourage you to extend your stay in Rwanda then this is it. In fact really as a trio of parks with Akagera it makes the perfect Rwanda safari experience! Nyungwe is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests and is also one of the oldest on the entire continent. Nyungwe is a remarkable rich centre of biodiversity and protects one of the largest areas of mountain rainforest anywhere in East or Central Africa at nearly 1000 square kilometers. To add to this the park is also the most important catchment area in Rwanda, providing water to 70% of the country, and its central ridges form the watershed between the mighty Nile and Congo drainage systems, within this Mount Bigugu, claimed to be the most remote source of the Nile.
The main attraction in the park is Chimpanzees. Nyungwe is home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal. Nyungwe is home to one of East Africa's last intact populations and boasts two wild chimp communities. Thus, with around 500 Chimpanzees it's not surprising that chimpanzee tracking is a popular activity in Nyungwe, especially when the park's trees are in full bloom during the summer, as well-trained guides lead visitors through the park's forests. Trekking the chimps is quite an experience through this majestic forest, and although very different and not as intimate as the Gorilla trekking, it is a must! We would recommend reading more about the differences between Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking here.
This stunning rainforest is filled with other nature and wildlife experiences too. Hiking the Congo-Nile divide for the most adventurous or even biking the beautiful terrain, and experiencing the canopy walk are all on offer here. Hanging 60 meters above the forest floor between giant trees and towers, this is East Africa's only Canopy Walkway and is an exhilarating way to experience the forest! We recommend Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel to stay at if spending time at Nyungwe. At present this is really the only accommodation option whilst the high-end Nyungwe Forest Lodge undergoes a refurbishment in 2017.
Exploring through the forest, you will witness a landscape that won’t be soon forgotten, this is an area that really is magnificent, and again that off-the beaten track experience we love!!