Nyungwe national park covers one of the most ancient equatorial rain forests in Africa. Nyungwe is Rwanda’s largest national park covering 924,000 hectares; This Park currently inhabits 13 primate species most of which are chimpanzees and the rare Angolan colobus monkeys, 75 mammal species, 275 bird species most of which are forest birds, 120 butterfly species and over 1000 butterfly species. Nyungwe forest is primarily a habitat to endangered IUCN list primates like the chimpanzee, Angolan colobus, Rwenzori colobus, Silver monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, golden monkey, Owl faced monkey, red tailed monkey, crowned monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, Grey-cheeked mangabey. Resident nocturnal primates include bush babies and pottos.
A safari to Nyungwe forest will open yo to quite a good number of avian species and is an important ornithological site with currently over 280 recorded bird species. The habitat specializes in forest specialists and regional endemics. Resident species include: paradise flycatcher, drab Chubb’s Cisticola, the red throated Alethe and green pigeon, forest hornbills, the great blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, red breasted sparrow hawk and white headed wood hoopoe.
Birding and primate walks can be made on any of Nyungwe’s well-maintained walking trails. Follow the Uwinka and Colored trails to encounter the troop of over 400 habituated colobus monkeys. The Angolan colobus, black fly catcher and Rwenzori Turaco can only be located on the water falls trail. A resident troop of around 40 Rwenzori colobus monkeys can be found on the Gisakura tea estate patch. The Kamiranzovu Trail goes through a relatively low-lying marshy area rich in orchids and localized swamp-associated bird species.
Hiking is also possible on the 2,950 m Bigugu peak, which is the highest point in Nyungwe national park. This trail is only advisable for experienced hikers since it usually takes at least six hours to complete. A fresh water spring on mount Bigugu is of great geographical significance as possibly the most remote source of the world’s longest river.
It’s advisable to carry rain gear in the rainy season, jeans or khaki trousers, heavy t-shirts, strong hiking boots, a light lunch and plenty of water on any of your hikes in Nyungwe.