Nyungwe Forest National Park
Conveniently located in the resplendent hills of southwestern Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park is bordering Democratic Republic of Congo on the west and Burundi on the southern part with Lake Kivu. The park is the only one in the Central and East Africa with enormous Montane forest. Its strategic location in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo on the western part of the park and the basin of the river Nile on the eastern section makes the forest to be one of the fabulous sources of the famous Nile suited on the eastern part of park.
Established in the year 2004, Nyungwe Forest National park consists of an estimated area land of 970 km² of rainforest and other varied vegetation types such as bamboo, grassland, blogs and swamps. Cyangugu town is the only nearest town situated a mere 54 kilometers from the town to the park driving on the western direction and Mount Bigugu is strategically positioned within the park frontiers.
Nyungwe national park has an engrossing history which originates back from 1903 when Colonial Crown Land Nyungwe was announced a natural forest reserve, mainly by the two Colonial governments of the Germans and the Belgians respectively, with the restraints on clearing. However conservation and Protection of the Montane forest reserve was not consistently executed and put in practice. In the year between 1958-1973 the famous Nyungwe forest Reserve forcefully diminished its areas by over one hundred fifty (150) Square kilometers due to human illegal activities like poaching of wild animals, bush burning, deforestation and small-scale farming which were carried out on the park land. In 1969, the African Elephants in Nyungwe forest national park were still in existence and the total number was estimated to be hundred (100elephants). But in year 1974, the local hunters living around the park area killed the last Elephant which was the only one outstanding in the park.
Nyungwe spans at an altitude between 1,600m - 2,950 meters above sea level. The park also consists of a vast network of well-coordinated forest trails or routes that lead visitors to a number viewing platform and magnificent waterfalls.
This outstanding ancient forest park is gifted with several vegetation zones which appear different from each other. The variation in the vegetation is manly determined by the level of altitude for example at an altitude of 2950 m Subalpine – bamboo as well as shrubs vegetation Species exist, while at an elevation of 2500m above sea level, Podocarpus, Phillipia, bamboo, Erica johnstonii are present and at an altitude of of 2250m, Podocarpus, Syzygium, Macaranga, Balthacaria, Hagenia vegetation species mainly dominate.