There is a popular mis-conception that Africa is a dry and arid continent but in fact there are many lush forests to be found there; forests which are home to amazingly diverse populations of animals.
Here are some details about a selection of the finest forests to be found in Africa.
Kenya’s Kakamega Forest is situated near the country’s border with Uganda and is reputed to be the last place to find a trace of the Guineo-Congolian rainforest ecosystem which once spanned the entire continent of Africa.
The forest is home to a National Reserve which supports seven species of primate, including the white colubus monkey, vervet monkey and rare DeBrazza monkey. This is also the place to find the world’s slowest mammal on earth: a nocturnal primate called the Potto.
However, Kakamega Forest is most closely-associated with birds and butterflies. There are over 300 species of birds and 400 species of butterfly to be found flying and fluttering around the giant trees.
This mountainous rainforest is located in southern Rwanda in a spectacular forest reserve. When it was recently granted National Park status it became East Africa’s largest protected high-altitude rainforest.
The forest is part of the Albertine Rift, a series of mountain ranges which begin in Uganda and Congo.
Nyungwe boasts one of the biggest African population of endemic species, including large troops of colubus monkeys that clearly live by the motto ‘safety in numbers’ as they frequently travel in groups made up of 300+ individuals! Chimpanzee-viewing is also possible and Nyungwe is considered a paradise for those who love bird-watching.
Safari tourists who love chimpanzees should also consider taking a trip to Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale contains lowland and mountainous forest; its northern part is 1,590m above sea-level. Kibale is home to a thriving population of habituated chimpanzees and has become a popular destination for chimpanzee-tracking. Tracking activities promise the chance to see chimps de-nesting in the early morning and making new nests in the evening.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Rather larger primates can be found at Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Habituated mountain gorillas can be spotted in the forest’s national park if you are willing to accept the exciting challenge of trekking through its lowland and montane jungle forest vegetation.
Much of the world’s population of endangered Mountain Gorillas can be found in Bwindi – the forest, as the name ‘Impenetrable’ suggests – can only be travelled to on foot but the effort is certainly worthwhile.
The park is also home to populations of colubus monkeys, chimpanzees and numerous species of exotic birds.
And if a trip to Bwindi still doesn’t sate your appetite for seeing mountain gorillas then you can always visit Virunga National Park. Virunga is close to Bwindi but the mountain gorillas there are said to have surprisingly different diets and habits. Why not visit both Bwindi and Virunga to compare and contrast!
James Christie writes for African safari specialists Safari Consultants. Contact Safari Consultants to find out more about some great Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda safaris.