Nyungwe Rainforest, located in south western Rwanda, could closely be compared to the magical Pandora Forest from the movie Avator. The Rainforest is enchanting and mystical and unlike Pandora, very peaceful. It is a dense tropical forest.
The Nyungwe rainforest has a surface area of 1015 square Kilometers that stretches over several of Rwandas hills. Ngungwe Forest National Park belongs to the montane Forests of the Albertine Rift which is the western leg of the Great Rift Valley. Everything, from plants, birds through to the Monkeys, are thriving and symbiotically working together as if man never existed. The forest, which reaches its maximum altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Angola colobus (Colobus angolensis), the latter now extinct in Angola for the intense hunt to which they were subjected.
The park contains 13 primate species, and making up for almost one quarter of the total number of primates living in Africa. There are over 500 Chimpanzees in the park, thus being one of the biggest drawcards. Further to primates, there are 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift montane forests eco-region in Africa. In fact, the number of endemic species found here is greater than in any other forest in the Albertine Rift Mountains that has been surveyed.
Nyungwe Forest is not only a about the wildlife but is also a great park for adventure – there are many different colour coded hiking routes leading through the National Park and forest and offers a rare opportunity to walk along a breathtaking liana and steel suspended canopy bridge through the dense forest.
From the park information centre, descend the 40º slant via a zig-zag foot path to the first tower deep in the forest valley for the 2 hour walk on the Canopy Walk’s 90 metre suspension bridge. Besides being so high in such a picturesque location, the walk allows access to the upper parts of the forest, where one can see some unique ‘canopy’ species; apes, birds, butterflies, plants and insects, flowers, leaves and other animals that live in the roof of the forest WHICH are otherwise invisible but can now be seen at eye level, or even from above. It is an unforgettable experience.