Extending for 1,000 square kilometers across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of montane forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age. A uniquely rich centre of floral diversity, the forest has more than 200 different types of tree, and a myriad of flowering plants including the otherworldly giant lobelia and a host of colourful orchids.
Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind's closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L'Hoest's monkey and hundred strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola colobus. The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe harbours almost 300 bird species. An extensive network of well maintained walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortable rustic resthouse and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can readily be visited as a day trip from towns of Butare and Cyangugu.
Nyungwe does, however deserve more time, anybody who wants to track chimps and see several varieties of smaller primate will need two days there and dedicated birdwatchers might never want to leave!