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Nyungwe National Park is one of Rwanda’s most popular tourist destinations, and it is a must-see for nature lovers. It is well-known for its many primates, particularly chimps. Nyungwe National Park is located in southwest Rwanda along the border with Burundi. A portion of the park is located in Burundi and is known as Kibira National Park. It is also near the southern end of Lake Kivu, so one can explore the park from the lovely lakeside town of Cyangugu. The Nyungwe forest was declared a forest reserve by the German colonial government in 1933. However, between 1960 and 1970, fire outbreaks and human activities such as poaching of animals such as buffaloes, which were originally forest habitats, and deforestation destroyed the forest cover, causing Nyungwe to lose about 15% of her size.
Later, in 2004, Nyungwe Forest was designated as a national park, which is very important to the world conservation society. Nyungwe Forest is now one of East Africa’s Ecotourism destinations, and it is one of the top ten tourist destinations, following Rwanda’s ranking. Nyungwe National Park protects one of the region’s largest and oldest mountain forests, which are said to have existed since the ice age and have protected remarkable biodiversity. It has a diverse ecosystem with habitats ranging from rainforest to bamboo to grasslands, swamps, and bog. And with a diverse ecosystem comes a diverse range of flora and fauna. Nyungwe is located in a mountainous region, with Mount Bigugu reaching an elevation of 2950 meters.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is well-known for its habituated Chimpanzees. The national park is home to 13 primate species, including up to 400 black and white colobus monkeys, making it one of Africa’s parks with the highest concentration of black and white colobus monkeys.
To name a few, other primates include the L’Hoest monkey, Angola colobus monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Silver monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive Baboon, and Red-tailed monkey. Nyungwe is said to have about 72 animal species, mostly bush animals, such as duikers and golden cats, to name a few.
Given its long history, the Nyungwe forest contains large trees of various tree species. To name a few, tree species found in Nyungwe include Prinaria exelsium, Cyathea manniana, carapa, newtonia, orchids, mosses, ferns, and podocarpus. This is the best place to go for researchers.
Due to the nature of the landscape in the Nyungwe forest, many rivers and springs create waterfalls up to 17 meters high, characterized by overlying cliffs, caves, and the Kamiranzovu Swamp. Tourists can see primates, birds, beautiful wildflowers, and even a couple of reptiles while hiking to these waterfalls.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is estimated to have 300 bird species, 26 of which can only be found in the Albertine Rift, making Nyungwe Forest one of Africa’s best birding destinations. Melaenornis ardesiacus, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Black and White casqued Hornbill, Batis diops, Crytospiza Jackson bird, and Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher are just a few examples.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to approximately 25% of Africa’s primate species, the majority of which are chimps. Chimpanzee trekking is the main attraction of the Nyungwe forest, which has over 500 chimps. Chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest are not habituated like gorillas, so seeing them in specific locations is not guaranteed. However, you will see them more frequently because they are common in the forest. The park rangers know where and how to find the chimps even when they are not habituated, so you can be sure to see them in the Nyungwe forest.
Chimpanzee trekking takes place every day with an early morning start because the chimps are most visible in the morning hours. Trekking begins as early as 8 a.m. at Uwinka, Kitabi, and Gisakura following a briefing about the primates. Chimpanzee trekking takes between 2 to 5 hours, depending on the location of the chimps. However, in order to trek chimps in the Nyungwe forest, you must first obtain a chimp permit, which must be reserved months in advance. A permit in Nyungwe National Park costs USD 90 per person and is valid for one day only.
Nyungwe Forest National Park’s forest canopy walk is unique in Africa. It was introduced as a new tourism product for the park in October 2010. The Canopy walkway spans 160 meters between trees and rises up to 90 feet above the forest floor. The canopy walk through the Nyungwe Forest begins at the Uwinka Visitors Center and is a 2km walk through the untouched natural rainforest below the forest filled with exciting biodiversity and beautiful forest views. A canopy walk costs USD 60 per person.
Exploring the diverse ecosystem of Nyungwe National Park is wonderful, but to get the full experience, you must also learn about its rich culture. There have been efforts to launch community-based experiences in order to preserve Rwandan culture. Kitabi Cultural Village is one of these projects.
