Nyungwe National Park (WP)
Extending for 1,000 square kilometers across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of mountain forest in East or Central Africa, and one of the most ancient, dating back to before the last Ice Age.
A uniquely rich centre of floral diversity, the forest has more than 200 different types of tree, and a myriad of flowering plants including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a host of colorful orchids.
Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including humankind’s closest living relative the chimpanzee, as well as the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and hundred-strong troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola colobus
The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe harbors almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are restricted to a handful of mountain forests on the Albertine Rift. The avian highlight of Nyungwe is the great blue turaco – an outlandish blue, red and green bird which streams from trees.
An extensive network of well-maintained walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortably rustic rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can readily be visited as a day trip from the towns of Huye and Cyangugu.
Facts about Nyungwe Forest
Area: 970 square kilometers (378 square miles), the largest single forest blocks in East Africa.
Elevation: Between 1,600 meters and 2,950 meters (Between 5,600 feet and 9,700 feet).
Temperature range: 0-30 degrees C (32-85 degrees F, average daytime temperature: 15.5 degrees C (60 degrees F).
Rainfall: 1800-2500 mm per year (71-78 inches).
Rainy season: September to May.
Dry Season: June to August, with several dry weeks in December/January.
Nyungwe forest is made up of a complex matrix of Albertine Rift mountain forest. Nyungwe National Park is known for its rugged terrain and complex mosaic of dense vegetation types from tall dense forests to open, flower filled marshes. The park has a varied topography with different soil types providing micro habitats for both plants and animals. Moist, fertile soil supports tall forests, while dry ridges provide habitat for shorter trees and thickets. The southeastern portion of Nyungwe is blanketed with bamboo, an important commodity, while flooded forests, marshes, and open herbaceous ground cover are interspersed throughout.