Nyungwe Forest National Park trails: Nyungwe National Park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, covering 1,019 km2 of dense Afromontane forests, bamboo covered slopes, grasslands and wetlands. Nyungwe National Park is located in the south west of Rwanda on the border with Burundi in the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo in West on the shores of Lake Kivu. The park is a 6 hour drive from Kigali International Airport in the Capital city of Kigali, Rwanda. Below are things you need to know before visiting Nyungwe National Park. Nyungwe National Park has been in existence since 1903 and in 2004 it was then declared a National Park and one of the 4 national parks such as Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park and Gishwati Mukura national park.

Nyungwe national Forest has a steep ground, many waterfalls and a marvelous wildlife species makes hiking in Nyungwe Forest a famous activity. Hiking in Nyungwe Forest provide a huge net system of picturesque trails for hikers of any level. Besides being one of the oldest forests in Africa, Hiking in Nyungwe Forest takes you prior numerous waterfalls, viewpoints, and not to mention the debated source of the Nile. For the more comfortable hikers, Hiking in Nyungwe Forest offers shorter options such as the canopy walkway and hikes around Kamiranzovu Swamp. For those who like to get their feet dirty, Hiking in Nyungwe Forest can be done as a series of multiday package options available from the park headquarters.

The Nyungwe forest is known for its 13 primate species, including the famous chimpanzees, which are the highlight of any visit to Nyungwe. Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most popular activities in the forest, and visitors can expect to encounter these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat. Nyungwe forest is also home to the largest troop of black and white Colobus monkeys, which can be seen swinging through the trees.

The Nyungwe forest  is also rich in other wildlife, including duikers, golden cats, Klipspringer, impalas, Bushbucks, Buffaloes, Elephants, Bush pigs, Gant forest hog, Blotched serval, Carnival genet, Congo clawless, Mongoose, otter, serval, felis, black-fronted duiker, western tree hyrax, and many more. Birdwatchers will also be thrilled to know that the Nyungwe forest is home to over 300 bird species, including 29 Albertine Rift endemic species, Butterflies are also a common sight, with at least 120 species. The forest has 1,064 plant species and 140 orchids. . Nyungwe is also known for its Canopy Walk suspension bridge. With more than 12 trails for hiking in Nyungwe Forest, visitors can choose to sample the delights of the forest or indulge themselves for a week or more in one of Africa’s most stunning forests.

 Hiking trails in Nyungwe national park forest.

Igishigishigi trail ; Igishigishigi trail is now the most famous hiking trail at Nyungwe national park forest and normally starts from Uwinka reception center.   This trail is really the easiest trail to use while on hiking and forest walks. It take a length of 2.1 km and the hiking through the trail takes you about 2 hours to complete the entire.   Igishigishigi trail is named after the giant tree ferns which are dotted along the trail and while hiking on this trail a traveler will   get an opportunity to spot various primate species, birds, butterflies, treetops and beautiful wildflowers among others and the trail will amaze you with its awesome view of the canopy pathway.

Isumo waterfall trail; hiking at Isumo waterfall trail starts at Gisakura office and hiking takes a length of   10.6 kilometres with approximate of 4 hours to trek, Isumo waterfall trail name is driven from the Isumo waterfall which is the biggest waterfall in the Nyungwe National Park and hiking through will take you to a wonderful waterfall and it’s one of the most memorable trails for hiking in Nyungwe Forest.  This trail rests at the altitude of 1770 meters at the lowest point and 1940 meters at the top.  On your way to the waterfall, you will come cross ferns along the trail and also experiences a variety of bird species such as Ruwenzori Turaco bird and monkeys and encounter the forest cover along the way.

