Nyungwe forest is a magnificent place for ecotourism

Last week,I had a chance to visit Nyungwe rainforest, popularly known as Nyungwe National Park, which lies in the south west corner of Rwanda.

What an evergreen and thick forest!  It covers a vast area. I traversed the forest from one entry point to exit point. The journey takes approximately an hour.

The forest covers an area of over 1000sq kilometres and it extends into Burundi in Kibira national park. It’s believed to be one of Africa’s most evergreen forests, which illustrates its rich biodiversity.

The forest weather is quite chilly but friendly. It is truly an awesome experience for nature lovers. It has a well tarmacked road traversing the forest intended for long-term use.  History reveals that Nyungwe forest has been in existence for thousands of years.

For the purposes of ecotourism, trees are determinants of a forest ecosystem as they considerably influence forest micro-climate—available light, wetness, and temperatures.

Therefore, the diversity and vastness of a forest strongly depend on the richness of tree species. In fact, Nyungwe forest hosts multi-tree-species rather than one-tree-species.

Apart from being a tourist attraction, the diversity of tree species is an important component in building our resilience to climate change and to reducing the risk from pests or pathogens damage. Forests are of great importance for human survival.

This importance cannot be underestimated. The conservation of the flora and fauna makes our life fundamentally possible, especially for the air we breathe. Besides providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, the forest also offers watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change.

Furthermore, the Nyungwe forest hosts diverse animal species, including endangered primates.  Specifically, it hosts over 13 primate species. It is also the sighting of the golden monkeys.  Apart from chimpanzee trekking, there’re monkeys which are often seen in large groups of up to 300 colobus monkeys.

Nyungwe Forest, equally, hosts over 310 bird species and 27 of them are endemics and are part of the species that are found in the forests of the albertine rift, such as the Chapin’s flycatcher, Rockefellers’ sunbird.

The sun birds of many types, like the purple breasted and the blue headed, can be found in flowering trees. Nyungwe is indeed birder’s paradise, and you will see many other things from the orchids to the primates during your birding walks.

Additionally, though due to the fact that the forest is so dense, some of the birds, if not most of them, like to stay on top at the canopy more than the inside of the forest.

So in case you are on any birding safari, a guide would help you in identifying different bird species that you need to sight during the forest walk. With their professional experience, the guides are able to show you many different spots where the birds are oftentimes seen.

The forest is also endowed with numerous streams slinking through the rocks. Streams refer to water bodies flowing across the earth’s surface with shallow channels and narrow banks, as opposed to a considerably larger flowing water body, generally known as a river.

These streams are also great natural resources in Nyungwe forest. Forest streams act to preserve and enhance water quality.

Besides, deep root systems also act to absorb pollutants moving beneath the surface of the Earth, such as nitrate. Tree canopy cover along streams acts to shade and cool the water, maintaining healthy levels of dissolved oxygen that benefits many forms of aquatic life.

Equally, Nyungwe forest is one of the most beautiful places for a nature walk, also known as a forest walk. Nature lovers enjoy forest walk where they experience fresh air and relaxation. The tourists are often guided by the professional guides.

Nature walk enables tourists to take along and adventurous trek where they see various giant tree species, gentle meandering streams, and rich populations of birds.

No matter what your interests are, you’ll never run out of ways to enjoy the beautiful forest. Some of these species can only be found in Nyungwe forest and nowhere else. It is truly an awesome experience for nature lovers. What a memorable adventure!

More interestingly, Nyungwe forest hosts canopy, a loveliest man-made touristy feature. As likely as not visitors can’t afford to leave the forest without enjoying a canopy walk. Canopy walk is a window of opportunity to view the panoramic forest view.

Visitors can be able to correlate and learn about the role of forests in maintaining air quality, regulating precipitation and mitigating climate change.

In closing, visitors’ security in the forest is effectively guaranteed by park rangers in collaboration with the security organs. Equally, the park rangers protect the forest from any encroachment or menace of every kind.

There are hundreds of species of animals throughout the world which are fast disappearing because of human interference in their natural habitat. The more flora and fauna we lose, the fewer there are to contribute to individual ecosystems. Responsible travel to natural areas may conserve the environment brings huge benefits to humans.

Thanks, relevant authorities, for putting in place policy and legal frameworks for the conservation of forests. 

The writer is a law expert.