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Rwanda 2: Monkey game - Nyungwe National Park

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

My absolute favourite place was the dense jungle of Nyungwe National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. There is also a wide range of hiking tours here with different difficulties and ...

Nyungwe National Park Rwanda Colobos Monkeys
I could have roamed for days through the ancient trees, dense ferns and past waterfalls.

You don't even need much luck to see monkeys ... especially the Colobos monkeys didn't keep to the minimum distance at all and first galloped over our feet and then sat down next to me - a pretty cool experience.

In the Alps, visitor platforms are now controversial - and not without reason. In Rwanda there is the only canopy walk in East Africa and it is a dream to lift your head above the treetops and see the majestic trees in their full glory.

My recommendation - Spend a few days here:

  1. Hike to waterfalls

  2. Do one, or even two tracks with monkeys. The encounters with chimpanzees and Colobos monkeys are a unique experience.

  3. Look over the treetops of Rwanda's largest forest from the canopy walk

Nyungwe highlights:

  • A quarter of Africa's primates, 13 species, are found here, including the chimpanzee

  • A birdwatcher's paradise with around 300 recorded species, almost 30 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift region

  • A wealth of plants, birds and mammals that are unique to this part of the world.

  • "Indiana Jones" feeling included: Hiking possibilities on 15 different trails through the park (see below)

  • Nyungwe is the largest remaining forest area in Rwanda)

Click here for photos of the Canopy Walk:

Other superlatives:

There are 75 known mammals in Nyungwe, such as the collared cat, mongoose, clawless otter and leopard, to name a few. Botanists will marvel at 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids. Birding is among the best in Africa with 322 bird species and butterflies are also a common sight with at least 120 species.

All is green

Around me there are only dense thickets and a multitude of trees, shrubs, ferns and flowers - all wrapped in the mystical grey of the mist. Hundreds of different plants and more than 100 orchid genera thrive in the forests.

The tree population is one of the oldest still existing and largest mountain primeval forests on the continent.

Christophe, our guide, gives us a walking stick before the two-hour hike to the viewpoint:

"The paths here are slippery, a little help won't hurt".

We walk through the dense cloud forest almost in awe. Every word seems out of place here.

We listen to the sounds of nature. Christoph explains to us in a whisper that the birds call differently here in the evening than in the morning. Shortly before us, a monkey darts across the path - so fast that I only noticed it as a shadow.

After an hour's descent we have reached the canopy walk:

Only a narrow metal walkway leads 70 metres above the ground to the other side of the gorge. It offers a unique opportunity to see the other side of the dense cloud forest - to lift your head above the tops of the ancient tree giants to see how the dense fog rises from the jungle through dense green.

The next morning, monkeys are on the agenda.

Not the famous gorillas, but their funny colleagues the colobus, or black and white stubby monkeys. As soon as we walk into the jungle, we see the animals skilfully jumping from tree to tree in the distance.

Click on the photo to see the photo gallery:

Their long white top hair swings behind them like a comet's tail. We are all excited. "Remember to keep a safe distance of 5 metres," Deborah, our guide for the day, reminds us before we venture into the thicket. At our current distance from the animals, we can only dream of this distance. Armed with machetes, Deborah and the animal scouts clear small dead branches out of the way so that we can follow the monkeys through the undergrowth.

A real adventure!

More than once I slide down a small slope on my bottom, too focused on the black wise primates to pay attention to my feet. After a while they get used to us. They sit above us in the trees and munch on leaves and flowers until they nimbly jump onto the next branch. While I rest briefly on a tree stump, a hairy mate sits down next to me. He must never have heard of a safe distance. Overjoyed, I beam at him, but he unblinkingly puts another leaf in his mouth and then deftly jumps away. After what seems like minutes, Deborah blows her whistle to retreat. Arriving at the car, we realise that we have been on the road for four hours - how time flies when you are having fun ...

Nyungwe National Park Rwanda Waterfall


General information is available at:

Here is also the official link to possible hikes in Rwanda.

The Nyungwe National Park is part of Afrikan Parks.


The best connection from Frankfurt is currently offered by Brussels Airlines with a stopover in Brussels. Prices start at 420 euros, depending on the season. Rwanda is a safe country to travel and most major roads are in good condition. If you are a bit adventurous, I would recommend exploring the country with a rental car. These are available for example from Europcar.


The passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of entry. The visa can be purchased directly on arrival at Kigali airport for $50.

All vaccinated travellers arriving in Rwanda must still present a negative PCR test result that is not older than 72 hours at the time of departure. A second PCR test will be conducted upon arrival, with results delivered after 24 hours at the latest. During this time, travellers must be in self-isolation at the booked hotel. As most flights arrive in the evening, the test results are usually available the next morning.

Beautiful but expensive the One&Only in Nyungwe National Park Rwanda


Due to the stable weather, the months of June to September and the shorter dry season from December to February are the best time to visit Rwanda. There are fewer rain showers during these months and conditions are perfect for seeing the gorillas. The heaviest rainfall is between March to May, which can make visiting some areas a challenge.


For booking activities, ,like chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe, you can send a booking request to


Colibri Travel offers an 11-day package tour. More info under

On the Enchanting Travel website, you can put together your dream trip from various blocks.


In Nyungwe National Park there is a covered camping site, but you have to bring your own sleeping bag, mattress, tent and also food - as currently the cantine is under rehabilitation.

The One&Only Nyungwe House, is located in a tea plantation. One night costs more than 1500€ - all inclusive.

If I were there again, I would definitely sleep nearby or in the park. Unfortunately, I haven't looked at any accommodation on site, but I find, for example, the Nena House looks very nice.

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