Nyungwe Forest National Park in southwestern Rwanda is south of Lake Kivu on the border with Burundi. Established in 2004 the park covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs. Nyungwe is one of the oldest forests in Africa and is one of the last few mountain rainforest habitats.
With an extremely rich biodiversity the park is home to 13 different primate species (25% of Africa's total), 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Larger mammals like the buffalo and elephant that once inhabited this area are no longer found here , but can be easily found elsewhere in Africa. But to see chimpanzees there are few places and Nyungwe is one of them.
The nearest large town is Cyangugu, 54km to the west and can be reached by road from Kigali or Lake Kivu though most travellers opt for a charter flight. There are a large number of hiking trails in the forest and with such biodiversity the forest is a favourite for birders.
Chimp tracking hikes leave early in the morning and it may be several hours before you reach a troop, but along the way you will likely see many other animals, like the blue monkey! When you do find the chimps you will be privileged to spend as much time as possible around them. Unlike in some areas where visitors are restricted to only an hour's visit, there is no such rule in Nyungwe.