Destination Kivu Belt

Animals in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe forest is foremost known for the large resident population of Eastern Chimpanzee. There are also many other animals in Nyungwe Forest including 12 other primate species apart from the chimpanzees. Apart from the larger animals and rodents there are 300 species of birds in Nyungwe and a range of rare orchids.

Some of the animals in Nyungwe can be seen during any hike in the park while some animals are more easies to spot during a tracking activity with an experienced guide who will help to locate the species.

Primates of Nyungwe Forest

Eastern Chimpanzee

Large dark and stocky primate. One of our closest relatives. Good climber but is also often seen on the ground. Feeds mostly on fruits and shrubs but can also eat insects.

Animals in Nyungwe Forest

Golden Monkey

The golden monkey is a blue and bronze colored primate who live in large groups of up to 50 individuals. They mainly eat bamboo shoots, leaves and fruits. Due to habitat destruction golden monkeys can only be found in a few places and is placed on IUCN Red List as endangered. In Rwanda, Golden Monkeys can be found in Volcanoes National Park, Gishwati Forest and Nyungwe Forest.

Blue Monkey

Blue monkeys are similar to golden monkeys but lack the copper-gold color on the back. Blue monkeys are bluish grey in color and can be found in abundance throughout central and eastern Africa. It is not a threatened species.

L’hoest’s Monkey

L’hoest’s Monkeys are similar to the blue monkey but has a more bronze colored back. They are easily distinguished from other species by their white beard.

Vervet monkey

Vervet monkeys are some of the most common pimates in Africa and can be found throughout the continent. They are olive green with a lighter stomach and a black face.

Animals in Nyungwe Forest

Red-tailed Monkey

This primate is also known as the white-nosed monkey or black-cheeked monkey it is easy to distinguish due to its white nose and red tail. The back is brownish and the stomach white. It is found throughout Central Africa from Western Kenya to Eastern DRC.

Owl-Faced Monkey

Also known as hamlyn’s monkey, this primate has a very distinctive look as the face is rather flat and the long bluish green fur on the head gives an owl-like appearance. This species is can only be found in a few remaining pockets of rainforest in Central Africa and Congo.

Dent’s Mona Monkey

This small primate is very colorful with a bronze colored back, dark blue legs and a bright white stomach. It can be found in large groups of up to 30 individuals.

Angola Colobus

This primate is very easy to recognize even though it is sometimes confused with the black and white colobus which has more fur and more white fur down the sides and back. The subspecies found in Nyungwe is the Ruwenzori subspecies.

Animals in Nyungwe Forest

Grey-cheeked Mangabey

The name of this primate is confusing as it is totally black. This rare species is native to central Africa’s tropical forests where it can mostly be found in the tree canopy.

Olive Baboon

This is a common species which can be found throughout Africa in almost any habitat. The olive baboon live in large family groups. The males can grow quite large and also have a large set of vicious teeth which can be intimidating.

Eastern Needle-clawed Galago

This species of galago is commonly known as a bushbaby. They are nocturnal and only come out at night when their large eyes can be seen reflecting light from a flashlight to the trees.

Bosman’s potto

This is another nocturnal species which comes out at night. They are light brown, have large eyes and easily recognized as they have no tail. An interesting fact is that the potto has almost totally lost its index finger in order to be able to climb and grab branches better.

Other animals in Nyungwe Forest

Apart from primates there is an abundant animal life in Nyungwe Forest. A study using camera traps in Nyungwe Forest revealed that there are a total of 96 other animal species in Nyungwe Forest.

Golden Cat

The African golden cat is endemic to the tropical forests of Western and Central Africa. This cat is small and illusive and very hard to spot. The fur is golden orange with slight black spots.

Wild Cat

The wild cat is very elusive but can be found throughout Africa in many different habitats. It resemble a normal house cat in appearance but has slightly longer legs with black stripes.


Like many other cat species, the leopard can be found throughout African but is seldomly seen and likes to stay out of sight. This is the largest cat in Nyungwe forest and feed on a range of prey from birds to larger duikers and push pigs.

Animals in Nyungwe Forest

March Mongoose

This small mammal is common in Africa. It is dark reddish brown to black and feeds mostly on insects and small lizards. It can be found in wet areas close to water, lakes or marches.

Egyptian Mongoose

The Egyptian mongoose is common in Africa and all the way up to the Iberian Peninsuala and can be found in a range of different habitats. They feed on many different prey including fish, rodents and insects.

Slender Mongoose

This species of mongoose is easily distinguished from other species by its long and slightly curved tail with a black tip. It feeds mostly on insects but can also feed on rodents and snakes if given opportunity.

Servaline Genet

This is a small and tree-climbing genet native to Central Africa. The fur is golden yellow with black dots. The tail is bushy and longer than the body with black stripes. This is mostly a nocturnal species.

Blotched Genet

This species of genet is easy to confuse with the servaline genet but the spots are more blotched and elongated along the body and the tail ends with a with rather than a black stripe.

African Palm Civet

The African palm civet is a small tree-living civet with short legs. It can be found distributed from Western Africa all the way to Eastern Zimbabwe. It is mostly nocturnal, coming out at night to feed on fruits. 

Animals in Nyungwe Forest

Contact Information and Booking

Nyungwe National Park is managed by African Parks in cooperation with the Rwandan Government and Rwanda Development Board.

  • Pre booking is not always necessary but is strongly advised
  • All park activities can be booked through the park office +250 788 625 359
  • African Parks, Park headquarters +250 788317027/8/9
  • Official Website: African Parks

Good to know:

  • Raincoats, boots and walking sticks are available from the reception
  • All Nyungwe hikes are classified as hiking in protected area/National Park.
  • Animals live in their natural habitat
  • Guide and permit are needed

Most of the websites and contacts about Nyungwe Forest online are not official park websites and the information is sometimes wrong and not reliable.  

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