Nyungwe forest national park is placed in the southwestern Rwanda, at the border with Burundi, south, and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Nyungwe rain forest is probably the best preserved rain forest in the mountains throughout Central Africa. It is located in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the basin of the river Nile to the east. From the east side of the Nyungwe forest comes also one of the branches of the Nile sources. Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rain forest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km to the west. Mount Bigugu is located within the park borders.
Nyungwe forest national park has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The forest is situated in a region where several large-scale bio-geographical zones meet and the variety of terrestrial biomes provide a great span of micro habitats for many different species of plants and animals.
The park contains 13 different primate species (25% of Africa’s total), 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests eco-region in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed.
Nyungwe Forest national park has about 278 different species of birds of which 26 are endemic to the Albertine Rift and these can be watched by all vivid birders interested in experiencing remarkable bird watching Tours in Rwanda. The bird species that can be spotted here include; Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Rwenzori Turacos, Red-throated Alethe, Apalis argentea, Purple-breasted and Blue-headed, Kungwe Apalis Ruwenzori Apalis, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, Alehe poliophrys, Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer, Batis diops, Ruwenzori Batis, Caprimulgus ruwenzorii, Archer’s Robin-chat Cossypha archeri, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Dusky Crimson Wing, Handsome Francolin, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Francolinus nobilis, Cryptospiza shelleyi, Cryptospiza jacksoni, Hemitesia neumanni, Red-collared Babbler, Kupeornis rufocinctus, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis ardesiacus, Regal Sunbird, Neumann’s Warbler and Cinnyris regius.
Chimpanzee tracking is the most popular safari activity carried out in Nyungwe Forest national park and involves transferring from one place to another within the forest searching for these amazing primates. You will transfer for a period of 2-4 hours in groups of 6-8 people and when you meet them only an hour will be allowed to stay in their presence taking numerous photos to keep for memories. You will transfer with an experienced guide who will inform you about the chimpanzees in their natural environment.
Nyungwe Forest National Park has the highest Canopy Walk in East Africa which is raised about 60 meters and offers travelers an experience of walking at the top of the gigantic trees in the forest. The walk will give you an opportunity to watch many different primates like Golden Monkeys, butterflies, birds etc. It requires you to traverse from one point to the other of the canopy with a sharp valley of rocks below making the whole experience exceptional. It will take you about 2-3 hours and costs US $60 per person interested.
Hiking and Nature Walks are very appropriate for all kinds of travelers for there are various trails which include;
This stretches to about 2.1 km offering incredible views of the canopy walkways, wild flowers as well as the Imbaraga and the Umoyove Trails.
This is the best trail for birding and consists of beautiful fern trees as well as the easiest trail to take in Nyungwe Forest.
Congo-Nile Divide Trail
This trail is very ideal and traverses the prominent water basins of River Congo and River Nile taking about 227 kms taking hikers more than a day to finish. You will transfer through the forest having remarkable views at bamboo forests, rain forest, open fields as well as birds. Carry your own camping equipment since you will be required to spend a night in your tents.
There are other trails that can be taken on and these include; the Umugote Trail, Umuyove Trail, Uwinka Trail, Irebero Trail, Imbaraga Trail, Bigugu Trail, Isumo Trail, Kamiranzovu Trail, Ngabwe Trail, Rukuzi Trail.
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