About Minziro Nature Forest Reserve
Minziro Nature Forest Reserve (NFR) is located between 01º06’21”S and 31º30’58”E in Misenyi District, Kagera Region, north western Tanzania. The forest (25,717 ha) extends to Uganda where it is called Sango Bay forests. The forest is essentially an outlier of the Guinea-Congo biome which stretches from Senegal in West Africa across Central Africa covering 26 countries where it forms its eastern end at Minziro NFR. Consequently it contains flora and fauna that reach their eastern range limits at Minziro NFR. The uniqueness of the biological assemblages in Minziro NFR makes this forest an important Protected Area and a major component of the national biological diversity of Tanzania.
The richness of flora and fauna of Minziro NFR makes it one a potential site for tourism for tourism in Kagera Region. The nature reserve is unusual biologically as it contains a mixture of Guinea-Congo biome animals and plant species. Afrocarpus dawei, a coniferous timber tree species is endemic to Minziro NFR while Coffea canephora or wild coffee is considered globally rare and found in several locations in Minziro NFR.
Two mammals which are Thomas’ galago (Galagoides thomasi) and Grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) are not found elsewhere in the country. Minziro is the only locality in Tanzania where these primates have been recorded. Other rare fauna is a Viper snake (Rhinoceros Viper). The reserve also contains significant number of Guinea-Congo biome restricted bird species. Of 278 species of birds found in Guinea-Congo biome, 58 (21%) occur in Tanzania. Out of 245 bird species recorded in the reserve, 58 bird species are not found outside Kagera Region in Tanzania, but more interesting, 56 of these are only found in Minziro NFR. The forest, thus, have been classified as an Important Bird Area due to the presence of globally threatened species i.e. Forest francolin (Francolinus lathami) and Blue swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea) species. Furthermore, there is more than 600 butterfly species that are native to Minziro NFR, surpassing any other forests in Africa.
Other tourism attractions which are outside the reserve, but not least, include: Malira cave at Minziro village (used during World War II), Burigi game Reserve, Mutagata hot springs where the water is good for therapy such as asthma, skin complications and fractured bones, ancient rock painting at Mugana, traditional architecture and crafts, Rumanyika museum at Karagwe district, traditional dances and walking tours.
The forest can be easily reached by permanent gravel road from Bunazi, a distance of 14 km to the reserve. Bunazi, which is the headquarters of Misenyi District, is at 60 km on Bukoba-Mutukula (Tanzania/Uganda border) highway road.