The Nyungwe National Park has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Heritage List.
The 102,000-hectare (1,019 km2 ) and one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe National Park located in southwestern Rwanda, is located on the border with Burundi, where it is contiguous with the Burundi’s Kibira National Park to the south, and Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West.
Nyungwe is home to intact forests and peat bogs, moors, thickets, bamboo, and grasslands, providing habitats to highly diverse flora and fauna.
It has over 1000 species of wildlife, including a small population of chimpanzees as well as 12 other species of primate, including the L’Hoest’s monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift.
UNESCO indicated that The Park also contains the most significant natural habitats for a number of species found nowhere else in the world, including the globally threatened Eastern Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes schweinfurthii), Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus mitis ssp. kandti) and the Critically Endangered Hills Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hillorum).
As of now, Nyungwe National Park is home to 75 mammal such as the cerval cat, mongoose, congo clawless otter and leopard to name but a few.
It also holds seven bird species that are globally threatened, with 317 species of birds recorded which makes the park the most important sites for bird conservation in Africa.
With plenty of rainfall, Nyungwe is also the major catchment area in Rwanda, and supplies freshwater to 70 per cent of the country.
The national park also feeds two of the world’s longest rivers namely River Nile and River Congo.
So far, Nyungwe’s monetary value is estimated at $4.8 billion, according to studies.
Things to do in Nyungwe National Park include; Chimpanzee trekking, colobus monkey tracking, Nyungwe forest Canopy Walk, Birding iand Hiking.
The park has amazing and breathtaking scenery-Tourists
Different tourists who visit Nyungwe Park affirm that it has amazing and breathtaking scenery and is a vantage point for picturesque views of the Virungas and the Congo.
They also say that Nyungwe is nature at its very best as it is lush and beautifully green, often seen with cooling mists in the early mornings and late evening.
Anneli Megner Arn, a Swedish national who visited the Nyungwe National Park in the end of November, 2022 told KT Press how special Nyungwe is.
“Nyungwe is truly a special place, not only because of the Chimps. The bird life is also outstanding and the staff and the guides are very friendly and proficient,” she stated, adding, “The nature and the rolling rainforest covered hills are amazing and from some places you can see miles away from the tree tops. When I was there we got very close to the chimps and saw them, foraging, quarrelling and even mating!”
Megner goes on to reveal how she felt when she was in Nyungwe Park.
“Well, at least I felt very calm, the worry and stress go away when I hear the sound of the birds and smell the leaves and soil,” she added.
Germain Ganza, a tourism reporter on Isano Radio and Tourism Trainer at Kivu Hills Academy affirms that being natural-jungle makes the Nyungwe National Park one of the special places.
“In addition to being large and mountainous, Nyungwe also has the distinction of being a dense and natural forest. Its nature qualifies it to mitigate Air Pollution,” he said.
He goes on to say that since Nyungwe was taken over by African Parks in collaboration with RDB, it has been emerged in terms of service delivering, capacity as well as recognition so that he thinks it is one of the reasons why it has been placed on the World heritage sites.
“Since it was taken over by African Parks in collaboration with RDB, some animals have been added, like now elephants should be added, but mostly, they want to make Nyungwe a Chimpanzee Hub,” he said.
In addition, he said that for him, Gishwati-Mukura Park should also be considered and should be put on the World Heritage List because even though it is small, it is somehow similar to Nyungwe.
In 2005, the Rwandan Government made Nyungwe an official National Park, giving it protected status, the highest level of protection in the country.