In the southwest corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a vast untouched tropical rainforest with a high, dense canopy. Nyungwe became a National Park in 2004 as Rwanda sought to increase its tourism beyond the country’s mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, and is certainly worthy of its status because of its spectacular biodiversity.

The heart of Nyungwe Forest is like a scene from a fairy tale. Tall old mahoganies, ebonies and giant tree ferns tower above you, whilst orchids and other epiphytes cling to every branch. Brightly colored birds flit around, butterflies are everywhere, and walking quietly you may even encounter larger forest residents, including a variety of primates for which Nyungwe National Park is renowned.

To get a real sense of the scale of Nyungwe, try East Africa’s highest canopy walk with a metal bridge suspended 50 meters above the forest. It’s not for the vertiginous but the views of Nyungwe sprawled out below are unforgettable.

 

Wildlife in Nyungwe Forest

Spreading over 1,020km², Nyungwe Forest National Park includes the largest swathe of remaining montane forest in East or Central Africa. It harbors about 310 different bird species, hundreds of butterflies and orchids, and over 75 different species of mammals – including 13 primates (about a quarter of all Africa’s primates).

 

Accommodation in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe House

Nyungwe House, previously known as Nyungwe Forest Lodge, lies in a beautiful location on the edge of Nyungwe Forest National Park, in south-west Rwanda

Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel

Opened in 2011, the unassuming Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel is located just five minutes’ drive off a main road, on top of a steep hill with views across numerous tea plantations; it has easily the most beautiful views in the Nyungwe Forest area. With its proximity to the headquarters of Nyungwe Forest National Park, it is a good base for trekking to see the chimpanzees and exploring the forest.