Nyungwe Forest National Park which is situated in the majestic hills of southwestern Rwanda, is the largest ‘island’ of montane forest remaining in east and central Africa. This rich and ancient center of unparalleled biodiversity and natural wonders is uniquely accessible to the casual visitor. Nyungwe is celebrated for its rich variety of flora and fauna. There are at least 200 tree species found in the forest, along with hundreds of different flowering plants, including wild begonia, more than 100 species of orchid, and sensational giant lobelias.
Of the large mammals, primates are the most visible, with 13 recorded species. Of particular interest are the Angola Colobus – delightfully acrobatic arboreal monkeys which move in troops of several hundred – and an estimated 500 chimpanzee. Other primates one might encounter are L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, velvet monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey.
Nyungwe is also home to more than 275 bird species, making in the region’s most important birding site. They include the spectacular Rwenzori turaco, the secretive red-chested alethe, and several iridescent sunbirds. Equally remarkable are the perpetually honking giant hornbills that crash through the forest canopy, and the stunning great blue turaco, an outlandishly blue, red and green bird.
Nyungwe lies at an elevation of between 1,600 metres and 2,950 metres. It has an extensive network of well maintained forest trails leads to a number of waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortable rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can be visited as a day trip from smarter hotels in the towns of Butare and Cyangugu.