Bigugu trail; Bigugu trail is one of the most difficult trails to hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park which rest at an altitude of 2367 meters above the sea level, Bigugu trail hike starts at Nyabishwati with a distance of 13.2 km taking approximately 6 hours to complete the trek. This trail name was driven after mount Bigugu which is the highest mountain in Nyungwe forest national park. trail offers incredible flora and on a clear day views of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while on hike you will be immersed with marvelous  bird watching experience as you sight  birds like red collared mountain babbler, Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turacos, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Tit, the remarkable Red-collared Babbler, Archer’s Robin-Chat, White-bellied Robin-Chat and many more

Karamba trail;   Karamba trail is the best birding trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park and relatively easy trail to hike, hiking this trail starts at Karamba main- road and it takes about 3 hours to complete the entire hike covering an area of about 6 km long and located on the former site of a gold mine, market and army camp. This trail rest at an elevation range of 1935 meters at a lower point and 2030 meters at the top, the trail is located outside the forest which makes it easy for sporting various bird species. This trail is known to be one of the less muddy trails in the park and while hiking the trail you get an opportunity to spot colorful orchids, giant trees, and the interesting and common Dent’s monkey.

Nyungwe Forest National Park trails
Karamba trail

Ngabwe trail; Ngabwe trail is one of the most interesting trails in Nyungwe forest national park, hiking this trail starts at Kitabi Center with a distance of 4.7km taking about 3 hours to a complete the entire hike. Hiking the trail leads the hikers to the peak of mountain Ngabwe, which is a charming picnic and camping site.  According to tourists, the trail   is ideal  for those with   moderate physical fitness while hiking he trail you will get an opportunity to explore the various vegetation zones where  you  get to spot forest features  such as  L’Hoests, Silver and Colobus Monkeys, Mangabey Monkeys and Chimpanzees decides This trail as well as takes you to Kitabi Tea Plantation.

Umuyove trail;  Umuyove trail is a famous  hiking trail in Nyungwe forest national park and it’s a best spot for birding and other primate trekking ,  this trail is also known as the Mahogany Trail, . Hiking of this trail starts an Uwinka Visitors center with its distance of 5.5 km taking 3.5 hours to complete the entire hike depending on your physical fitness and speed. This trail offers you with to spot the chimpanzees and hiking leads you to waterfall amidst tallest trees in the forest.

Uwinka trail; Uwinka trail hiking starts at Uwinka Visitors center and it’s quite a challenging  and difficult to hike thus requires traveler who are physically fit and speedy , the trails distance  is  17.8 km  trail which takes 8 hours to complete the entire hiking. Though the hiking the trail is difficult but is the perfect place to listen to early morning bird calls.

Irebero trail; Irebero trail is a remarkable trail to the hiker, the hiking starts at Uwinka visitors center and stretches for about 3.4 km, taking 3 hours to be completed he hike, according to the tourists, hiking through the trail is moderate and need visitor with moderate physically fit while hiking on it offers you wonderful view of Rwanda’s borders, Lake kivu and the highest peaks of Nyungwe forest national Park.

Imbaraga trail;  Imbaraga trail is another difficult trail to hike as it is of a distance of 10 kilometers and takes 6 hours to be completed the hike, this trail is named from a local Kinyarwanda word meaning strength and this is evidenced in the difficulty to hike it. Imbaraga trail starts at Uwinka reception center and it takes you to experience of about 4 different wonderful waters and other wild animals

The Congo Nile Divide Trail Is largely mountains mostly the southern part and enlarges to cover some parts of Nyungwe forest national park and Kibira national park in Burundi.  It also stretches to cover parts of Butare Cyangugu road about 7 kilometers west of Uwinka. This trail takes you through  to spot variety and abundance of flora  and faunal species which include bamboo forest, marshes, wild flowers and ericaceous shrub as well as varied bird species  including among others the Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu ground thrush and red collared mountain babbler.

Other trails for you to hike while on safari in Nyungwe Forest National Park include Karamba birding trail, Kamiranzovu marsh trail, Umugota trail, Rukuzi trail , the source of the River Nile trail and Rukuzi trail, Muzima trail.

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