A restaurant, a campsite, and a model of the king’s palace are all part of the cultural village. The Village also offers three different day trips that immerse visitors in traditional Rwandan culture through activities such as a dance ceremony, banana beer production, and bow-and-arrow shooting.
The Banda Village, located in the national park and easily accessible via a downhill hike from the end of the Canopy Walk, is another community-based tourism product. Visitors can learn more about Rwandan culture by participating in community walks where activities such as traditional medicine making and maize grinding are performed and taught.
With its extensive network of hiking trails, the Nyungwe forest’s steep landscape, epic scenery, and wildlife make it an ideal destination for hikers. The trails wind through a varied landscape and provide the most scenic way to explore the forest. Some hikes lead to reptile and bird areas, while others lead to waterfalls including the Isumo Falls, caves, and swamps like the Karimanzovu. There is also a 200-meter-long and 40-meter-high forest canopy walk. Birders will enjoy the sights at this location.
The Nyungwe forest is home to over 300 bird species, including 27 Albertine rift valley species. To name a few, there are many interesting and colorful birds to see, including the blue turaco, Ruwenziro Apalis, Archer’s Robin-Chat, the Strange weaver, Stripe-breasted Tit Parus Wind Cryptospiza Jackson, Handsome Francolin Francolinus Nobilis, Chapin’s Flycatcher, and Rockefeller’s sunbird.
Around 400 black and white colobus monkeys live in Nyungwe Forest National Park. The waterfalls trail, which runs from the Gisakura guesthouse to the tea estate, the Bigugu trail, which runs up to the mountain’s highest peak at 2,950m, and the Unwika campsite trails are the best known for colobus monkey trekking. A permit for Colobus monkeys costs USD 60 per person and is booked in the same way as Chimpanzee trekking.
The Kamiranzovu waterfall, which originated in the Kamiranzovu marshlands of Nyungwe forest national park in southwestern Rwanda, has now become a must-see for all visitors to the national park. Though Nyungwe forest national park has been commonly known for the chimpanzee trekking in chamudongo, kamiranzovu waterfall has drawn much courtesy from the current travelers. The waterfall is divided into two sections, the lower on huge rocks and a beautiful spot for photography, and the second in front of the falling water.
Getting to the Kamiranzovu waterfall requires courage, patience, obligation, willpower, and physical fitness. It entails trekking in the compressed tropical rainforest of Nyungwe national park with extreme undergrowth. It is only 10 kilometers from the beginning, but the hilly terrain makes the journey moderately difficult and time-consuming.
Nyungwe forest is ideal for hikers due to its steep terrain and extensive network of hiking trails.The trails differ in length, ease of hiking, and features; therefore, it is recommended that you ask the ranger guides for advice on which trail to take based on the attractions you are looking for.The trails wind through a varied landscape and provide the most scenic way to explore the forest.The trails listed below are some of the options for hiking in the forest.
also known as Mahogany trail, leads you to the waterfall for a relaxing stroll among the park’s tallest trees.
The Kamiranzovu Trail brings you close to the majority of the waterfalls, wetlands, and swamps.
From Kigali via muhanga-Huye Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the south of the country, approximately 200 kilometers/124 miles from Rwanda’s capital Kigali via muhanga and the King’s Palace in Nyanza, then proceeding to Butare. From Butale, continue and finally connect through the park before arriving at the park headquarters in Gisekura. The Nyungwe Forest National Park is located 87 kilometers/54 miles from Huye (Butare), and many tourists stay overnight in Huye to do activities on the way to the forest. This is recommended because the direct trip can be stressful. Nyungwe forest is 55 kilometers/34 miles from Rusizi/Kamembe airport. For clients flying into the park, the drive takes about an hour.
Accommodations near Nyungwe National Park are simply lodges and hotels located outside of the park’s boundaries that can accommodate guests who have visited Nyungwe National Park. The park is surrounded by five districts: Nyaruguru in the southeast, Nyamagabe in the northeast, Karongi in the north, Nyamasheke in the North West, and Rusizi in the southwest. All of these districts surround Nyungwe National Park, making it easy to spend the night at the accommodations in these districts, which range from budget to mid-range to luxury accommodation facilities.
