Situated in the south western side of Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is close to northern side of Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. It has risen with time as one of Rwanda Safaris top destinations as it contains the largest montane forest in the whole of East Africa which has existed since the prehistoric era.
Due to its rich verdant vegetation, Nyungwe breeds some of the tributaries that form the source on the longest river in the world – River Nile.
Attractions in Nyungwe Forest Park:
The varying altitude of Nyungwe forest that stretch up to 3000 meters is a perfect habitat for a range of species. Most of these are primates the descendants of ancestral monkey that lived in the areas of East Africa and Arabia millions of years ago. These primate species include; the Common Chimpanzees, Angola colobus, L’Hoest’s Monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti), Adolf Friedrich’s Angola, Silver Monkey (Cercopithecus doggetti), Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus kandti), Hamlyn’s Monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), Red-tailed Monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius), Dent’s Mona Monkey (Cercopithecus denti), Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), Grey-cheeked Mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) and Olive Baboon (Papio anubis).
Regarded as an important Bird Area by the Bird life International, it is by no mistake that Nyungwe forest has 278 species of birds with 26 Abertine endemics. Its raised ecosystem is a perfect habitat for montane bird dwellers while the prehistoric forest shelters range of forest birds.
The bird species in Nyungwe include among others; Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Turacos such as the Rwenzori Turaco, Kungwe Apalis, Purple-breasted and Blue-headed, Apalis argentea, Alehe poliophrys, Ruwenzori Apalis, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill, e.t.c.
Nyungwe forest is the largest montane forest tract in that can be found anywhere on East Africa Safaris and Central Africa and it is one of the few forest tracts that survived the wave of the last ice age. As a result of this background, Nyungwe has a rich diversity of flora counting to 200 species of trees including flowering plants, magnificent giant lobelia and the beautiful orchids.
The Bamboo together with other shrubs like Erica johnstonii, Podocarpus and Phillipia dominate at 2950 m while the upland tree species like Podocarpus, Macaranga, Syzygium, Balthacaria and Hagenia dominate at 2500 m. the tree ferns and the tall tree species like Newtonia, Symphonia, Polycscias, Carapa, Entandophragma and Cyathea manniana dominate at 2250m while taller tree species like Prinaria exelsium. The forest has the re-known largest African mahogany or Entandrophragma excelsum.