Nyungwe rainforest is located in south-western Rwanda, at the border with Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyungwe rainforest is probably the best preserved rainforest in the mountains throughout Central Africa. It is located in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the basin of the river Nile to the east.
This forest is home to 25% of all of Africa's primates, including a large population of chimpanzees, which produce the national park's main attraction: chimpanzee trekking. Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area just under 1000 sq km of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. Along with its biodiversity, Nyungwe is an important water catchment for Rwanda and contains many natural resources integral to Rwanda’s human populations.
What to see and do
Nyungwe forest has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The forest is situated in a region where several large-scale bio-geographical zones meet and provide a great span of micro-habitats for many different species of plants and animals. The park contains 13 different primate species, over 300 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species.
The forest, which reaches its maximum altitude of 3000m above sea level, is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees and Angola colobus, which is now extinct in Angola due to hunting. A population of around 400 chimpanzees, 2 troups of which are habituated to human contact.
Hiking in the beautiful reserve and encountering these chimps is what draws most visitors to the area. There is also an extensive network of forest hikes from park headquarters, including a very high and dramatic suspension bridge.