Nyungwe House is a One & Only partner hotel, which has a portfolio of exquisite properties in some of the world’s most exotic locations. The property is located west of Nyungwe Forest National Park, within a tea plantation. Nyungwe House encompasses 22 rooms and suites spread across six wooden villas, all of which are tastefully decorated with traditional Rwandan art.
The hotel is located on a small plateau with some of the most spectacular views in the Nyungwe Forest area – the largest single forest block in East Africa and Rwanda’s largest water reservoir. The hotel is accessible from the main road from Kigali through a steep and mercifully short dirt track.
This is one of the closest accommodations near Nyungwe National Park’s edge, located only 33 kilometers and 41 minutes drive from Nyungwe’s Uwinka reception center. This eco-center is built in traditional Rwandan style on a mountain peak. This is the most recommended accommodation around Nyungwe National Park for backpackers and budget travelers, with views of tea plantations and mountains on all sides.
Regina Pacis Kibeho hotel:
It is a modern constructed hotel with 40 rooms, and they offer dormitories if you guys want to stay as a group. So if you have planned to visit Nyungwe National Park and you are visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho, you may stay here and have your visit on any day to Nyungwe.
Norte Dame Kibeho Resthouse:
This is a nice guest house set in the mountains and has a warm welcome. You can stay here after visiting the holy land and then go on an activity in Nyungwe National Park the next day.
Delta resort hotel:
The hotel is unusual but beautiful due to its mix of traditional and modern styles. This is the place to be if you are traveling for business or pleasure. It is set on the shore of Lake Kivu and also the services offered here are a mix of the modern world and Rwandan culture.
Mariah Hill Resort:
This is one of the best resorts in the Karongi district. It is located on the shores of Lake Kivu and is only 1km from Karongi town. It is a midrange accommodation that caters to people of all income levels. If you feel like you want really to relax, this is your place & for the honeymooners.
This is one of the accommodations located on Green Mountain, with a beautiful view of Lake Kivu and the surrounding islands. The lodging is designed in the Rwandan sub-traditional style. There is no better place to unwind than here, and the hotel is a three-star establishment. So it’s a midrange hotel with perfect rooms, food, and services.
I had informative communication with the organizers, and then the rest was with the local ss organizer and guide – Donald. He was an amazing person.
He arranged everything.… read more Local tribes guides, chef, logistics, accomodation, and just about everything you need. From money change, to sim card, drivers, tribute to tribes, vip passage in airport, recommendation for hang outs, keeping us safe, the whole time. Humble, trustworthy, can carry a serious conversation, smart, and a great person. Everything went according to plan, and in africa in general and in south sudan – thats out of the ordinary. No surprises.
I recommend the operator, and the guides.
We have experienced adventurous gorilla trecking, chimpanzee tours, safari accompanied by waterbuffalo, pumba, giraffe, antilops etc encounter that has made our trip supercool I appreciate to have Martin as a… read more local fixer/guide/driver who was familiar in topics, flexible in unusual clients requests and cheerful guy that is soooo needed when travel long hours in a van.Samuel also was cooperative and reliable too
18 days with tent on top of the car with driver. Our driver Alonso helped us and guided us at all times! Good tips for sleeping, where to eat… read more and buy!!! In the safaris he knew all the parks very well and was passionate about birds!!! Agustin and Silvia from Spain we return in love with this country and its nice people!!! Thanks Alonso and Samuel!!! from Laba Africa Expedition!!
We had a 8-day wonderfull travel in Uganda, so well organized by LABA Africa. If you want to discover Uganda, choose this company, and you will have the… read more best experience ever.
We visited Bwindi Forest National Park with gorilla trekking – unforgettable -, beautiful Lake Bunyonyi – with a refreshing swim -, cykling safari between zebras, giraffes, antilopes and birds and finally boat trip to the source of the river Nile in Jinja.
All guides were knowledgeable and took very well care of us, espacially Robert, our excellent driver and guide for the whole tour.
The accomodations were perfect, confortable rooms, helpful staff and good food.
It’s amazing to be able to get so close to the animals, and experence the beautiful landscape and scenery of Uganda.
Thank you so much, Samuel and Robert.
