Hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Costs and Guide
If you are good at hiking and you have plans to spend your next holiday in Rwanda then visiting Nyungwe Forest National Park should be a must. For those of you who wish to get the best of what this park holds for the world, more than 130 kilometers of hiking trails have been marked in this park. Hiking experiences in this park take you through its oldest afro-montane forest and this can last you about 4 hours to 3 days.
This conservancy area is a paradise of its own. It boasts of its over 13 primate species, several butterflies and bird species that you will encounter while on a hike. The different hiking trails for you to explore while on Rwanda safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park include;
The Congo Nile Divide Trail
This area is largely montane especially in the southern part and covers areas of the Nyungwe forest national park and Kibira national park in Burundi. This trail stretches via an area and covers parts of the Butare Cyangugu road approximately 7 kilometers west of Uwinka. It boasts with varied floral and faunal specie that include bamboo forest, marshes, wild flowers, ericaceous shrub. The bird species to sight at while on hike in this trail include the Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu ground thrush, red collared mountain babbler and others.
Ngabwe trail is a 4.7 kilometers trail and hikers can spend about 3 hours. Hiking through this trail is ideal for hikers with moderate physical wellness. While here, you can take a hike through a trail with dense vegetation and you may need about 8 hours to make a complete hike through this trail. Besides, it gets you to Kitabi Tea Plantation and you can have packed lunch and eat while at a picnic site which rewards travel endeavors with breathtaking views over the forest. While on hike in this trail, you have opportunity to explore primate species like the L’Hoest silver monkeys, mangabeys, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys a mention but a few.
Isumo waterfall trail
This trail takes you to scenic Isumo waterfall which is situated about 5 kilometers off One and Only Nyungwe House-the newly set luxury lodge in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Isumo waterfall trail is one of the famous trails and it is about 10.6 kilometers long and equally requires moderate physical wellness. To make a complete hike through this trail, you may need 4 hours or more. In most cases, a hike through this trail takes you via a tea plantation and through patches of forest where you will have a chance to catch a glimpse at varied monkey species. When you get to the waterfalls, you will have a chance to sight at the Rwenzori Turaco.
The canopy walkway in Nyungwe Forest National Park is the first of its kind in East Africa. It takes you through East Africa’s largest and ancient Afro-montane forest. This is suspended walkway about 50 meters from the ground. It is about 200 meters and hangs across the steep and deep valley filled with dense forest. This walkway rewards travel endeavors with incredible views over the park’s varied wildlife species which thrive within its canopy. The walk through this canopy may last you approximately 2 hours and visitors kick start their experience at the headquarters ‘Uwinka tourist reception center.’ While on this walkway, you have opportunity to enjoy amazing encounters over the rare L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys as well as several bird species. The canopy walk in Rwanda costs $60 and this is payable at the reception center.
If you are interested in more challenging hikes then the Bigugu trail should be a must to explore. Hiking through this trail may take you about 6 hours and it has a length of 7 kilometers. This trail takes you through altitude of about 2950 meters and interested hikers need to be physically well to be able to make a complete hike. While here, you have opportunity to explore different birds including the red collared mountain babblers and also wild flowers for instance the orchids and the giant lobelias.
The Igishigishi trail is another most popular trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park and hikers kick start their journey from Uwinka reception center. This trail also includes the canopy forest walkway. It is 2.4 kilometers and hiking through it may last you about 1.4 hours to make a complete hike. This trail equally rewards travelers with magical encounters over the park’s varied primate species, birds, butterflies, tree top and others. For visitors who need to hike through a short trail, Igishigishi trail should be a must for you to explore.
Kamiranzovu Marsh trail
Kamiranzovu Marsh trail is inside a caldera like depression and features a large swamp which makes up the watershed in the park. It is 6 kilometers long and hiking through it may last you about 3 hours. This trail features many orchids that come in large numbers especially during the rainy or wet season which starts from March to May and from October to November.
Muzimu trail is 5.2 kilometers and it is a bit remote and may last you about 3.5 hours to have a complete hike. It offers excellent views the park’s open heath like shrubs and vegetation. There are also different flowers to sight out and not to forget clear views over the beautiful Lake Kivu and the Virunga volcanoes.
If you are looking for more challenging hikes then Imbaraga trail is one of the best trails for you to hike through. It is about 10 kilometers long and visitors can hike through it for about 6 hours. Visitors on hiking adventure in this trail have a chance to explore its 4 magnificent waterfalls and other wildlife species.
The word Irebero denotes viewpoint and this trail stretches for about 3.4 kilometers. It comes with the most exceptional scenic views. It equally requires moderate physical wellness and it may last you about 3 hours to make a complete hike.
The other trails for you to hike through while on Rwanda safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park include Umugote trail, source of the River Nile trail, Karamba birding trail, Umuyove trail and Rukuzi trail.
In summary, when you think about Rwanda safari, expect to have experiences beyond the magical encounters with mountain gorillas, chimpanzees or golden monkeys. This spectacular country is also ideal for hiking experiences and luckily, there are many hiking trails for you to explore in depth what this park holds for the world in terms of natural wonders.