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 harbours almost 300 bird species of which two dozen are
restricted to a handful of montane 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 tree to tree like a
procession of streamlined psychedelic turkeys.
Nyungwe National Park is the largest block of montane 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 colourful orchids.
The park covers over 1000 sq km
Location from Kigali
Nyungwe Forest National Park in southwestern Rwanda, is located south of Lake Kivu on the border with Burundi
The park is a true rain forest and it receives 2,000 mm of rainfall annually. It is also one of the oldest forests in Africa, and that is one of the reason as to why it boasts such a high level of diversity. Nyungwe Forest National Park, along with other forests of the Albertine Rift, was unaffected by the drying up of the lowland areas during the last ice age, and therefore become a refuge for forest plants and animals
Nyungwe Forest National Park is possibly among the most authoritative bird viewing location in Rwanda with over 280 bird species registered of which the absolute majority are forest specialists and twenty-six being regional endemics whose range is limited to a number of forests along the Albertine Rift. Bird viewing in Nyungwe could be relatively frustrative, because the vegetation is compact along with several birds having a tendency to stay to the canopy, however roughly all you watch grades as an excellent sighting.
The priorities of better birdwatchers will count to some extent on their experience in different places in Africa. It’s challenging to imagine, for example, that a first – time guest to the continent will become as happy about a drab chubb’s cisticola as they’ll once they first watch a paradise flycatcher or greenish pigeon. For any individual coming from southern Africa, in any case half of what they’ll watch will be different to them, with an aggregate of almost sixty moderately wide spread east African forest specials oriented by the great blue turaco. Ross’s turaco, red – breasted sparrow hawk as well as white – headed wood hoopoe.
The 13 primate species which crop up in Nyungwe indicate something like 20-25% of the whole figure in Africa, an extraordinary number which in east Africa is compared barely to Uganda’s Kibale forest. Additionally, a couple of these primates are recorded as prone or endangered on the IUCN red register, and Nyungwe is almost definitely the central stronghold for at least 2 of them.
The most famous of Nyungwe’s primates is the Ruwenzori colobus a race of the further wide spread Angola colobus which is confined to the Albertine Rift.
Additional kinds of monkeys in Nyungwe National Park are the L’Hoest’s monkey,, Owl faced monkey, red tailed monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, crowned monkey, Silver monkey, golden monkey Vervet monkey, as well as Olive baboon which is a savannah monkey that’s sometimes seen along the highway through Nyungwe, Grey-cheeked mangabey is an arborary monkey of the forest interior.
Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe
The Rwandan Chimpanzee population of at least five hundred individuals is at present believed to be confined to Nyungwe national park (plus a minor society in the Cyamudongo Forest), however it stays faintly feasible that a minor population registered in the early on nineties in the further northwards as well as badly degraded Gishwati forest further remains.
Contrary to certain primates, chimps do not live in troops, however in form of extended communities of equal to 100 masses, which stray the jungle in minor socially mobile sub categories that frequently circle around a number of close family groups like brothers or a mother with daughter. Chap chimpanzees commonly spend their whole living within the society into which they were delivered, where as female chimpanzees are likely to move into a near community at some point later on getting adolescence.
Activities at Nyungwe
Trekking and other excursions are the available activities within Nyungwe .Visitors with satisfactory vehicles and interest can easily be busy for three or four days without drastically retracing their steps. The opinions for travelers without private transport are more limited and depend on whether they are to sleep at Uwinka campsite where the main attraction is the network of colored trails, a good place for colobus and seasonally for chimps, or at the rest house which is the best base for the water fall trail and for visiting the colobus in Gisakura tea estate. In the dry season you need a private vehicle to go chimp tracking wherever you are based and at all times of year you need a vehicle to visit the habituated grey-cheeked mangabey troop and to explore the road to Rangiro. The forest trails are steep and often very slippery. Dress cord is mainly jeans, a thick skirt and good walking shoes, and water proof jackets which are useful during the rainy season.
Nyungwe National Park Trails
The Waterfall Trail
This trail begins at the ORPTN Rest house and demands between 3 and 6 hrs to cover it up as a round trip, depending upon how frequently you stop in addition to whether you drive or walk from the rest house. The 1st part of the trail is basically following the road to the vehicle park passes via the rolling tea plantations doted with relict forest patches which are worthy scanning nearly for silver as well as other monkeys. These little stands of jungle may as well be profitable for birds; keen bird watchers may possibly well prefer to take them bit by bit, and may possibly see this sitting section of the trail as worthy for bird watching excursion.
The Trail afterwards settles into the forest proper, coming after a leveled contour line paths via a succession of tree-fern-covered ravines, and crossover various streams, ahead of a sharp descent to the base of the pretty however small waterfall. Monkeys are frequently detected along the way (The Angola colobus appears to be definitely common) and the steep slopes provides excellent views into the canopy. This trail may be very pleasing for precise forest interior birds, with a suitable chance of sporting of Albertine Rift endemics like Ruwenzori turaco and yellow – eyed black flycatcher.
Uwinka and the colored trail
A reminder of an early plan to modernize Nyungwe for tourism, back in the late eighties, a net work of 7 walk trails, all assigned by a certain color leads downward-sloping from the Uwinka camping site into the nearby forested hills. Laying out in distance from 1 km Grey Trail to the 10 km Red Trail, the pathways are entirely well kept and clearly marked, however do not underestimate the steepness of the slopes or after it had rained. Trails go through the province of the habituated troop of 400 colobus monkeys. Throughout the rainy season, a troop of chimps regularly gets into this region similarly, and it’s up to you to choose whether to pay more to track them.
This leads to a fairly separate ecosystem, a moderately lowland marshy region rich in orchids (mainly in the course of the rainy season) along with localized swamp-associated bird species. This used to be the dearest area to see Nyungwe’s elephants, however none has been seen here in past few years. The trail begins with a steep line from the main tar road almost twelve kilometer from Uwinka and six km from Gisakura.
This leads to the 2,950 m Bigugu peak, which is the most high-leveled point in Nyungwe national park. Desirable mainly for the relatively fit walkers, the trail begins about four km from Uwinka along the Huye(the trail is clearly marked) and it generally takes at least 6 hours for it to complete. For geographers a fresh water spring on mountain Bigugu has additional importance for its most remote source of longest river in the world.