Among the oldest Forest in Africa Nyungwe Forest deserve a mention. It has survived for decades and is likely to withstand the ongoing climatic changes, if other threats like Fires and deforestation are eliminated.

What makes Nyungwe Special?

Scientists panel beat about it that Nyungwe may have been among  the forest that were withstood the harsh climates that was brought about by the Ice age where the most plants died instead Nyungwe provided shelter and food to a number of species of Plants and Animals.

Why was it not affected by Ice age?

Nyungwe lies in the western arm of the Rift Valley making part of the Albertine Rift Valley. During Ice age, Scientists think that high elevates places were the first to freeze out and being Nyungwe was low-lying it gave it an upper hand in the withstanding of the Ice Age. It is believed that this marked the genesis of this great forest. Instead of freezing the warm air that was in the rift mixed up evenly with the cool air from the freezing escarpments providing an ideal environment for the growth of a number of plant species in the forest which in turn attracted primates and other Wildlife to feed on them. Hence became a home of refugee during the ice age. Presently Nyungwe celebrates being a home of 25% of Africa’s Primates and one of the best Primate, and Bird watching place in Rwanda and Africa at large.

Nyungwe’s Flora and Fauna

Nyungwe is a home of a diversity of plants and animals. Some of which are endemic to Albertine Rift Valley only. Being a protection of the world’s endemic species make Nyungwe the most Important Rainforest in Africa.


Nyungwe is a haven flora with over 1000 species of plants, with some tree reaching a height of 55m from the ground. Polyscias Fulva is the fastest Rain Forest growing tree in Rwanda reaching 20m in only 10-15 years.

Liked by Monkeys for its fruits and buttress roots being a drum to Chimpanzee, Newtonia buchanani is one of the love trees in Nyugwe by visitor who do chimpanzee tracking.

Loved by Elephants that once roamed the park, Sericostachys scandens is plant that is known to choke tree. In Nyungwe there are 10 species of this plant.

For more about the Forest and it’s flora request for a tour by clicking here.


With 13 Primate species, Nyungwe is known to be home of 25% of Africa’s primates the list goes as below:

Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes.

Chimpanzees are the only ape in Nyungwe forest National Park, Living in that may sum up to 500 individuals in this park. On your Chimpanzee Tracking, your guide will help you spot them and their signs which will include: listening to their calls, searching their nests, footprints and Dung. All these are indications that they are close.

L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey Cercopithecus lhoesti.

Mostly living in Mountain forests, Nyungwe is one of these few Mountain forests in the world where this species is still common. They live in small groups managed by females. You can time and again seen by the main road near Uwinka. They have a dark coat and can be identified by a characteristic white beard.

Owl-faced Monkey Cercopithecus hamlyni.

Hamlyn’s monkey sometimes referred to as the owl faced monkey is one of the rear species of world oldest monkeys that inhabit baboo and Rainforest of Democratic republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. It was also sighted in Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda.

Angolan Colobus Monkeys Colobus angolensis ruwenzori

Nyungwe is one of the blessed forests in Africa where these monkeys form large number of over 350 individuals. Little is known about these primates but