Nyungwe Forest National Park
The Albertine Rift Valley is home to a vast variety of sprawling forests, towering mountains, diverse wildlife, and wide lakes, and Nyungwe Forest National Park is no exception. This mountain rainforest lies in southwestern Rwanda, bordering Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Lake Kivu. The park, which sits about 50 km east of Cyangugu town, was established in 2004, and its wetlands, grasslands, and rainforests cover 1000 square kilometers. It is also home to Mt. Bigugu (2925 m).
Nyungwe is home to a great variety of wildlife, including primates, birds, mammals, plants, amphibians, and reptiles. The park holds thirteen kinds of primates alone, including baboons, chimpanzees, and monkeys of many kinds. In fact, travelers can embark on any of the four monkey tracking trails in the park, including Waterfall Trail to see colobus monkeys, or the Kamiranzovu Trail, which leads through a series of wetlands. Birding is also a popular activity, and visitors can seek out any of the 285 bird species in the park, such as the Blue turaco.
Visitors to the park can take part in tracking one of two chimpanzee families in the park, as well as take on East Africa’s highest Canopy Walk, a 50 meter suspension bridge which allows you to soar over the forest like a bird. You will see giant old mahogany trees, ferns, and bright flowers and butterflies as you ascend towards the sky from the lush forest floor. Though not for the faint of heart, the breathtaking views of the expansive forest from above make the trip well worth your courage.
Lodging of all kinds, from the most luxurious hotel to a simple campground, is available both inside the park and the shores of nearby Lake Kivu.