National parks Rwanda- Main Three Rwanda National Parks
Rwanda is known as a safari destination with three main national parks. These have greatly attracted many people to come for tours to Rwanda. These National parks mainly include;
Volcanoes National park, Akagera National park and the so common Nyungwe National park. Volcanoes National park lies in the northwestern Rwanda. It borders Virunga National park on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Mgahinga National park in Uganda. This park is commonly known for the mountain gorillas and it’s a home to the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains which are covered in rain forest and the bamboo.
This park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey. The national park was gazette in 1925, as a small area bound by karisimbi, visoke, and mikeno, intended to protect the mountain gorillas from poachers. This was the first national park to be created in Africa. The vegetation varies considerably due to the large altitudinal range within the park. There is also some lower montane forest. The park is best known for the mountain gorillas, the other mammals also include; the golden monkeys, black fronted duiker, buffalos, spotted hyenas, and the bushbucks. There are also some elephants, though these are very rare.
There are 178 bird species, with at least 13 species and i6 subspecies endemic to the virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains. It has greatly attracted many tourists to come for gorilla trekking safaris to Rwanda.The main activities done in the park also include; Gorilla visits, Golden monkey visits, climbing of Karisimbi Volcano, climbing of Bisoke volcano, Tour of the lakes and the caves and the visiting of the tomb of Dian Fossey.
Akagera National park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. It was named after the Akagera River which flows along its eastern boundary and it feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combined in a relatively small area make Akagera National park. It covers 1,2000 km in eastern Rwanda, it was found in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in there ecoregions; savannah, mountain and swamp. Due to the land shortages in 1997 the western boundary was regazzetted and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was also reduced to size from over 2500km2 to its current size.
The wildlife species in Akagera National park also include; elephants, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, various species of antelopes, crocodiles and the hippos and these have attracted many tourists to come for safaris to Rwanda. However the fate of the park’s few remaining lions is uncertain and while the leopards are certainly around. Bird life in Akagera is however outstanding, with 550 species recorded with many rare specials, including a good density or raptors and good numbers of large water birds around the lakes.
Nyungwe rain forest National park is also placed in the southwestern Rwanda; at the border with Burundi, south, and Lake Kivu and the democratic Republic of Congo to the west. The park is probably the best preserved rain forest in the mountains throughout Central Africa. It’s also located in the watershed between the basin of the river Congo to the west and the basin of the river Nile to the east. It was established in 2004. It covers an area of approximately 970km of rain forests, bamboo, grassland, swamps and the bogs.
Nyungwe forest has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The park contains 13 different species; 257 bird species; 1068 plant species; 85 mammal species; 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. This forest’s maximum altitude of 3000m above sea level. This is of particular interest for the presence of colonies of chimpanzees and Angola colobus . The primate species also include; chimpanzees, Adolf Friedrich’s Angola colobus, L’hoest Monkey, Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Red tailed monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, Olive Baboon, Grey checked Mangabey and many more. All these animal species have greatly attracted many safari tourists to come to Rwanda.