Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda is situated in the majestic hills of southwestern Rwanda and its bordering Burundi on the south with Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the western part of the park. The park is the only largest montane forest remaining in Central and East Africa. It is perfectly positioned in the watershed between the basin of the river Nile on the eastern side and the basin of the river Congo on the western part. Nyungwe forest is one of the outstanding sources of the prominent Nile on the eastern part of the part of the park.
Nyungwe National Park Rwanda was established in the year 2004 and it covers an area an estimated area of 970 km² of rainforest, grassland, bamboo, blogs and swamps. Cyangugu town is the nearest town located just 54 km from the town to the park on the western direction and Mount Bigugu is perfectly situated within the park boundaries.
Nyungwe National Park Rwanda has an interesting history which dates back from the year 1903 when Colonial Crown Land Nyungwe was declared a natural forest reserve, by the two Colonial governments namely German and the Belgians respectively, with the limitations on clearing. However Protection of the forest reserve was not consistently effected and enforced. In the year 1958-1973 Nyungwe forest Reserve drastically reduced its areas by over 150Sqaure kilometers due to human activities like fires, hunting of animals, woodcutting, and small-scale agriculture. In the year 1969 Elephants in Nyungwe forest park were still present and the number rounded to hundreds. In the year 1974, the last Elephant which was the only one left in the park was killed by the local hunters who wanted ivory out of it.
Nyungwe lies at an elevation of between 1,600 metres and 2,950 metres. It has an extensive network of well-maintained forest trails leads to a number of waterfalls and viewing points. A comfortable rest house and perfectly situated campsite lie alongside the main road, and the reserve can be visited as a day trip from smarter hotels in the towns of Butare and Cyangugu
This rich and ancient Nyungwe forest has different varied vegetation zone which differs depending on the level of altitude for instance at an altitude of 2950 m Subalpine - bamboo, shrubs Species are present, Podocarpus, Phillipia, bamboo, Erica johnstonii 2500 m High elevation – upland trees Species present: Podocarpus, Syzygium, Macaranga, Balthacaria, Hagenia 2250 m: Middle elevation – tree ferns, tall trees Species present: Carapa, Entandophragma, Newtonia, Polycscias, Symphonia, Cyathea manniana 1900 m: Low elevation – taller trees