Among the oldest Forest in Africa Nyungwe Forest deserve a mention. It has survived for decades and is likely to withstand the ongoing climatic changes, if other threats like Fires and deforestation are eliminated.
What makes Nyungwe Special?
Scientists panel beat about it that Nyungwe may have been among the forest that were withstood the harsh climates that was brought about by the Ice age where the most plants died instead Nyungwe provided shelter and food to a number of species of Plants and Animals.
Why was it not affected by Ice age?
Nyungwe lies in the western arm of the Rift Valley making part of the Albertine Rift Valley. During Ice age, Scientists think that high elevates places were the first to freeze out and being Nyungwe was low-lying it gave it an up hand in the withstanding of the Ice Age. It is believed that this marked the genesis of this great forest. Instead of freezing the warm air that was in the rift mixed up evenly with the cool air from the freezing escarpments providing an ideal environment for the growth of a number of plant species in the forest which in turn attracted primates and other Wildlife to feed on them. Hence became a home of refugee during the ice age. Presently Nyungwe celebrates being a home of 25% of Africa’s Primates and one of the best Primate, and Bird watching place in Rwanda and Africa at large.
Nyungwe’s Flora and Fauna
Nyungwe is a home of a diversity of plants and animals. Some of which are endemic to Albertine Rift Valley only. Being a protection of the world’s endemic species make Nyungwe the most Important Rainforest in Africa.
Nyungwe is a haven flora with over 1000 species of plants, with some tree reaching a height of 55m from the ground. Polyscias Fulva is the fastest Rain Forest growing tree in Rwanda reaching 20m in only 10-15 years.
Liked by Monkeys for its fruits and buttress roots being a drum to Chimpanzee, Newtonia buchanani is one of the love trees in Nyugwe by visitor who do chimpanzee tracking.
Loved by Elephants that once roamed the park, Sericostachys scandens is plant that is known to choke tree. In Nyungwe there are 10 species of this plant.
For more about the Forest and it’s flora request for a tour by clicking here.
With 13 Primate species, Nyungwe is known to be home of 25% of Africa’s primates the list goes as below:
Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes.
Chimpanzees are the only ape in Nyungwe forest National Park, Living in that may sum up to 500 individuals in this park. On your Chimpanzee Tracking, your guide will help you spot them and their signs which will include: listening to their calls, searching their nests, footprints and Dung. All these are indications that they are close.
L’Hoest’s Mountain Monkey Cercopithecus lhoesti.
Mostly living in Mountain forests, Nyungwe is one of these few Mountain forests in the world where this species is still common. They live in small groups managed by females.You can time and again seen by the main road near Uwinka. They have a dark coat and can be idenfied by a characteristic white beard.
Owl-faced Monkey Cercopithecus hamlyni.
Hamlyn’s monkey sometimes referred to as the owl faced monkey is one of the rear species of world oldest monkeys that inhabit baboob and Rainforest of Democratic republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. It was also sighted in Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda.
Angolan Colobus Monkeys Colobus angolensis ruwenzori
Nyungwe is one of the blessed forest in Africa where these monkeys form large number of over 350 individuals. Little is known about these primates but
The Old World monkeys or Cercopithecidae are a collection of primates, categorized in the superfamily Cercopithecoidea in the clade (or parvorder) of Catarrhini. They may now be found in other parts of the world mainly in the zoo but primarily are natives of Africa and Asia. Presently they are found in a wide range of environments from tropical rain forest to savanna, shrubland and mountainous terrain, and are. Not yet confirmed but there is a possibility that the free-roaming group of monkeys still survives in Gibraltar, Europe were introduced there. They include many of the most known species of nonhuman primates, such as baboons and macaques.
Other primates include
Mona Monkey Cercopithecus mona
Blue Monkey Cercopithecus mitis doggetti
Red-tailed Monkey Cercopithecus ascanius
Vervet Monkey Chlorocebus aethiops
Grey-cheeked Mangabey Lophocebus albigena
Eastern Needle-Clawed Galago Galago matschiei
Greater Bushbaby Otolemur crassicaudatus
Dwarf Galago Galago demidoff
Olive Baboons Papio anubis
Bird life in Nyungwe Forest
With a plentiful fruits produced by the forest trees, and being a habitat to a check list of 278 bird species, Nyungwe is by no doubts a birding haven in Rwanda 26 of which are endemic found Albertine Rift.
Grauer’s Rush Warbler is an Albertine Rift endemic that dewells in isolated mountain swamps, such as Kamiranzovou.
Turacos such as this Ruwenzori Turaco are rare elsewhere yet commonly encountered in Nyungwe forest. You are likely to listen to their loud rhythmic call resonate in the forest.
Spectacular and rare sunbirds, such as the endemic Purple-breasted and Blue-headed can be seen feeding in flowering trees.
The Black and white casqued Hornbill, one of two hornbill species in the park, is known by its huge bill and honking call