An AFRICAN PARKS protected area
Nyungwe National Park hosts Africa's most extensive protected tract of montane forest.
This verdant oasis is a biodiversity hotspot bursting with life. Nyungwe covers 1,019km2 (over 100,000 hectares) of forested mountains, burbling streams, sun-starved valleys, and extensive swamps seemingly hiding a myriad of new species waiting to be discovered (or rediscovered).
Part of the Albertine Rift and ranging in altitude from 1,600-3,000m, this high-altitude montane forest towers above Lake Kivu and comprises the watershed between the Congo and Nile Rivers. Some believe it is the most remote source of the Nile River.
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Munazi Eco Lodge (currently under construction and due to open in early 2024) will be a fully-catered camp featuring 10 (ten) ensuite chalets set deep within the forests of Nyungwe National Park. The central area will include a lounge, dining area and bar.
We will include Munazi Eco Lodge in our reservations portfolio once the conversion to a fully catered camp has been completed in 2024. Place your name on a waitlist - see the gold button below - and we will contact you once reservations open.
Nyungwe wildlife watching is all about primates and birds.
There are 13 species of primates, and tourists delight in trekking for chimpanzees, Rwenzori pied colobus monkeys (including a mega-troop of over 400 individuals), grey-cheeked mangabey, L'Hoest's, Grivet's, Syke's, silver, blue, red-tailed monkeys, and the olive baboon. Owl-faced monkeys occur here but are hard to locate.
Amongst the 75 mammal species found, notables include Congo clawless otters, servals, golden cats, Lord Derby's scaly-tailed squirrels and the rare Central African linsang (related to genets).
The park also hosts over 1,068 plant species (including 140 orchids adding splashes of colour), of which 250 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
The bird species tally of 337 includes 29 Albertine Rift endemics. Species to look out for include Albertine owlet, red-collared mountain babbler, Rockefeller's sunbird, mountain masked apalis, Ruwenzori turaco, dwarf honeyguide, handsome francolin, Neumann's short-tailed warbler, red-throated alethe and Shelley's crimsonwing. View the Nyungwe bird list here.
See more wildlife pictures in the gallery below (navigate using the arrows).
Open all year round;
The climate in Nyungwe is relatively mild, with temperatures seldom reaching over 30˚C. Daily temperatures vary widely due to the high altitude - expect cold temperatures at night and during rainfall. Rainfall varies between 1,800mm and 2,500mm annually;
Rainy seasons - Rain can occur all year round, but expect the most rain in September to November and March to May with the most rain during November;
Dry seasons - The least rain falls in June to August and December to February.
Nyungwe is about high mountain peaks, steep hills, mature tropical forests with dense canopies, countless burbling streams, sun-starved valleys, and extensive swamps.
Nyungwe offers the following activities:
Chimp trekking in Nyungwe NP and in Cyamudongo Forest (a 2-hour drive from Nyungwe);
Hiking - there is an extensive network of immaculately maintained trails to discover waterfalls, hidden pools, and breathtaking views;
Canopy walkway - with incredible views into and beyond the forest canopy;
Visit the Uwinka Visitors Centre for coffee, meals and curios.
Freelance guides are available for all of the above activities.
Nearest city + major airport: Butare and Cyangugu have airports and are nearby. The capital city Kigali has the only international airport.
By road: The 220km road trip from Kigali to the Uwinka Visitors Centre in Nyungwe NP takes up to 5 hours on good tar roads.
There are car rental companies and drivers/guides available in Kigali.
Speed limits of 80km/hr on open roads and 60km/hr in built-up areas are strictly enforced via numerous digital speed trap cameras. Speed governors limit speed limits in public transport vehicles.
Malaria area: Yes
Nyungwe is a malaria area, although low-risk due to low temperatures and high altitude. A more significant threat lies in travelling through low-lying areas in Rwanda on the way to and from Nyungwe. Please consult your travel doctor about malaria prophylaxis.
Yellow fever area: No
Rwanda is not a yellow fever area. Vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with a risk for yellow fever virus transmission. Please consult your travel doctor before travelling for relevant updates.
Tsetse flies: No
We advise against drinking tap water unless it is boiled or filtered. Bottled water is widely available in Rwanda. Bring your own refillable water bottles as plastic bottles are not freely available.
Nyungwe is a remote area - please ensure you have evacuation insurance in case of medical emergencies. African Parks utilises the following emergency evacuation service: SATIB24 / ART24 (African risk transfer).
Visiting the African Parks camps in Nyungwe is the most direct way to support local communities because these camps help boost:
community tourism programmes to encourage local people to become tourist guides and improve their skills in this area;
bee-keeping as a sustainable agricultural business opportunity;
environmental awareness - In 2021, over 80 community meetings reached over 6,000 community members and local leaders. In addition, over 1,000 children from school environmental clubs visited the park to encourage conservation awareness;
jobs and skills enhancement in Nyungwe National Park via African Parks.
Nyungwe’s high biodiversity has exposed it to many threats, including poaching, illegal mining, and agricultural encroachment. Amongst other species, forest elephants and buffalo are confirmed locally extinct.
In 2020, African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed a 20-year management agreement to restore and protect wildlife, engage with the local communities, and implement an effective law enforcement strategy to ensure the park's long-term ecological, social and economic sustainability.
Nyungwe is now a flourishing primate and birding safari destination for Rwandans and international tourists.
Capital city + tourist hub Kigali.
Languages Kinyarwanda, Swahili, English + French.
Time zone GMT + 2 hours.
Currency Rwandan Franc. Exchange bureaus and ATM's are available in Kigali and most large towns. Many services are via cashless payment only - credit card or local mobile payment gateways/apps.
Visas Enter your details here for visa and other requirements.
Plugs Plug types are C (two small round pins) & J (three small round pins). 230V and 50Hz.
Plastic Note that plastic bags are prohibited, and even plastic bottles are not easy to find. Bring cloth bags and your own refillable water bottle.
Mobile phones SIM cards can be purchased cheaply in Kigali and all large towns. Rwanda has very good phone coverage and internet coverage.
Rwanda's thriving capital city has modern infrastructure and plenty of restaurants and coffee shops. The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a must-visit if you have a few hours to spare. Kigali is blessed with a wide selection of hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses.
Akagera NP shelters Central Africa's largest protected wetland system and offers a superb Big 5 safari experience via game drives and boat trips.
Nyungwe NP is a magical tract of montane forest bursting with extraordinary biodiversity - excellent for chimp trekking, finding other primates such as the megatroop of 400 Rwenzori pied colobus monkeys, bird watching and the awesome Canopy Walkway suspended bridge.
Volcanoes NP is a volcanic landscape offering stunning scenery & biodiversity. Major activities include trekking for mountain gorillas and golden monkeys and visiting the legendary Dian Fossey’s grave.