Nyungwe forest was gazetted as a national park in 2004. The park has an approximate total area of 100 km². It has got an altitude of 1700-2950m and it is 225km from Kigali via Butare. 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 flora and fauna variety, the forest has more than 200 different types of tree and shrubs, and a myriad of flowering plants including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a multitude of colorful orchids.
The forest is interspersed with well marked and maintained trails and boasts 13 rare primate species, the world’s largest ever recorded arboreal troop of black/white colobus monkeys, over 300 species of birds and 100 types of orchid. Nyungwe Forest and chimpanzee tracking is the ideal compliment to any gorilla safari. An extensive network of well-maintained walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. A contentedly bucolic rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the park can readily be visited as a day trip from the towns of Butare and Cyangugu.