Cyamudongo Forest is one of the popular places you should not miss while a safari in Rwanda, the forest is famously known for its big group of chimpanzees and it is the best section to do chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest national park.  Cyamudongo Forest is a small relict forest situated in the extreme South-west of Rwanda near Nyakabuye Town and the Rwanda – Democratic Republic of Congo border.

Cyamudongo Forest covers an area of 4 square kilometers and is situated between Gisakura and Rusizi close to the town of Nyukabuye, 2o kilometers from Bugarama.

Originally Cyamudongo Forest was part of the Nyungwe Forest to its East, but its vegetation is different – thicker with fewer clearings. Currently the park is an isolated are annexed from Nyungwe Forest national park but it remains part of Nyungwe Forest national park. .

Cyamudongo Forest is a habitat to several primates including Dent’s Mona monkey, Black and Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkey and a troop of more than 25 chimpanzees inhabiting in the montane Forest. There is several species of butterflies, birds and other wildlife species. The forest shelters a few rare species that are cannot be found in Nyungwe National park such as the new purple orchid polystachia Bruechertiae discovered in 2018.

Cyamudongo Forest is a haven to several bird species and is the only place in Rwanda sheltering the Red-thighed Sparrow hawks, the forests also hosts bird species which are endemic to the Albertine Rift Forests such as the Ross’ Turaco and the Kungwe Apalis among others. Cyamudongo Forest hosts over 4 species of the Guinea-Congo Forest biome bird species, 8 of the 25 bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains  as well as 33 species of the total 74 bird species of the Afro-tropical highlands biomes that are found within Rwanda. Other notable bird species to lookout for in Cyamudongo Forest include the Dwarf Honeyguide and the white-tailed crested flycatcher among others.


Chimpanzee tracking

Cyamudongo Forest is one of the interesting destinations to do chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda, this small forest offers thrilling chimpanzee tracking which is the main activity. The forest’s chimps are easier to see unlike chimps in Nyungwe Forest national park, this is attributed to the small size of the forest.

Chimpanzee tracking in Cyamudongo Forest start in the morning with briefing about the rules and regulations to follow in the experience conducted by rangers and guides at the rangers post, then proceed into the jungles searching for the chimpanzee community. On the hike, you will transverse through the dense gorges before meeting the chimpanzees. You will also encounter other primates such as the Mona monkeys, Vervet monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys among others.

Cyamudongo Forest
Chimpanzee tracking in cyamudongo

Nature walks

For tourists interested in experiencing nature in Cyamudongo Forest nature walk is an ideal activity to do, during this activity you will be able to see numerous wildlife species including primates such as the Mona Monkeys, vervet monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys. You will also encounter various butterfly species and tree species found within the forest.

Nature walks in Cyamudongo Forest also lead tourists to the verdant tea plantations.

Bird watching

Cyamudongo Forest is a birder’s haven holding the only Rwanda record of Red-thighed – sparrow hawk along with many Albertine Rift Forest species including Kungwe Apalis and Ross’s Turaco, the forest hosts 4 species of Guinea-Congo Forests biome, 8 of the 24 species of the Albertine Rift Mountains Endemic Bird Area and 33 of the 74 species of Afrotropical Highlands biome that occur in Rwanda.

Cyamudongo Forest
Bird watching in cyamudongo

Birding in Cyamudongo Forest is undeniably of one of the must-do activities for tourists visiting o a Kenya safari, during this activity you will be able to see several bird species including exceptional birds such as the Dwarf Honeyguide, the Ross’ Turaco, the Red-thighed Sparrow hawks, the white-tailed crested flycatcher, the Kungwe Apalis among others.

Cultural encounters

Besides the beautiful and exhilarating nature within Cyamudongo Forest, tourists on a visit to Cyamudongo Forest can also visit and explore the Batwa local communities. The Batwa are the native people of the forest and depended on it for survival including herbal medicine, food, building materials and shelter. When the area was gazetted as a protected area, these people were displaced from the forest, however up to date these people still main their authentic culture which you will enjoy during your visit in their community.

Visiting the Batwa community will give a deeper insight in the life style of these people, enjoy and be entertained by exhilarating cultural dances and drama.

The Batwa people can also be visited and experienced from other places such as the Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Ituri Forest and Mgahinga National park.

In conclusion, Cyamudongo Forest is a great and wonderful destination to visit on a Rwanda Safari, with memorable activities such as chimpanzee tracking, nature walks, birding and cultural encounters make the forest a must visit destination in Rwanda.

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