Top 5 things to do in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

June 21st 2024  |   Primate Safaris, Conservation Safaris, Primate Safaris, Wildlife Safaris, Experiences, Unique Experiences, Rwanda  |  by   Amelia
Top 5 things to do in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Tucked in the southwest corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is 1,019 sq km of pristine tropical rainforest, stretching from the bottom of Lake Albert down to the border of Burundi. A mosaic of towering mountains, great lakes, dappled savannahs, misty marshlands and deep valleys, Nyungwe is one of Africa’s oldest rainforests, and therefore host to an array of unique wildlife that survived and is endemic to the Albertine Rift. A biodiversity hotspot, it is home to over 90 mammals including 13 primate species, more than 300 species of birds and over 1000 plant species. Not only a sanctuary for the many species that reside here it also provides 70% of the water used in Rwanda, known as the ‘water tank of Rwanda’.

This abundance was not always the case, historically Nyungwe’s rich flora and fauna were under threat from poaching and unstable harvesting but thanks to the partnership with Akagera National Park in 2020 African Parks signed a 20 year agreement to manage Nyungwe National Park and together they are working to protect and restore this majestic wilderness. By promoting eco-tourism in the area they are working alongside local communities to mitigate human-wildlife conflict to create long-term conservation solutions.

Our Top 5 Nyungwe National Park experiences:

1. Primate trekking

Colobus monkeys in Nyungwe National Park

Colobus monkey sighting

25% of all primates in Africa reside in Nyungwe National Park, so it is no surprise this is at the top of our list and one of the best places to go chimpanzee trekking. Often spotted in groups of 30-60 chimpanzees these close relatives share a staggering 98.8% DNA similarity with humans. It is incredible to witness the familiar social behaviours up close; engaging in acts of play and showcasing displays of friendship and affection. Golden monkey, blue monkey, owl-faced monkey and the endemic L’heost monkey have been spotted in the leafy canopies as well as troops of up to 300 Angola colobus monkeys.

2. Forest Canopy walkway

Nyungwe canopy walk

Nyungwe canopy walk

Take a walk above the verdant canopy, and weave between a wealth of mahogany trees and tree ferns surrounded by a kaleidoscope of butterflies. Catch a glimpse of the Angola colobus monkeys swinging between the branches. This unique experience transports you 50-70 metres above ancient treetops and lush vegetation. The suspended walkway crosses over ravines and offers a unique opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife, insects and birds at eye level.

3. Hiking trails and waterfalls

Nyungwe National Park waterfalls and hiking trails

Nature walk

Explore one (or more) of the 13 hiking trails where expert guides take you through mountainous terrain, while sharing their knowledge on the hundreds of species of flora and fauna. Hike the highest peak in the park for spectacular views over Lake Kivu, visit one of the many breath-taking waterfalls or trek to the source of the longest river in the world, the River Nile.

4. Tea plantation tour

Gisakura tea plantation

Gisakura tea plantation

Explore the working tea plantations of Rwanda and learn about the history and process behind creating the humble tea bag. As Rwanda’s biggest export, these plantations provide a major source of employment. Join a tea plantation tour where you can learn the art of picking, drying and brewing tea from the locals and discover the important part it plays in their lives.

5. Birdwatching adventures

Rwenzori Double-collared sunbird

Rwenzori Double-collared sunbird

A birders’ paradise with over 300 species and the chance to spot new species not found anywhere else in the world such as the Congo-bay owlet, Rwenzori-Turaco and the Regal Sunbird. Book a specialist birding guide to tailor your trip based on the species you want to spot and ensure you get the most out of your time here.

Where to stay

One&Only Nyungwe House in Nyungwe National Park

One&Only Nyungwe House in Nyungwe National Park

One&Only Nyungwe House

Immersed in East Africa’s largest rainforest amongst an expanse of tea plantations is One&Only’s Nyungwe House, the perfect base for exploring the Nyungwe National Park.  With the dramatic backdrop of mountains rising out of the mist, and surrounded by greenery this five star property offers you all the comforts and luxuries for an enjoyable and exclusive stay in a truly unique and wild landscape.

One&Only Nyungwe House in Nyungwe National Park

View of One&Only Nyungwe House and tea plantations

A two-week holiday to Rwanda 

This two-week itinerary combines the Nyungwe National Park with Volcanoes National Park, Akegera National Park and Kigali for the ultimate Rwanda adventure.

What Next

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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