The Nyungwe rain forest is located in southwestern Rwanda at the border with Burundi to the south and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The Nyungwe rain forest is probably the best preserved Montane rain forest in 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. From the east side of the Nyungwe forest comes also one of the branches of the Nile sources.

Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km2 of rain forest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km to the west. Mount Bigugu is located within the park borders.

Animal life

The Nyungwe forest has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The forest is situated in a region in which several large-scale bio-geographical zones meet and the variety of terrestrial biomes provides a great span of micro habitats for many different species of plants and animals.

The park contains 13 primate species (25% of Africa’s total), 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests Eco – region in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed. The forest, which reaches its maximum altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Angola colobus (Colobus angolensis), the latter now extinct in Angola for the intense hunt to which they were subjected.

Primate species

Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)

Adolf Friedrich’s Angola colobus (Colobus angolensis ruwenzori)

L’Hoest’s monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti)

Silver monkey (Cercopithecus doggetti)

Golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti)

Hamlyn’s monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni)

Red-tailed monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius)

Dent’s mona monkey (Cercopithecus denti)

Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)

Olive baboon (Papio anubis)

Grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena)