Hiking trails in Nyungwe forest national park
Hiking trails in Nyungwe forest national park are pathways that lead tourists to different destinations in the park while carrying out activities such as birding, nature walks, chimpanzee trekking, canopy walk, and monkey trekking among others. Nyungwe forest national park has several hiking trails and each of them leads you to a different destination depending on the activity you want or you are doing.
The hiking trails enable tourists to successfully do different activities like the canopy walk, searching chimpanzees, trekking monkeys, birding and nature walks among others. Nyungwe forest national park is one of the 4 national parks that can be found in Rwanda. The national park was opened up for tourism activities in 2004 and it covers over 970 sq. km as of today.
Nyungwe national park in Rwanda is located in the southwestern part of the country and its harbors the highest population of chimpanzees in the country that are found in Cyamudongo and Nyungwe forests. Nyungwe is also home to over 310 bird species, 85 mammals, 12 monkey species, and over 1086 plant species.
There are over 15 hiking trails in Nyungwe forest national park which tourists can use during the different activities in the park. Most of the hiking trails in Nyungwe forest national park begin from Uwinka head offices and below are the commonly used ones.
Igishigishigi trail was named after the giant tree ferns along the trail. It’s one of the famous trails in the park and it is usually used by tourists that are heading out for the canopy walk. The Igishigishigi trail happens to be the shortest in Nyungwe forest national park because it takes 1.5 hours to complete it. The trail is just 2.1km and takes tourists to the starting point of the canopy walk in Rwanda.
Igishigishigi trail is the most used trail in Nyungwe forest national park because of so many tourists that engage in the canopy walk activity. The canopy walk enables the tourists to have an aerial view of the national park, the primates, mammals, birds, plant species, and surrounding areas.
Imbaraga trail is another trail in Nyungwe forest national park. It’s rated as a difficult one and this is because it’s one of the toughest trails to complete while in the park and you will need to be physically fit to use it. the walking trail is 9.8km and its highest elevation is 2470m with a distance of 9.8km.
The Umuyove trail was named after the mahogany trees that are found along the paths in this very trail. Umuyove trail in Nyungwe forest national park is one of the short trails (5.5km) taking 3.5 hours with its highest elevation at 2450m. The hiking trail is one of the best to use in Nyungwe forest national park because it gives a stunning view of the waterfalls, and different plant species as well as plants.
Kamiranzovu marsh trail
Kamiranzovu trail was named after an elephant got disappeared from one of the wetlands around this area. Tin Rwanda, the word Kamira means swallowing, and then Njovu means elephant. Kamiranzovu wetland is Nyungwe’s largest wetland so visitors using this trail will spot different bird species, stunning views of the waterfall, and much more. Kamiranzivu trail is 5.9km long and it takes 3 hours.
The name Isumo means waterfall and this trail was named after the largest tropical waterfall in Nyungwe forest national park. Hiking Isumo trail takes 4 hours and is rated moderate. The trail is 10.6km long and it begins from Gisakura reception. Using the Isumo trail gives tourists an opportunity of seeing different tea plantations, forests, and Isumo waterfalls. There are also a number of different bird species on this hiking trail.
Karamba trail takes 4km and it’s a 3-hour round trip rated as an easy one in Nyungwe forest national park. kalimba trail is situated on a site that used to be a gold mine, army camo, and a market before that national park was gazetted. Karamba trail is one of the best trails birders need to use in order to spot a number of bird species that have found their home in Nyungwe forest.
Uwinka trail is a 17.8km hiking trail in Nyungwe forest national park and one of the difficult to hike. Completing Uwinka trail takes 8 hours of beautiful views of the park vegetation, birds, primates, and water sources.
The Congo Nile trail
The Congo Nile trail is the longest trail in Nyungwe forest national park because it takes 3 days to complete this trail and come back. The trail is 42.2km long and takes tourists along the ridge diving River Nile and the Congo basin. Hikers will have to camp in the forest during the journey to the end of this trail. The journey gives great views of the forest, birds, primates, mammals, Congo basin, and the River Nile.
Umugote trail in Nyungwe forest national park was named after a Syzygium tree that is common along the trail. The trail is rated moderate and it takes 3 hours to complete a 3.6km round trip including the road segment. Hikers who use the Umugote trail get beautiful views of the several ridges, Kibira national park in Burundi, rainforests, primates, birds, and the different plant species.
Buhoro trail is the shortest trail in Nyungwe forest national park covering 1.8km and completing this trail takes 1hour to 2 hours. Tourists that want the shortest trail should try Buhoro trail.
Rukuzi trail is mostly used by tourists on a chimpanzee trekking activity in the park and completing this trail takes 5 hours. it’s a difficult trail to complete and it takes 9.1km. Using Rukuzi trail gives hikers a chance to meet different chimpanzees and a distant view of Lake Kivu
What is the best time to explore hiking trails in Nyungwe forest national park?
Nyungwe forest can be visited for most of the activities at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months are the best for a visit to Nyungwe forest national park and they occur from June to September and December to February. During these months, there is little or no rainfall and this leaves the hiking trails dry and less muddy, the vegetation along these rails is short giving unclear views of the animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Tourists can still visit Nyungwe forest national park for hiking purposes in the rainy season but during these months there is plenty of rainfall and this lives the hiking trails muddy and slippery. The rainy season occurs from March to May and October to November but the advantage of visiting the park in this season is that tourists get huge discounts on accommodation facilities. In the rainy season, the vegetation is tall around the park and this gives unclear views of the parks’ wildlife and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Accommodation in Nyungwe forest national park
There are several accommodation facilities that are found around Nyungwe forest national park so tourists coming to the park don’t have to worry about where they will spend a night or more. Where to stay in Nyungwe forest national park depends on your budget because the lodges are classified into budget, mid-range, and luxury options.
Accommodations around Nyungwe forest national park include One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Top View Hotel, Gisakura Guest House, Gisakura Family Hostel, E.R.A Gisakura Visitor Guesthouse, Emeraude Kivu Resort, Peace Guesthouse, Hotel du Lac, Rusizi Progress Hotel, Golden Monkey Hotels, Comoran Lodge, and Delta Resort Hotel among others.