NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe Ntaional Park is the largest remaining tract of a true Afro-montane rainforest in east central Africa, the park covers an area of about 1015 sq kilometers over the mountainous southwest of Rwanda, forming a contiguous forest block with that of Burundi’s 370 sq km Kibira National Park. Nyumgwe is the most important catchment area in Rwanda, and its central ridge divides Africa in two main and major drainage systems, the Nile and the Congo basin, a spring on the slopes of the 2950m mt Bigugu is now controversially regarded to be the most remote source of the world’s longest river a debate left by the Royal Geographers in the late 1880s
It lying on the western arm of the great Albertine Rift Valley, the positioning makes Nyungwe remarkably rich in biodiversity with over 1,000 different types of plants with numerous orchids endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley, the park has over close to 125 butterfly species, 65 mammals, 310 bird species with higher chances of seeing the Albertine Rift Endemics like the Kungwe Apalis, Red Collard Mountain Babbler, Stripe Breasted Tit among others.
Nyungwe is a very celebrated park as the views are very welcoming and make you curious before enter it. One moment the road is winding through a characteristic rural Rwanda landscape of rolling tea plantations and artificially terraced hills, the next view is of a dense tangle of trees rising imperiously from the fringing cultivation. For a full 50km, the roads clings improbably to steep forested slopes, offering grandstand views over densely swathed hills that tumble like monstrous green waves towards the distant Burundi border. One normally thinks of the rain forest as an intimate and confining environment, and Nyungwe’s dark interior certainly possesses those qualities. But as viewed from the main road, Nyungwe is also a gloriously expansive sight.
Many visitors always have a big focus on primates and the park has 13 species in inhabiting it, including chimpanzee, Ruwenzori colobus, Red Tailed, Blue Monkey and the localized L’Hoest’s monkey. However, to birders, given its well developed trails and the suspended canopy walk, Nyungwe so alluring.
Bisected by the surfaced truck road between Huye and Rusizi/Cyangugu, Nyungwe is unusually easily accessible by car. Partly this is because the forest trails require more stamina than their counterparts in the Volcanoes National Park, without the enticement of mountain gorillas to justify the effect.