Exploring Rwandan natural game reserves : Rwanda is a landlocked east African country boasting majestic volcanoes, lush, dense greenery, imposing mountains, and spectacular wildlife. Nicknamed the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda has suffered a turbulent history in recent years but is now entering an economic and environmental resurgence sure to elevate it as a top tourist spot for natural beauty. Here’s our definitive guide to the best Rwanda forest Reserves

Rwanda is known as one of the east and central African countries to conserve wildlife and this is seen in the four national parks that are found in Rwanda such as volcanoes national park, Akagera national park, Nyungwe rest national park and finally Gishwati-Mukura national park. Wildlife conservation does by protecting endangered species such as plants, animals, and their habitats in the national settings of Rwanda Game Reserves. Among the goals of wildlife conservation are to ensure that nature will be available for future generations to enjoy and know the importance of wildlife and wilderness lands to humans.

With a vast array of incredible things to see and do, it is unsurprising that safari welcomes so many visitors from around the world each year. This guide presents to you the natural game reserves found in Rwanda

Akagera national park

Akagera national park is the central Africans largest reserves area and the last remaining refuge for savannah adapted species in Rwanda. Akagera national park is located in the northeastern part of Rwanda in Kibungu district boarding Tanzania in the East, covering an area of approximately 1,122 square kilometers. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into Lake Ihema and several smaller lakes. The park derives its name from the River Kagera that flows along its eastern border. Akagera National Park was established in 1934 and is one of the largest protected savannah reserve in Africa. Akagera conservational efforts was to conserve and protect a variety of biodiversity in their national habitant.

Akagera national park is one of the protected reserve in the central Africa as well as Rwanda protecting and housing the big 5 African Animals such as African elephants, lions, rhinos, buffaloes and leopards. There also a variety of others mammal species surviving in the savannah plains of Akagera national park such as zebras, bushbucks, Maasai giraffes, elands, topis, hyenas, warthogs, oribis, Sitatunga, Defassa waterbuck, roan antelopes, sable antelopes, reedbucks, civets, and different primate species. Akagera national park also protects a vast number of different bird species of over 450 savannah birds such as swamp flycatcher, shoebill stork, red-faced barbet, marabou stork, African fish eagle, open billed stork, cormorants, African darter, lilac-breasted roller, Suaza shrike, long-tailed cisticola, Ross Turaco, papyrus Gonolek, Huglen’s robin-chat, and many others.

Volcanoes national park Rwanda

Volcanoes national park is one of the oldest African national park, gazetted as a national park in 1925 purposely to protect and conserve the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda that was found roaming at the jungles of the Virunga Mountains.  A stunning chain of volcanoes that stretches off into the distance, evoking the romanticism of tropical jungle forests and the gentle mountain gorilla giants that inhabit them with-in.

Volcanoes national park situated in the northwestern part of the country in Musanze earlier known as Ruhengeri covering an area of about 160 square kilometers of rainforest encompasses of five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains such as Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Muhabura, Bisoke and Karisimbi occupied by a large bamboo forests. .volcanoes game reserve also shares its Virunga conservational areas and borders Mgahinga national park in Uganda and the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Exploring Rwandan natural game reserves
Mountain Gorilla

Volcanoes national park is one of the two remaining world’s game reserve housing endangered mountain gorillas as well as golden monkeys. There also some mammal species living in the park such as black fronted Duiker, Buffalos, elephants, spotted hyenas, and the Bushbucks among others. The park is one of the protected reserve housing over 200 different colorful bird species such as francolin, Rwenzori Turaco and Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori double-collared sunbird, strange weaver and Archer’s robin-chat, White-collared Oliveback, African Swamphen, Grey-headed Bush shrike, Bat Hawk, Narina Trogon, Lesser Honeyguide among others.

Nyungwe forest national park

Nyungwe forest national park is one of the oldest protected area in Rwanda, the park is located in the southwestern province of the country covering an area of approximately 1,019 square kilometers. Nyungwe is a lovely gallery forest with walking trails, a home to semi-habituated chimpanzees and a friendly group of black and white colobus monkey huge populations of the chimpanzees as well as the black and white colobus monkeys

The game reserve is home to over 1,068 kinds of different plants species which act as food for a vast number of wildlife species of which over 68 which are endemic to the park, among them over 200 species are trees, 248 species orchids such as flowering plants, giant lobelia, shrubs, Miliantus hostislic, Mahogany and bamboo among others, the park is also home to the biggest protected wonderful marshlands in Rwanda called Kamiranzovu swamp.

The Nyungwe forest national park has also protected and reserves a wide range of wildlife such as duikers, golden cats, Klipspringer, impalas, Bushbucks, Buffaloes, Elephants, Bush pigs, Gant forest hog, Blotched serval, Carnival genet, Congo clawless, Mongoose, otter, serval, Felis, black-fronted duiker, western tree hyrax, and many more as well as different fascinating bird species including those endemic to the Albertine rift such as Great Blue Turaco, Red-Breasted Sparrow Hawk, White Headed Wood Hoopoe, Re-Throated Alethe, Paradise Flycatcher and the Gigantic Forest Hornbill, Green Pigeons, Ross’s Turaco, Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-Faced Woodland Warbler among others.

Mukura forest reserve

One of the most captivating aspects of Mukura forest reserve is its remarkable biodiversity. The reserve is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, some of which are endemic to the area. Mukura Forest Reserve is a protected area located in the northwest part of Rwanda’s Albertine rift regions, covers an area of about 16 sq. km which lies within the Congo-Nile crest. The reserve was once part of the large mountain forest that stretched from Nyungwe Forest National Park to Volcanoes national park.  The average annual temperature received by Mukura forest is 15 °C. The forest rises to an average height of 2,600 meters above sea level, and receives 1,500 mm of rainfall annually. Mukura forest reserve was established as protected area in 1951, formally covering an area of about 30,000 acres of land but due to increase human activities such as poaching, mining, agriculture, and settlements, the reserve forested land degraded to 16,000 acres.

Mukura forest reserve is a home to a variety of wildlife including beautiful colorful birds such as strange weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, yellow ramped tinker bird, salty flycatcher, Red-throated Alethe, Ruwenzori Turaco, Mountain Yellow Warbler among others as well as primates species like chimpanzees , mountain monkeys  and golden monkeys and others.

Gishwati forest reserve

Gishwati forest reserve is a mountain rainforest portion situated just in the south of Volcanoes National Park in the western province of Rwanda. The forest reserve sits at an altitude of about 2000-3000 meters above the sea level. Gishwati forest reserve covers some parts of the Congo Nile Divide forest including Mukura forest reserve, also stretches up to Nyungwe forest national park and the neighboring Kibira national park in Burundi. The forest reserve is situated in Rutsiro district and neighbor’s four districts such as Mushonyi, Kigeyo, Nyabirasi and Ruhango

Gishwati forest reserve is a home to over 84  species of trees and shrubs, including numerous indigenous hardwoods and bamboo which act as feeding grounds for a variety of different biodiversity such as Eastern chimpanzee, and golden monkeys, blue, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, red river hog, the black front duiker, the southern tree hyrax, the serval, and Felis aurata as well as bird species such as White-backed Vulture, Hooded Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Dwarf Honeyguide, Lagden’s Bushshrike, Shelley’s Crimsonwing among others

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