PARC NATIONAL DES VOLCANS (PNV) [ Volcanoes National Park]

In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat," wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, "are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest - the Virungas". Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Parc des Volcans protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range - home of the rare mountain gorilla - and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp, and heath. The park covers the Rwandan side of the Virunga Conservation area. Species: In the forested hills of the park can be found the rare golden monkey and populations of buffaloes and elephants.

The lakes of Akagera are inhabited by hippos and crocodiles, apart from some of the continent's densest concentrations of waterbirds. The connecting marshes are the haunt of the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek, and the bizarre shoebill stork. Activities. The Park offers well-developed trials for game drives. Also possible to arrange boat trips on the lakes along the Akagera river.

NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK (NNP)

Extending for 970 km across the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, 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. It is located in Southern Rwanda bordering Burundi. Species. A uniquely rich center 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 colorful orchids. Nyungwe is most alluring for its primates: 13 species in all, including the chimpanzee, as well as 'Hoest's monkey and hundred - strong troops of the Angola colobus.

The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe harbors about 275 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. There are 270 species of tree and 70 species of mammals.

Activities. An extensive network of walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. The main attraction is the guided walk to view large groups of black and white Angolan Colobus monkeys or chimpanzees. The starting point is the information center and Head Quarter at Uwinka There number of activities offered at Nyungwe Forest with on overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. The activities revolve around walking and trekking in the National Park.

The walk can last from 1 hour to 7 hours. The most popular activities are listed below. Black and white colobus monkey trekking, grey-cheeked mangabey trekking and the Kamiranzovu Swamps and Waterfall walk. Bird watching and cultural area walks are also offered. Chimpanzee Trekking While on your safaris in Rwanda, Chimpanzee Trekking is recommended adding to your Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Chimpanzee tracking is mainly done in Nyungwe National park. A group that sets off to track is maximum 8 people and trekking starts early morning a packed lunch is recommended and a couple of liters of water, wear long trousers, long-sleeved shirt, rain-jacket, hat, and hiking boots. Chimpanzees are familiar with people just because they habituated. Monkey Tracking In Nyugwe national park we spot a different kind of primates.

Unconfirmed sightseeing of Golden monkey has also been reported. But the most popular one in this Nyungwe National park is 300 Colobus monkeys, Ruwenzori colobus Monkey, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, as you continue with tracking you will have a chance to see L'Hoest's monkeys (primarily on the main round near Uwinka). Another rare animal you might also run into is the owl-faced monkey, an Albertine Rift endemic that inhabits Nyungwe's southern forests. In fact, most of the monkey species found in the park are endemic. Mona monkey and the blue monkeys.

The forest is also a primate country. Hiking in Nyungwe Forest The park is gifted with 13 hiking trails for hikers’ paradise. I have trails that a must to visit and enjoy the experience. Congo- the Nile divides trails You will get acquainted with the world's most separated river the trails take 3 to 4 days. It about 227 Km alongside the congo and the Nile. While trailing in the forest, you will get acquainted with the forest that separated the river basin the flows into the Nile and the river basin of the Congo. During the trek, you'll navigate through varied landscapes such as rainforests, bracken fields, and bamboo forests. This 42 kilometer 3 to 4-day trial is along the ridge in the forest that separates the river basins that flow into the Nile and on another side of the ridge into the river basin of the Congo. This is for the experienced hiker and involves camping in the forest as you make your 42-kilometer trek through the ridge of the forest. This is an amazing multi-day hike that will be most memorable and is not to be confused with the popular Congo – Nile Trail that runs alongside Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda.

This is the longest Hiking Trail in Nyungwe Forest. For those going on a multi-day trek, it can also be done by biking 4 by 4 car driving. Karambe Trails This is located and the former site of Goldmine, the hike is really easy, hiking through the fern tree via the market and the army camp. In Nyungwe it is also considered to be the best location of bird watching. Umoyove Trail This is another trail which takes through the tallest trees in Nyungwe. These trails also have channels that lead to all sides of Chimpanzee trekking. Umoyove trails are also known as mahogany trails Igishigishigi trails This hike is about 2.1 km Nyungwe is also known for a canopy walk, this hike has got a great sightseeing for canopy trail. It can be combined with the longer Imbaraga or Umoyove Trails.

Umugote trail An amazing trail for birding watching. This hike takes through numerous ridges, rainforests, and stunningly beautiful flowers and on a clear day, the Kibira National Park in Burundi. Uwinka trail Want to listen to the birds singing and making al sort of noise. This is the hike that will lead you there through the lowly ravines, the hike may a had one but worth it after hearing the sound of birds, that cools your mind. Imbaraga trail This hike requires experienced hikers, the trail rewards hikers with the sight of four scenic waterfalls - any of them will be refreshing after trekking a little less than 10 km. Irebero trail On this hike, you will have a clear view of Lake Kivu. You will king around two of the highest peaks in the park.

As the site of Lake Kivu, you will be able to capture good sights on your camera. Make sure your batteries are fully charged. Bigugu trail For hikers who interested in seeing flowers and trees, you hike around the highest peak. On a clear day, you will have a view of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Izumo trail On this trail, you may find farmers in the garden who will give an explanation of tea planting in the fields, steep rainforest ravines and to top it off, the biggest waterfall in the Nyungwe National Park.

