It is a park extending for 1,000 square kilometres across the majestic hills of south east of Rwanda, 1 hour drive from Butare city, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of mountain forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most ancient, dating back before the last Ice Age.
A uniquely rich centre of floral diversity, the forest has more than 200 different types of tree, and a myriad of flowering plants including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colourful orchids.
Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates, 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative the Chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s Monkey and hundred strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola Colobus.
With an extensive network of well-maintained walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. In this trails there is more than 300 spices of birds including 25 spices of endemic to the Albertine Rift which are easily seen there. The avian highlight of Nyungwe is the Great-blue Turaco, the rare Grauer’s Rush Warbler and a quasi-endemic to Nyungwe Forest “Red-collared Mountain Babbler”.
Comfortably rustic guest houses and hotels are found on both sides of the forest these include Kitabi College Guest House on the Eastern side, Gisakura Guest house and Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
Nyungwe Forest Lodge on outside, the western side of Nyungwe. For the campers and night watchers, the perfectly situated campsites lie alongside the main road and inside the forest, at Uwinka and Gisakura receptions. Nyungwe can readily be visited as a day trip from the towns of Butare and Cyangugu.
Nyungwe does, however, deserve more time: anybody who wants to track chimpanzees and see several varieties of smaller primate will need two days and dedicate bird watchers might never want to leave!