Nyungwe Rainforest Park Is A Primate Paradise

Nyungwe rainforest park is located in the Southwestern region of Rwanda, at an elevation of over 1600m, sounds and sights collaborate to create a magic experience as you journey through the majestic rainforest. The park holds the source of Africa’s great rivers, feeding the Nile in the east and Congo river in the west, and is known as the most endemic species -rich in Africa.

The park boasts ecosystems from rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bog habitats.

It’s a home to Orchids among 1,000 other plant species, habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primate (including the 400 strong troops of black and white colobus monkey) , and 75 different species of mammals . It is a birder’s paradise with over 310 species of which the 27 are Albertine Rift endemics including the Ruwenzori Turaco and Double -collored sunbirds, Grauer’s and Swamp warbler

This national park has got an extensive network of walking trails which leads you through many waterfalls and the viewing points. Nyungwe also offers the scenic views over the forest, Lake Kivu and also in Virunga.


Chimpanzees trekking .The chimpanzee tracking adventure includes traversing through the vines and thorny bushes across the forest floor along the muddy trails and before long you will find yourself in the middle of a group of chimpanzees. You will spend some time with the chimpanzees observing them as they go about their day to day activities.  You will see the youthful ones play and fight on the forest floor, the mothers feed the young ones and others foliage on the forest vegetation, without minding about the human presence around them. In case the trek has taken a longer time, it is likely that the chimps are already moving on after a relaxed morning, squealing through the canopy on the higher terrain as they look for food. The duration of completing a chimpanzee tracking safari is very unpredictable. Despite all the hustle and early morning treks, meeting a group of chimpanzees and watching them feed, or swing on tree branches, make the whole struggle worthwhile.  Setting eyes on these amazing apes in their natural habitat is a rare happening however it is extremely an unforgettable that happens very rarely.

Ruwenzori Colobus Monkey

  Ruwenzori Colobus monkey

Among the most common Nyungwe primates species in the park are the Ruwenzori colobus monkeys which are more prevalent compared to the Angola colobus monkeys that are restricted mainly to the Albertine Rift. These Ruwenzori colobus monkeys are extremely acrobatic and great eaters of leaves. They can easily be distinguished from other Nyungwe primate by their distinct overall black color while the tail-tip, whiskers and shoulders are snow-white in color.

Despite the fact that colobus monkeys are generally known to be sociable, these ones within Nyungwe are very exceptional living and moving in troops of hundreds of members. There is a semi-habituated colobus monkey troop that is resident within Nyungwe comprising of 400 members, commonly seen close to the campsite. Majority of the other types of monkeys within Nyungwe forest are guenons. Among the other primate species living within  are: types Olive baboon, L’Hoest’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Silver monkey, crowned monkey, golden monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, Owl faced monkey and the red tailed monkey.

Blue Monkey

Blue Monkey

The name Blue Monkey may be deceiving since, in reality, the Blue Monkey is not blue.  The real colors of a blue monkey is light grey and an olive fur that together gives off this kind of blue hue as they are in the tree-tops.The Blue Monkeys live in the tree tops that make up the forest canopy in Nyungwe Forest meaning that you have to look up in order to spot them while on the trails in Nyungwe Forest.  They rarely come down to the forest floor but find food and shelter in the tree-tops.They live in female-centric groups of 10 to 40 with only one male. All the females raise each others, infants. These tree-dwelling monkeys can be found around Uwinka Visitors Center in Nyungwe Forest.

L’hoest’s Monkey

L’Hoest’s Monkeys

L’Hoest Monkeys at times referred to as Mountain Monkeys are endemic to the Albertine Rift and you can find them the Rwenzori Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and in Rwanda they are found in Nyungwe and Gishwati Forest – the latter is a forest that is in the process of being restored to a National Park. They have dark black bodies and a fuzzy white beard – they move on all fours when on the ground as they forage for good.The males weigh between 5 kilos, while females are smaller in size – they spend their times in various forest which are found in Nyungwe Forest. Their small groups are dominated by females with normally only one make in the group they can be often seen from the main road that cuts through the forest near the Unwink Reception to the forest.

Owl-Faced Monkey

Owl-Faced Monkey

Owl Faced Monkey unique in that it has a beak-like nose and the face resembles an owl.  This shy monkey is rarely seen but you just might be the lucky one as you hike along the many trails of Nyungwe Forest. The Owl Faced is closely related to the L’Hoest’s Monkey and like it Owl Faced Monkey lives in small groups of one male and various female.  Because Owl Faced Monkeys are so elusive they have been hard to study.  The Owl-Faced Monkey  gray and has a white stripe that goes from the top of the lip to the top of the nose give the owl monkey that owl face.

Grey Cheeked Mangabey

Grey cheeked mangabey

These are also another group of monkey that I may not wish you to miss on your safari in Nyungwe national park. they are unforgettable once you trek them. Nyungwe is home to Rwanda’s only population of grey-cheeked mangabeys.

Vervet Monkey

Vervet Monkey:

This is grey Guenon that is very common all East Africa including in Rwanda in Nyungwe Forest they can be found around the Gisakura Guesthouse – the Vervet Monkey is often found n the savannah and open woodlands including in Akagera National Park.

They like the Baboons raid crops and again even enter homes to forage for food, not quite as brazen as baboons however they do their share of raiding. They have a black face mask and the rest of the body is gray.  This is the most numerous monkeys in the world and is quite common including all over Rwanda. There are no Vervet Monkey Treks – you simple run into them wherever you go.

Olive Baboons

Olive baboons

Olive Baboon is also known as Anubis baboon- It is found in 25 countries throughout Africa including Rwanda, Uganda, Mali, Ethiopia, Tanzania among others. Olive baboons are social and need to stay near people to snatch food staffs like sweet bananas, potatoes among others- in most cases, they stand besides the road sides waiting

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