Almost hidden, you´ll find in the Southeastern corner of Rwanda another natural jewel, the Nyungwe Forest, a vast untouched tropical rainforest with a high, dense canopy. Nyungwe became a National Park in 2012, spreading over 870 km2, its almost 3.000 m high mountains, part of the Albertine Rift system, are the watershed of the two biggest rivers in Africa, the Congo and the Nile.
The heart of Nyungwe Forest is like a scene from a fairy tale. Tall old mahoganies, ebonies and giant tree ferns tower above you, whilst orchids and other epiphytes cling to every branch. Brightly coloured birds flit around, butterflies are everywhere, and walking quietly you may even encounter larger forest residents, including a variety of primates for which Nyungwe National Park is renowned. Nyungwe Forest National Park includes the largest swathe of remaining montane forest in East or Central Africa. It harbours about 310 different bird species, hundreds of butterflies and orchids, and over 75 different species of mammals – including 13 primates (about a quarter of all Africa’s primates). The plant life is similarly diverse with 200 tree species of trees plus over 100 orchid species!
The Likano team starts a new project in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the cooperative COPMONYA (“Cooperative de Poterie et Materiaux Ornamentaux de Nyamasheke), where around 15,000 efficient cook stoves were disseminated to households in very close vicinity to the forest. This measure decreases the pressure for tree cutting substantially, because replacing a 3-stone-fire by a cook stove reduces the amount of firewood for cooking.
We will report more about this exciting project soon.