The Afro montane forest of Nyungwe National Park is the oldest of its type in Africa and contains a uniquely rich flora and fauna. There are 200+ tree species, 100 different orchids and 300 bird species (including 23 Albertine Rift endemics). However it is the number and variety of primates that is the biggest attraction.
Chimpanzees, rare golden monkeys, the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and Ruwenzori colobus (some of which live in troops of over 400) are among the species present. A morning spent with a guide on one of the many walking trails through Nyungwe forest should encounter a good number of these species.
- Single largest track of Montane Forest
- 13 species of Primate
- Fantastic Chimpanzee tracking opportunities
Nyungwe Forest National Park protects the largest single track of montane forest remaining anywhere in east or central Africa, and as a result exists as a remarkable bio system rich in many mammal, birds, insects and plant species.
Animal Life of Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe is renowned for its 13 species of primates and in particular is a great location for Chimpanzee tracking and viewing 9 different species of monkey including the Ruwenzori colobus and the handsome l’Hoest’s monkey.
Of the famous African ‘Big 5’, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard were all relatively common in pre-colonial times, however only leopard are now regularly seen due to excessive poaching up until the 1990s.
Nyungwe does however have many smaller predators including the golden cat, wild cat, serval cat, the side-striped jackal and three types of mongoose. Antelope found in Nyungwe include bushbuck and three types of duiker, which formerly common, have suffered from heavily from poaching as bush meat.
Harbouring an estimated 300 bird species, Nyungwe Forest National Park is considered the most important ornithological site in Rwanda and is a haven for bird watchers and photographers alike. Up to 24 of these bird species are endemic to the montane forests of the Albertine Rift.
Species Present in Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe has one the largest populations of endemic species in all of Africa. Of the 86 mammal species present, 14 are endemic to the Albertine Rift. The forest is home to 14 species of primates, including large troops of colobus monkeys that often travel in groups of 300 or more individuals. Two hundred eighty avian species have been identified in the forest, with 26 Albertine Rift endemic species and 121 forest species. There are also 43 species of reptiles, 8 of which are endemic. Thirty-one species of amphibians are present, with 15 endemic species. There are innumerable invertebrate species present, and Nyungwe is especially known for its abundant butterfly populations, which include 21 Albertine Rift endemic species. The floral community consists of over 1100 species, with 137 endemic species. Below is a partial species list.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Nyungwe’s high altitude precludes great reptile and amphibian diversity. However, there are five chameleon species and several snake species, including a viper species, Atheris nitschei.
Monkey – Cercopithecus lhoesti
Owl-faced Monkey – Cercopithecus hamlyni
Mona Monkey – Cercopithecus mona
Blue Monkey – Cercopithecus mitis doggetti
Golden Monkey – Cercopithecus mitis kandti
Red-tailed Monkey – Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti
Vervet Monkey – Cercopithecus aethiops
Greycheeked Mangaby – Cercocebus albigena johnstoni
Black and White Colobus – Colobus angolensis rwenzori
Eastern Needle-Clawed Galago – Galago inustus
Greater Bushbaby – Galago crassicaudatus
Dwarf Galago – Galago demidovii
Olive Baboons – Papio anubis
Chimpanzee – Pan troglodytes
Giant Forest Squirrel – Protoxerus stangeri
Mountain Sun Squirrel – Heliosciurus rwenzorii
Boem’s Squirrel – Funisciurus boehmi
Lord Darby’s Flying Squirrel – Anomalurus darbianus
Giant Forest Hog – Hylochoerus meinertzhageni
Bush Pig – Potamochoerus larvatus
Tree Hyrax – Dendrohyrax arboreus dorsalis
Lestrade’s Duiker – Cephalophus weinsi lestradi
Black-fronted Duiker – Cephalophus nigrifrons
Yellow-backed Duiker – Cephalophus sylvicultor
Leopard – Pantera pardus
Golden Cat – Profelis aurata
Serval – Leptailurus serval
Wild Cat – Felis silvestris
Side-striped Jackal – Canis adustus
African Civet – Viverra civetta
Two-spotted Palm Civet – Nandinia binotata
Genet Servaline – Genetta servalina
Large-spotted Genet – Genetta tigrina
Slender Mongoose – Herpestes sanduneus
Marsh Mongoose – Herpestes paludinosus
Ichneumon Mongoose – Herpestes ichneumon
Congo Clawless Otter – Aonyx congca