where can i do hiking and nature walks in nyungwe forest national park-rwanda
Nyungwe forest national park is Rwanda’s top outdoor adventure paradise and Africa’s largest afro-montane forest. Nyungwe Forest National Park protects over 13 primate species, numerous bird species, butterflies, and orchids in some seasons. All the hiking trails run within Nyungwe Forest. Although most tourists come to Rwanda to view mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, they miss out on the magnificent Nyungwe Forest national park offering a variety of primate species, plant species, bird species, and tropical tree species.
Hiking Trails in Nyungwe forest national park
The hiking trails last from 4 hours to 3 days, depending on the travelers. Nyungwe Forest National Park also offers 130 kilometers of hiking trails that are located within Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda. National hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest include the following:
Ngabwe trail is approximately 4.7 kilometers long; exploring Ngabwe trail takes 3 hours to complete and is regarded as moderately difficult. Despite being a short trail in Nyungwe forest, the Ngabwe trail takes visitors through dense vegetation zones. The Ngabwe trail can be extended to 8 hours if the Kitabi tea plantation is included. Visitors are free to carry their own packed lunch and eat at the picnic site, which offers panoramic views of the Nyungwe forest. And the long trail gives you an opportunity to spot primate species such as colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, L’Hoest silver monkeys, and mangabeys.
The Bigugu Trail is a difficult trail that takes about 6 hours to be completely done. The Bigugu trail covers about 7 km; the trail is too steep and slippery in the rainy season. Bigugu Trail goes up to the highest peak of the park, which is Bigugu Peak, and Bigugu Peak stands at about 2950 m above sea level. Travelers who want to hike the Bigugu Trail must be physically fit in order to complete it. This trail is excellent for bird watching; it offers species such as the red-collared mountain babbler. You can also see fantastic wildflowers like the orchids and the giant lobelias.
Igishigishigi trail is the most famous trail from within the Uwinka reception area of Nyungwe forest national park, Igishigishigi trail also includes the canopy forest walkway in Nyungwe. Igishigishigi trail is a top featured attraction in Nyungwe Forest National Park and is categorized as a "must-do" for most guests to the park. The Igishigishigi trail covers about 2.4 km, and its completion takes around 5 hours, including the canopy walk. You discover this trail goes up to the treetops while viewing primate species such as chimpanzees, birds, and butterfly species in their habitat. This is an amazing encounter.
Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail
Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail takes travelers inside the caldera-like depression with a large swamp that forms a vital watershed within Nyungwe Forest National Park. The Kamiranzovu trail is moderately difficult; it covers about 6 km and takes 3 hours to be fully completed. During the rainy season, which lasts from October to November and from April to May each year, the Kamiranzovu Trail is abundant with orchids. Kamiranzovu Trail offers rich botanical viewing and is good for swamp-associated bird species such as the Grauer’s Rush Warbler.
Isumo Waterfall Trail
Isumo waterfall trail is also another famous trail, covering about 10.6 km and being moderately difficult. Isumo waterfall trail discoveries take approximately 4 hours to be completed. It first takes you through the tea plantation, then later via the patches of Nyungwe forest, where you will spot many monkey species. And as you head to the waterfall, you will pass through the tree ferns that may require an imposing eye and often offer to watch the Ruwenzori Turaco bird. The Isumo Waterfall Trail is considered one of the most exciting trails in Nyungwe Forest.
The Source of the Nile Trail
Travelers can also participate in an easy hike to Rwanda’s source of the Nile. Hiking to the Nile's source takes between 1 and 2 hours. Guests can always add this hiking trail to their 3-day Nyungwe primate safari since it involves less effort. Discover the source of the Nile in three different countries, namely Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Here we are talking about the source of the Nile in Rwanda that was first explored in 2006 by the Rise to the Nile Adventure, where they described the headwaters of the Rukarara River as the source of the Nile, situated in Nyungwe Forest.
Karamba Birding Trail
Karamba birding trail is over 4 kilometers long and takes guests on a hike through Nyungwe Forest, but much of this hike takes to the flat and open part of Nyungwe Forest. The Karamba birding trail is located in an area that was once used for gold mining and has since become a quarry for road building materials as well as an army camp. Karamba birding trail is among the least muddy trails in Nyungwe Forest. Karamba birding trail is among the places where you can spot the orchids, giant tree ferns, and Dent’s Monkey species in Nyungwe Forest Park.
Although it is located in a remote area of Nyungwe forest, the Muzimu trail is 5.2 kilometers long. The Muzimu Trail takes between 3.5 and 4 hours to hike. The Muzimu Trail winds through an open heath with shrubs and different vegetation zones. The Muzimu Trail offers wildflowers and non-forest birds along the way, as well as a 360-degree view of Nyungwe national park, Lake Kivu from a far distance, and Virunga-chained Volcanoes towering over Rwanda.
The Imbaraga Trail hike begins at the Uwinka Reception Center and is one of the most difficult trails to hike. The Imbaraga trail covers a 10 km area; hiking through the Imbaraga trail takes between 5 and 6 hours to complete, depending on the traveler’s physical fitness. The word "Imbaraga" is derived from the local Kinyarwanda word that means "strength," which indicates how difficult the Imbaraga trail is. The Imbaraga trail also offers four different waterfalls and a chance to view chimpanzee families. The Imaraga Trail is a difficult but rewarding nature trail.
The Irebero trail takes its name from the Kinyarwanda word "irebero," which means "the viewpoint," and spans 3.4 kilometers while providing endless scenic views. The Irebero Trail is not so difficult; hiking to the Irebero Trail lasts for only 3 hours. Irebero Trail views are worth your hike. The Irebero trail was created to showcase the stunning views from high altitude, allowing visitors to see Rwanda's borders as well as Lake Kivu. Irebero Trail is a loop of the two highest summits, all situated in Nyungwe Forest.
The Umugote Trail got its name after the Syzygium tree that was commonly seen along this trail. The Umugote trail covers 3.6 km and can be trekked on foot within 3 hours. The Umugote Trail hike rises from the mountain's side; the Umugote Trail also offers great views of the pristine area of Nyungwe Forest as well as monitoring the forest's rich biodiversity via the valley.
Rukuzi trail is not a difficult trail to hike; Rukuzi trail takes guests to the chimpanzee haven of Nyungwe Forest national park, and chimpanzee tracking experiences are often the main reason most travelers visit Nyungwe Forest. Besides chimpanzee trekking, the Rukuzi trail showcases stunning vistas for many hikers along the way. The Rukuzi trail takes at least 5 hours to complete fully, and it covers over 9 km in length.
The Umuyove trail is also among the most famous hiking trails within Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is relatively short but filled with fantastic views of waterfalls and orchids, alongside many other wildflowers, for travelers to enjoy their hike. The Umuyove is a local Kinyarwanda word meaning mahogany, and many other tree species line this trail, making it a more enjoyable hike. On the Umuyove Trail hike, you will spot many bird species and primate species. The Umuyove trail covers only 5.5 km and can be explored in 3.5 hours.
The Congo Nile Divide Trail
The Congo Nile Divided Trail is 42 kilometers long and takes three to four days to hike along the ridge within Nyungwe Forest that separates the river basins flowing into the Nile and on the side of the ridge into the Congo river basin. The Congo Nile Divided Trail is for experienced hikers due to the fact that it involves camping in the thick forest as you try to cover the 42 km trek via the ridge of the forest. Hiking to the Congo Nile Divided Trail takes multiple days but is the most memorable of all the trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park, and it should not be confused with the known Congo Nile Trail that cuts across Lake Kivu in western Uganda. The Congo Nile Divide Trail is the longest hiking trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park.