Nyungwe Forest has a surface area of 1,019 km2, with a variety of different species of biodiversity trees and other types of vegetation, streams and several water sources.
Rivers which flows from Nyungwe National Park include Akanyaru, Rukarara, and around the Park’s boundary there is Ruhwa, Rubyiro, Kamiranzovu, Karundura, Kirimbi and many others flow from Nyungwe Forest. There are big Rivers and small ones which flow from Nyungwe forest. Among the ones include Mwogo, Akagera, Nyabarongo, which are supplied by by streams which come from Nyungwe forest Park which feed in the big lakes, as well as three hydroelectricity dams, according to the Nyungwe National Park Manager Protais Niyigaba.
Niyigaba said, “Nyungwe National Park is the source of many streams which can be likened to the biggest Fountain of water in Rwanda.” There are assumptions that about 70% or more of the water used in Rwanda comes from Nyungwe Forest. However, Niyigaba reiterated that so far no research has ever been made to ascertain whether the 70% of water used in Rwanda comes from Nyungwe National Park.
Irrespective of being endowed with much water, the water is also clean which doesn’t require to be treated, because of filtration which is carried out through the forest during the process of flowing from the forest,” Niyigaba said.
Almost all big rivers hail from Nyungwe Forest, be it those that pour in the mighty River Nile or River Congo all the streams come from Nyungwe forest.
Apart from streams there are water sources that are earmarked for the citizens’ usage or other people that require water. In addition to that, there over twelve (12) water sources which are currently consolidated to supply water to the region of Nyamagabe, the canal called Ngabwe rya Rubondo which will be supplying water to the population of more than ten thousand (10,000), and the water is diverted from the above mentioned sources. All tea factories including Gisakura, Kitabi and others use water which comes from Nyungwe without any cost. Since 2005, the Government of Rwanda halted all activities in Nyungwe forest, such as illegal gold mining and other minerals, as well as logging, thereby gazetting the place as the National Park.
Nyungwe forest is located in the Southern part of Rwanda as well as the Western part of Rwanda, it also borders with five (5) Districts: Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Nyamasheke, Karongi and Rusizi, in the Southern part of it, there is Burundi at Kibira National Park.
The forest is a habitat to different biodiversity species (plants) there are 1068 types, 148 orchid species, whereas types of birds are 322; among these, 30 birds’ species are only found in Nyungwe in the entire Continent of Africa. As far as mammals are concerned, there are 85, among these there are 13 classified as primates, 32 types of amphibians as well as 38 types of reptiles.
Jean Luc Habagusenga