Kamiranzovu trail This trial is mainly for people who love water this trail it features the park's largest wetland, an ancient swamp, and magnificent waterfalls. Muzimu trail This trail will take you through the eucalyptus forest and pine trees. You hike in the northeast of Rwanda. Another view of birds and their enjoyable sound in the forest. Ngabwe trail For picnic and camping, this is the hike. The campsites are set for all who want to go for this trail. Rukuzi trail This trails leased to chimpanzee Trekking and community. You will view the homes in the community from where you can hear children's voices carrying up the mountainside. Birding in Nyungwe Forest In Nyungwe National Park It had been recorded that it has 310 bird species and 27 of each are endemics and are part of the species that are found in the forests of the Albertine Rift. Nyungwe National park is also the most important park for the conservation of montane birds in the region.

There also many different types of birds that can be sported on this sport, The sunbirds of many types like the purple breasted and the blue-headed sunbird and can be found in flowering trees. Birding had become the most popular activity in East Africa. You will have ample time view it all. Canopy walk and the Hike This canopy walk is one of the best experiences that many cannot afford to miss out. The canopy walkway is about 6o meters above the ground and 160-meter stretch. It was constructed in 2010 by the green heart NGO group supported by USAID. The canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest starts from Uwinka and its a guided a walk, The walk can also be done via the long trails of Umuyove or Imbaraga.

Along the hike, you will be surprised to see butterflies flying over your head birds and primates like monkey moving on top of the trees. Above you and below you and a beautiful view of the huge Nyungwe forest and the great Lake Kivu. It’s an amazing sight. Community and Culture based tourism activities. Culture is an amazing activity and the opportunity to experience Rwandan tradition living and what makes it authentic. In Nyungwe Forest, you will have an opportunity to participate in the activities like grind millet and sorghum and grinding stone to make food. There is a lot to explore.

You will be welcomed by a local musician. Listening to the music and seeing them dance, that makes it so unique. In might have a chance to attend a wedding ceremony that is you fortunate, you can also participate in basket weaving and testing of the local food. Ethno Botany Tour with a traditional healer This field tour will introduce to your herbs and plants that help to cure different ailments. It is followed by a visit to the local pharmacy and to meet the individual who is under treatment and follow up their recovery stages. Brick making Tour Visit the clay fields where you can watch and learn the art of local brick making with clay. Clay bricks are wrapped in banana leaves to dry over a two day period before being processed in a wooden frame.

This tour is often coupled with an opportunity to get your hands dirty and help build a community house. Market Tour This is worthwhile exploring. Enquire about the village walks where local Rwandese women demonstrate cooking traditional Rwandan food. This includes food preparation and how to packages food in banana leaves the use of various local spices until the meal is served

Gishwati -Mukura officially becomes Rwanda’s 4th National Park

The newly created Gishwati-Mukura National Park Rwanda officially has four parks. The newest is Gishwati -Mukura National Park after Nyungwe, Akagera, and the Volcanoes National Parks. The law establishing the Gishwati-Mukura National Park was signed and gazetted on 01 February 2016.

This law also determines its boundaries, surface and buffer zone. According to the law, Gishwati-Mukura National Park is composed of the Gishwati Forest with an area of 1,439.72 hectares and Mukura Forest with a total surface of 1,987.74 hectares. The park’s buffer zone has a total surface of 992.48 hectares. Initially, the Gishwati-Mukura reserve was estimated to cover 250,000 ha before it reduced to 28,000 ha in the 1980s due mainly to uncontrolled human activities such as illegal mining, animal grazing, and tree cutting, among other threats. Over the past decades, the Gishwati-Mukura area was nearly depleted due largely to resettlement, livestock farming, and small farming in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Today, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) through its project called “Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAUREN) project” is working to restore the highly degraded Gishwati-Mukura landscape to enhance both environmental & economic benefits from both forests. Activities to restore the Gishwati-Mukura landscape include rehabilitating natural forest and biodiversity within the Gishwati and Mukura reserves, enhancing sustainable land management in the agricultural lands between both forests and introducing silvo-pastoral approaches in the rangelands of the central former Gishwati reserve.

The most important ornithological site in Rwanda, Nyungwe harbors about 275 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. There are 270 species of tree and 70 species of mammals. Activities. An extensive network of walking trails leads through the forest to various waterfalls and viewing points. The main attraction is the guided walk to view large groups of black and white Angolan Colobus monkeys or chimpanzees. The starting point is the information center and Head Quarter at Uwinka There number of activities offered at Nyungwe Forest with on overnight at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. The activities revolve around walking and trekking in the National Park.

Gishwati-Mukura Park is known for a wide range of flora and fauna, including primates, chimpanzees, and mammals among others. It also boasts of about 60 species of trees, including indigenous hardwoods and bamboo. As noted by the Director General of REMA, Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, upgrading Gishwati-Mukura forests to the status of a National Park will ensure that the remaining part of the natural forests is fully protected.

Dr. Mukankomeje also affirms that “the new park will contribute to improving the livelihoods of the population living in the surrounding areas as they will get off-farm jobs such as working in hotels and restaurants to be established near the park, becoming guides for tourists and selling craft products to different people coming to visit the park.” " In addition, implementation of LAUREN activities within the park boundaries and its landscape will create hundreds of jobs for local communities, giving them an opportunity to diversify their sources of income and eventually improve their living conditions," Dr. Mukankomeje added. Residents around Mukura – Gishwati National Park welcome its establishment. They also assert that the new park equals richness as they are promising to build good relations with daily visitors. The Gishwati-Mukura National Park is located in Rubavu, Rutsiro, Ngororero and Nyabihu Districts of the western part of Rwanda.