AMAZING journey with Laba Africa all around Uganda for 21 days !! – We’ve had the chance to travel with ALONSO from LABA AFRICA for 21 days all around Uganda. We have met a lot of turists along our trip and I can… read more assure you one thing… LABA AFRICA is THE best company to discover Uganda.
Communication is really easy with Samuel (Laba’s Boss). He will take care of the itinerary, chimps and gorilla’s permits and will advise you perfectly on what to do, what to expect, and will make sure to answer all of your questions before your arrival.
Samuel even bought a Sim card for us to make sure we could get internet data as soon as we arrive in Entebbe Airport.
Our guide was Alonso.
Alonso is our best guide ever… We’ve traveled in a lot of countries, but I can assure you Alonso knows his country better than any other guide. He is very open minded and is able to talk for hours about everything related to his country (way to live, politics, economy, religion, local us and beliefs, etc.).
Alonso is also a true legend all around his country, he knows someone at every places we have been.. he knows perfectly all the natural reserve and taught us many things about the animals during our safaris.
He is an excellent driver.
If your are planning to come in Uganda and do self driving… Please don’t.. The roads are terrible and I wouldn’t advise anyone that is not used to it to drive on these roads by himself.
The car that Laba Africa provided us was amazing. Big SUV with 4 wheel drive with an open roof and a tent on the roof (amazingly comfortable).
The car is very comfortable and safe. Laba Africa even provided us sleeping bags (for the roof tent), cooler, camping chairs, cooking gaz and all the ustensiles we needed to cook ourself.
Alonso and the company has always been attentive to our wishes, needs and desires and is really customer focused.
During our trip, we’ve met a lot of locals, and it has been an amazing human adventure. Uganda is not only a destination to see animals and wildlife, it’s also a beautiful country that has so many to offer (waterfalls, landscape, tea fields, lakes, mountains, volcana, natural reserve, culture, traditions, people, local dance, music, crafts, hikings, cycling, rafting, boats trip, etc.)
Here are the main places we’ve visited : Kidepo National Park, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchinson Falls National Park, Queen Elisabeth National Park, Bwindi Forest, Bigodi Village, Kibale, Lake Mburo National Park, Sipi Falls, Jinja, Kampala.
Among our best memories, we will remember for ever our homestaying with a lovely local family within the Bigodi community, our night safari in Queen Elizabeth NP with the Lions turning around the car, and the quiet Jinja city on the Nile.
We really wanted to spend some time with locals and share a night with them. Laba Africa never organise Homestaying before. We’ve asked Alonso if it was possible. Of course, he made it possible because Alonso would make anything possible for you. So i wanted to thank him again because he made this trip amazing for us and now we keep this experience as our best memory from this trip.
Our trip was supposed to end on the 31st of December as our flight was very early in the morning on the 1st of January.
Alonso drove us to Samuel’s house. Samuel and Morgan (Sam’s GF) cooked for us for lunch and have spend the 31st of December with us. They’ve made a city tour for us, drove us to the craft market in order to buy some gifts for our family before our departure.
And the cherry on the cake… They took us with them in a party to show us “how we celebrate new year Eve in Uganda”. It was on the best rooftop of Kampala, to watch the midnight fireworks.
Honestly, do you know some company that can offer you such experience?
Don’t make a mistake and hire Laba Africa for your journey in Uganda, and please, stay at least 2 weeks if you want to discover most of the things this country has to offer.
Thank you again Samuel, Morgan and Alonso.
I will not forget you guys and I wish you the best for the future, you deserve it!!
Hope to see you again.
we keep in touch
We experienced a very well organized 9-day trip with a driver& guide (Robert) filled with amazing experiences like game drives, chimpz and gorilla tracking and boat safaris. The communication… read more with Laba Africa was very smooth and they tailored the trip according our wishes. The guide was very flexible and came up with ideas and options while on the road. We really appreciated him being with us. The Laba Africa guide had a vast knowledge about flora and fauna and was happy to answer all our questions. The accomodations chosen and booked by Laba Africa were absolutely stunning with very helpful staff.
