Nyungwe Forest

The Nyungwe Forest National Park lies in the south-west Rwanda, close to the southern tip of Lake Kivu. The sole remaining chimpanzee population of Rwanda call Nyungwe home.


The Nyungwe Forest National Park lies in the south-west Rwanda, close to the southern tip of Lake Kivu. The sole remaining chimpanzee population of Rwanda call Nyungwe home. But it also offers exceptional biodiversity and a wide range of endemic flora and fauna as it is one of Africa’s most ancient forests. It is characterized by lush tracts of rainforest set high up on fertile mountain slopes.

Your morning activity is usually an early morning trek to look out for  chimpanzees or Colobus monkeys. The Rwandan chimpanzee population consists of approximately 400-500 individuals, here in the Nyungwe Forest. You’ll probably hear these excitable primates before you see them, as their hoots travel through the deep forest. Alternatively, why not take a half day forest trek in search of the Angolan Colobus monkeys? These can be found in troops of several hundred. Indeed the largest can be up to 450 individuals.  This fair to moderate trek can be adapted to your fitness and lasts up 6 hours. It’s an absolutely amazing experience, to see so many Colobus monkeys – typically 50-60 at a given time.

In the afternoon, you may like to enjoy the thrilling Nyungwe Canopy Walk. This is one of its kind in Rwanda and offers impressive views of the forest.
Besides being so high in such a picturesque location, the 1½ to 2 hour walk allows you to witness the upper parts of the forest. Here you can see some unique ‘canopy’ species; apes, birds, butterflies, plants and insects, flowers, leaves and other animals that live in the roof of the forest. It is an unforgettable experience!

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Madelyn Nieuwoudt

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.


Why you may love it

  • Chimpanzee tracking.
  • Angolan Colobus monkeys, en masse.
  • 85 mammal species.
  • 43 reptile species.
  • 310 bird species, 29 of which are endemic.

Explore the Nyungwe Forest map

When to visit Nyungwe Forest

December to February

Good time to see chimpanzee in Nyungwe Forest

The wetter months are considered better for chimpanzee tracking and birding in Nyungwe Forest. Though, of course, the trails tend to be muddier at this time. The summer months are somewhat rainy but manageable so this is a great time to visit.
MAX TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉
MIN TEMP 11 ℃ / 52 ℉

March to May

Long rains in Nyungwe Forest

This is the time of the long rains though the trails are not as steep as for the gorilla tracking and so it is less of an issue in Nyungwe.
MAX TEMP 19 ℃ / 66 ℉
MIN TEMP 11 ℃ / 52 ℉

June to August

Dry season in Nyungwe Forest

This is the dry season in Rwanda and so there are more people visiting at this time (because it’s the best time for gorilla tracking elsewhere). It’s a good time for trekking and seeing a variety of wildlife, but less good for chimpanzee tracking.
MAX TEMP 19 ℃ / 66 ℉
MIN TEMP 11 ℃ / 52 ℉

September to November

Start of rainy season in Nyungwe Forest

This is the start of the rainy season though the trails remain fairly easy to navigate in September and October. This is thus a good time to visit for both chimpanzee tracking and a variety of other primates. November tends to be the wettest month.
MAX TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉
MIN TEMP 12 ℃ / 54 ℉

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Rwanda was inspiring

"Rwanda has a temperate climate, charming people and a developing tourism industry which clearly places great emphasis on the safety and comfort of it’s clients. Our experiences of the wildlife will stay with us for many years. If you wish to see the best of Africa – visit this fascinating, beautiful country. At all destinations, accommodation, food and support services were as good as we’d hoped for." Mr David, USA
Did you know
  • ConservationOldest conserved tropical rainforest in Africa
  • WaterSupply 70 % of water used in the country