When it comes to Rwanda safaris to Nyungwe Forest National Park, expect more than just tracking chimpanzees. This 1000 square kilometer expansive forest park features over 130 kilometers of hiking trails which take you through its diverse natural wonders. A hike through this oldest afro-montane forest may last you about 4 hours-3 days depending on the trail. Nyungwe Forest National Park is a home to 13 species of primates, butterflies and bird species most of which can be spotted while on a hike. The various hiking trails for you to explore while on Rwanda safari include;
The Congo Nile Divide Trail
The Congo Nile Divide Trail is largely montane area mostly the southern part and extends to cover some parts of Nyungwe forest national park and Kibira national park in Burundi. It extends to cover parts of Butare Cyangugu road about 7 kilometers west of Uwinka. This trail takes you through its rich floral and faunal species which include bamboo forest, marshes, wild flowers and ericaceous shrub as well as varied bird species for you to sight at including among others the Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu ground thrush and red collared mountain babbler.
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
This takes you through a caldera like depression and features a large swamp which makes up the watershed in the park. Kamiranzovu marsh trail 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.
This is 5.2 kilometers’ trail and it is a bit remote and may last you about 3.5 hours to have a complete hike. This trail comes with its spectacular views of Nyungwe national park’s open heath like shrubs and vegetation. As well, enjoy different flowers and scenic views over Lake Kivu and the Virunga volcanoes.
This is another more challenging trail and it is about 10 kilometers long and visitors can hike through it for about 6 hours. It takes you about 4 magnificent waterfalls and other wildlife species.
This is a 4.7 kilometers hiking trail and visitors on hiking tour take about 3 hours. It is perfect for those of you with moderate physical fitness and while on a hike through this trail, you have great opportunity to explore its dense vegetation and you take approximately 8 hours to make a complete hike through this trail. This trail as well as takes you to Kitabi Tea Plantation and besides enjoying the breathtaking views over the forest, there are also some primate species for you to look out including L’Hoest silver monkeys, mangabeys, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and others.
Isumo waterfall trail
This trail lies 5 kilometers away from One and Only Nyungwe House-the newly established luxury lodge in Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is one of the most popular trails and extends for about 10.6 kilometers long and ideal for visitors with moderate physical wellness. The hike through this trail takes you about 4 hours or more. It as well, takes you through scenic tea plantation and through patches of forest where you will have a chance to catch a glimpse at varied monkey species. At the waterfall, higher chances are that you will have a chance to spot out the Rwenzori Turaco.
With about 3 canopy walkways that exist in Africa, this is one of its kinds in East Africa. This is a suspended walkway about 50 meters from the ground, 200 meters and hangs across the steep and deep valley filled with dense forest. The walk can last for 2 hours and you start your journey at ‘Uwinka tourist reception center.’ The notable creatures to spot out while on this walkway include L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys and not to forget incredible bird species. To take part in this experience, you need $60 which is payable at the reception center.
For those of you who are in need for more challenging hikes, Bigugu trail should be a must for you to explore. This is about 6 hours’ hike and extends for 7 kilometers. Bigugu trail is at altitude of about 2950 meters and interested hikers need to be physically well to be able to make a complete hike. At this trail, you have a chance to enjoy different birds including the red collared mountain babblers and also wild flowers for instance the orchids and the giant lobelias.
Irebero trail stretches for about 3.4 kilometers and comes with the most scenic views. For visitors with moderate physical wellness, this is one of the trails to embark on while on primate safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park. This trail is about 3 hours’ hike.
Other trails for you to hike while on safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park include Karamba birding trail, Umuyove trail, Umugote trail, the source of the River Nile trail and Rukuzi trail.