Laba Africa planned a (4 days, 3 nights) trip to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with a stop in Lake Mburu (Uganda’s smallest national park). We had a great and friendly guide… read more in Alonso, who was very organized and patient. Making a stop in Lake Mburu breaks up the long drive to Bwindi, and is a great opportunity to get very close to giraffes and many other animals in the park. The gorilla trek itself was amazing and surreal getting very close to a gorilla family. All the lodges booked by Laba Africa, were in beautiful and serene locations with nice rooms, friendly staff and good food! After my third trip with Laba Africa, I would recommend them to anyone any day!
Great 3day trip go Murchison national park and falls! Also passed by rhino sanctuary on our way there. Really liked our driver and guide (Robert) who drove is there safely… read more and found tons of animals for us to see in the park.
Robert was a great guide. We went on Safari at Murchison and to the rhino sanctuary. The bGreat food and company. 10/10
On the way to the safari we went to the rhino sanctuary which was a cool experience. We slept at Fort Murchison which was a really good place to stay… read more in. The next day we went on the safari trip and a boat trip which was amazing. We saw so much animals.
Our guide, Robert, really gave us the best experience one could get.
Really recommend going with Laba!
I certainly got way way more than I imagined on this trip. I seen it on YouTube but not many indulge how fantastic the service this company has provided. My… read more guide Patrick was 10 out of 10. Friendly, informative and never refused an activity I wanted to see or do absolute gentleman. Then little did I know I was going to be provided with bony a top top quality chef. I was expecting package meals but no the food was excellent that I actually gained weight on this trip. I travelled the world but must say this company really exceeded my expectations.
Sam put together a perfect itinerary for our mother-daughter trip. Alonso took us around Kampala and showed us the main sights (Buganda kingdom, the mosque and bustling downtown Kampala), and… read more Robert took us to Murchison Falls National Park, then to Jinja and our final destination Entebbe (4 days). We had such a wonderful time and loved every minute of it: the roadside life, the food, the nature, the magestic animals, the friendly people – everything. They say that once you have experienced Africa, you will always feel a tug to return. Be prepared Laba!
My mom and me went on a two nights trip to Murchison Falls for safari and it was amazing! Sam organized a great trip for us and the communication was… read more very smooth the whole way. Our guide Robert was so nice and we saw so many animals each day. Sam also organized a city tour in Kampala for us and we also went to Jinja on a boat trip to see the source of the Nile, the local markets, and ate Ugandan food. Every part of our holiday was amazing and I would recommend Laba to anyone travelling to Uganda (and elsewhere)!!
I went on a two day Safari in Lake Mburo with Laba Africa Expeditions and it was an amazing trip. Everything was organized very well and our guide Samuel was… read more wonderful and came with suggestions during the trip and listened to our wishes as well. I would recommend this to everybody who wants a fun, safe and amazing safari. Even the rangers at Lake Mburo was great. I had not expected a safari to be such a incredible experience but it really was!
Samuel is the real fixer in Uganda! Within a week he got me the Gorilas permit to Bwindi. He also advised me in anything else I needed.
Adam, my… read more driver who took me from Kigali (Rwanda) to Bwindi, crossing Uganda’s border, became a friend. Is the best guide to move you around! Truly recommend both of them. Laba africa is the best!
We rented a car with roof tent for three weeks and I can highly recommend Laba Africa.
Great advise for trip preparation and replied instantly to all our (many) question… read more by whatsapp. Also arranged for gorilla trekking which was very pratical.
Car turned out to be great, no mechanical problems. Our rooftent was never used before it was brand-new.
Uganda is a beautiful country with very friendly population. We had a great time.
We went three friends on a safari to Murchison Falls (2 nights) and we had the best time. Everything was timed and organized to the last detail by Sam –… read more the best guide and the best company. We saw so many animals and it was an incredible experience for all of us. Sam was very knowledgable about the animals and the nature in general, which added to the whole experience. We stayed in a great lodge just outside the park. There was great food and a nice pool! We would definitely recommend this trip to anyone!
Christopher and I have been filming in Uganda for the past week, and the excellent results we got wouldn’t of been possible without Laba Africa. Top professionals who made our… read more work trip go super smooth. We would highly recommend them to other media professionals.
We rented a car from Laba Africa. They are very service minded and nice people. The car was kept in good condition. Recommended
We hired a land cruiser with a tent on the roof. The car and tent were great and pick up and drop off were very smooth- they met us at… read more our hostel each time.
