Rwanda’s national parks offer unique wildlife species and ecosystems. The volcanoes national park offers mountain gorilla trekking unforgettable experiences, Akagera national park is Rwanda’s only park offering the big five mammals that can be sighted, Nyungwe forest national park is among the oldest and the most pristine Africa’s montane forest protecting chimpanzee primate, and Gishwati-Mukura also protects the chimpanzee population, Gishwati renders the best eco-tourism site and a top birding haven in Rwanda.

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Volcanoes National Park

The Volcanoes National Park is nested within the northwestern part of Rwanda. It borders Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and the Virunga national park of Congo. Volcanoes national park covers roughly 160 square kilometers that protect the endangered mountain gorillas. volcanoes national park stands in a high altitude making it colder in comparison to any other national park in Rwanda. Volcanoes national park consists of 5 chained volcanic mountains that include mount Karisimbi, mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabinyo, and Mount Gahinga, bamboo forests, tropical rainforests, a few concentrated lakes, marshes, and the home to Musanze caves.  Volcanoes National Park protects the world’s rare mountain gorilla population second to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda. Volcanoes national park also harbors the golden monkeys and other mammal species like forest elephants, bushbucks, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, other smaller primates, and over 178 bird species.

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Despite Volcanoes national park’s rich biodiversity mountain gorillas make it more famous and Dian Fossey the American primatologist made volcanoes national park to be recognized internationally because of her mountain gorilla research, and studies from early 1967 until when she dies in 1985. Dian Fossey had built the Karisoke Research Centre which helps curb poaching in the park. Volcanoes national parks visitors can participate in mountain gorilla trekking, bird watching, golden monkey trekking, nature walks, mount Bisoke hiking, hiking mount Sabinyo, and hiking mount Karisimbi.

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Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is the luckiest of Rwanda’s national parks situated in the border of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nyungwe forest national park is in the Southwestern part of Rwanda, it was established in 2004. It covers approximately 270 square Kilometers. Nyungwe forest is the African oldest and the largest montane forest, Nyungwe forest always remains ever lush green throughout the year thus offering amazingly beautiful sceneries to visitors. Nyungwe forest is mostly occupied by a chain of mountains that were formed by volcanism as related to other chained mountains in Congo and Uganda. From these mountain peaks, travelers can have a chance to view Lake Kivu, Virunga national park, and Volcanoes national park during the day at a certain time. Nyungwe Forest National park protects over 200 tree species of trees that include bogs, grassland, and bamboo. Nyungwe forest national park is recognized as the primate’s capital in Rwanda with over 13 species including chimpanzees, silver monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, Angola Colobus, Lhotse’s Monkeys, Dent’s Mona Monkeys, black & white colobus, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Hamlyn’s Monkeys, and Grey-cheeked Mangabeys

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Nyungwe forest national park is a top birders’ destination in Rwanda offering 275 bird species recorded. This African dense forest accommodates more than 85 mammal species, 120 butterfly species, 38 reptile species, and 32 amphibian species. it also protects Golden cats, serval cats, Leopards, Mongooses, stripped jackals, and civets. Nyungwe forest national park is where the Congo Nile trail passes that enables bikers to view the dense forest, primates, birds, waterfalls, wildlife species, or a canopy walk. Nyungwe forest has more a 20 kilometers of well-maintained ground walking trails for nature walks providing a chance to encounter more forest creatures, tropical rainforest, waterfalls, marshlands, and bird species.

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s largest and only Savannah national park covering about an area of 1,222 square kilometers and dominated by the Savannah, woodlands grassland, montane forests, and endless swamps. Akagera national park is pestilential with enough water bodies although the most prominent are river Kagera, lake Ihema, and Lake Shakani. Akagera national park is the only national park in Rwanda where travelers can view the big five animals that includes Lions, leopards, elephants, Buffaloes, and Rhinos always roaming in the park freely. Besides the big five animals, tourists can also view zebra, impala, bushbucks, oribi, eland, waterbucks, hippopotamus, crocodiles, and the best birding destination in Rwanda with over 425 bird species including the papyrus gonolek and the shoebill stork specie.

Gishwati-Mukura National Park

Gishwati-Mukura national park is the newly established national park in Rwanda, it was created in 2015 by merging both the Gishwati and Mukura forests. In order to protect the remaining species of the Mukura and Gishwati forests while protecting the chimpanzee population residing there. Gishwati-Mukura national park also harbors other primate species such as golden monkeys, black & white colobus, blue monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Before the establishment of the national park, the two forests were facing extinction due to human encroachment after Rwanda’s genocide of 1994.

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