nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe Forest National Park

(Rwanda)
Nyungwe Forest National Park

Background

Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004. It is almost 1000 sq km in size and is the prime destination for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda. Incredible biodiversity, including 13 primate species and almost 300 species of bird makes this an undiscovered wildlife destination. Nyungwe rainforest is located in south-western Rwanda, at the border with Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyungwe rainforest is probably the best preserved rainforest 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.

This forest is home to 25% of all of Africa's primates, including a large population of chimpanzees, which produce the national park's main attraction: chimpanzee trekking. Nyungwe Forest National Park was established in 2004 and covers an area just under 1000 sq km of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. Along with its biodiversity, Nyungwe is an important water catchment for Rwanda and contains many natural resources integral to Rwanda’s human populations.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Wildlife Experience

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 provide a great span of micro-habitats for many different species of plants and animals. The park contains 13 different primate species, over 300 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. The forest, which reaches its maximum altitude of 3000m above sea level, is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees and Angola colobus, which is now extinct in Angola due to hunting. A population of around 400 chimpanzees, 2 troups of which are habituated to human contact. Hiking in the beautiful reserve and encountering these chimps is what draws most visitors to the area. There is also an extensive network of forest hikes from park headquarters, including a very high and dramatic suspension bridge.

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Nyungwe Forest National Park | Birdlife

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a stunning birding destination. Casual birders will be amazed at the variety of colorful species fluttering around, while dedicated bird-watchers have an opportunity to mark off many lifers. It pays to ask for a specialist birding guide at the park’s headquarters as they can identify many species by call. Of specific interest are the many Albertine Rift endemics and birds unique to the highland forest habitat. Three birds unrecorded elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine Rift are Albertine owlet, red-collared babbler and Rockefeller’s sunbird. Birding in Nyungwe Forest National Park is excellent throughout the year. Since so much of forest birding depends on calls, the best time is from March to May, when birds are most vocal. From June to September, many birds are feeding their fledglings and keep quiet, only becoming vocally active again in January or February. April is the wettest month and the logistics of birding might become a challenge, as trails get very slippery.

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