OTHER RWANDA SAFARI NATIONAL PARKS
Located to the north west of the destination Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park shares borders with Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park. It is the most popular park in destination Rwanda because it is the only National Park in the country with Mountain Gorillas which are listed as critically endangered world over.
Besides the Mountain Gorillas, the other outstanding features of Volcanoes National Park are the five (5) breathtaking scenic volcanoes that include; Rwanda’s highest Mountain Karisimbi (4,507m), Mount Bisoke (3,711m), Mount Muhabura (4,127m), Mount Sabyinyo (3,669m) and Mount Gahinga (3,474m) with the last three having their peaks in the neighbouring destination Uganda.
Established in 1925, Volcanoes National Park ranks among the oldest National Parks of Africa and the aim of its gazzettion was to conserve the Mountain Gorillas from poachers. The borders were further increased in the year 1929 by the Belgian colonial Masters to cover more parts of Rwanda and Congo and it was named Albert National Park covering 8,090km2. However, 700ha were later cleared for human settlement in the year 1958.
Following the independence of Democratic Republic of Congo in the year 1960, the National Park was divided into two and after Rwanda gained independence in 1962, still the new government resolved to keep the park though the population was already dense. However, the National Park was reduced between 1969 and 1973 with 1,050ha cleared for pyrethrum growing.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is located to the south west of Rwanda bordering Burundi to the South and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West. This great montane forest is within the watershed between the River Nile basin to the east and River Congo basin to the west. It actually forms one of the remote sources of River Nile.
Established in the year 2004, Nyungwe Forest National Park stretches to cover a geographical spread of 970km2 comprising of well conserved rain forest, grassland, bamboo, bogs and swamps. The closest town to Nyungwe Forest National Park is Cyangungu which is 54km to the west of the park. Mount Bigugu marks the highest point in the park rising to 2950m above sea level. Nyungwe Forest National Park features a great diversity of wildlife species that qualify it as conservation priority on the African continent. It is positioned at the convergence of various bio-geographical zones and the range of terrestrial biomes facilitates the survival of diverse plant and animal species. A total of thirteen (13) primate species are recorded in Nyungwe Forest National Park, 1068 species of plants, 275 species of birds, 85 species of mammals, 32 species of amphibians and 38 species of reptiles. A range of these wildlife species are limited in range to the montane forests of the Albertine Rift. Nyungwe is believed to be among the oldest forests on the African continent and is recorded to have survived the last ice age. This great diversity makes it one of the popular Rwanda Safari tour sites offering a range of adventure activities including Chimpanzee Trekking, Colobus monkey tracking, Canopy walk, Birding and breathtaking nature walks.