We had a wonderful time with Laba Africa. From the beginning till the end of the trip we felt welcomed and very comfortable.
The accomodations we‘re well chosen and they… read more even prepared a surprise for our honeymoon :).
Samuel and our driver Alonso know a lot about the country and their way of presenting it to us was very pleasant.
The gorilla trekking in bwindi forest was definitely the highlight of our trip. Only after 30 minutes of walking we met the gorilla family and the rangers made sure that all of us could take nice pictures of the animals without disrespecting their personal space. We can really recommend the Bakiga Lodge for the Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi. The staff was really friendly and the food was great. The view from the top is breathtaking and the lodges are lovely decorated.
All in all a trip we‘ll never forget.
The gorilla trekking with Laba Africa was absolutely gorgeous. We were lucky to find the family after just 20 minutes of walking through forest. The rangers were always helping us… read more to get great pictures and they knew much about the animals.
Our driver Alonso was also very kind and gave us many valuable information on the pearl of Africa.
We really enjoyed every single moment that trip and can recommend it to everyone else.
An amazing experience! We saw so many animals, so many incredible landscapes. We also have the chance to discover the local cultures.
The guides were very nice… read more and we learned a lot!
Every lodge we slept in, was perfectly chosen. Uganda is worth a visit! Go there!
Did a great weekend tour visiting the Mundari tribe near Juba, South Sudan. Everything went well, I really enjoyed the trip.
Traveling with Laba Africa was a great experience!
We saw amazing landscapes and animals in different national parks and spent the nights in beautiful lodges. The guides were extemely… read more nice and fun to be around.
Especially the planning of our trip was amazing. We had some special requests because I wanted to visit some friends in between our Safari tours. That was no problem and got nicely included in our plan for the trip. Whatever we requested was made possible!
I can only recommend traveling with Laba Africa. We will definitely return!
My family and I just came back from a three-week-customized roudtrip of Uganda with Laba Africa. It was a tremendous experience!
Starting with chimp tracking in Kibale, we saw lions… read more the same day in Queen Elizabeth NP. Then on to Ishasha, Lake Mburo NP and jinja, where we had a short break. Then we went to a small village near Soroti to visit friends of our daughter. From there we went on to Karamoja, Kibale NP, Murchison Falls NP before we came back to Entebbe.
It didn’t matter what special requests we made, Laba Africa made them possible, sometimes even more!
But the most important thing is this: The planning of this trip startet in autumn 2019 and it was mostly paid for in January 2020. It should have taken place in March 2020, but then the pandemic destroyed our plans. Through all the insecurities for that 18 months peroid until we finally could make the trip, Laba Africa held contact, took care that our chimp tracking permits did not to expire und charged nothing additional – except for some new requests we had.
So Laba Africa is absolutely the best and most reliable partner for visiting Uganda or any of the other countries they are offering tours to! We will return to Uganda and to Laba Africa for sure!
The best part was definitely chimpanzee tracking, that was an incredible experience! Next amazing part of our trip was community walk, where locals showed us their traditional beer, gin, coffee… read more and basket making. It was great to have time to talk to them :) Game drives through savanas was so amazing, our guide Alonso did everything to try to find the best parts of the park and to find every animal there is to see, but you can never be sure, you’ll be lucky enough to see them all. We also saw Murchison falls, that was so nice, although the boat ride to see them from the river was kind of boring, too long for too little of experience. But overall amazing trip!
We really enjoyed out trip through Uganda with Laba Africa. The tourguides took good care of us and they showed us so many fascinating things! Furthermore, it was very… read more easy to change or add additional things to our already existing program.
I can really recommend a trip with Laba Africa to everyone! :)
Thank you very much to Samuel and his team! We really enjoyed our time in Uganda and with you.
Amazing experience!! Very serious and friendly team!! I really advise this company to travel in Uganda!!!
My friend and I did a 10 days Safari through Uganda which was one of the best things we‘ve ever done! Laba Africa organized an amazing tour and we really… read more enjoyed all of it. They took very good care of us. We also got to know local communities such as the Batwa tribe. Thanks to Samuel for this unforgettable adventure.
White Water Rafting
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