In the southwest corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is a vast untouched tropical rainforest with a high, dense canopy. Nyungwe became a National Park in 2004 as Rwanda sought to increase its tourism beyond the country’s mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, and is certainly worthy of its status because of its spectacular biodiversity.
Spreading over 1,020km², Nyungwe Forest National Park includes the largest swathe of remaining Montana forest in East or Central Africa. It harbors about 310 different bird species, hundreds of butterflies and orchids, and over 75 different species of mammals – including 13 primates (about a quarter of all Africa’s primates).
Best time to visit Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe Forest is open for chimpanzee trekking and hiking throughout the year. The wet months, from October to May, are the best time for chimp trekking and forest birding, but general hiking and spotting other primates might be easier in the drier months, from June to September.
Weather and climate in Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe typically receives more than 2,000mm of precipitation per year. This, combined with the high altitudes, means that the climate is very wet and cool. Due to the forest’s close proximity to the equator, temperatures stay constant year-round. During the day, temperatures are around 20°C/68°F and it cools off at night to about 10°C/50°F.
Throughout the year Nyungwe Forest receives rain, though there is a drier period from June to September. Bring waterproof clothing and shoes for hiking and warm clothing for the cold, damp evenings, regardless of when you visit.
How to get to Nyungwe Forest
Kigali International Airport (KGL) will be your entry point into Rwanda. It is about 10km/6mi from the capital, Kigali.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is in the south of the country 200km/124mi from Kigali, 87km/54mi from Huye and 55km/34mi from Rusizi. The drive takes about four to five hours from Kigali, two to three hours from Huye and about one hour from Rusizi.
Usually, Nyungwe Forest is visited as part of combine itinerary around the country.
Akagera Aviation offers charter helicopter transfers to anywhere in the country, including Nyungwe Forest.