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Hiking Trails in Nyungwe Forest, Hiking is one of the most popular tourist activities within the 1000-square kilometer Nyungwe Forest National Park, offering visitors with endless views of the primate species-Chimpanzees (if lucky), vervet monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys among others, other mammals especially bushbucks, duikers, buffaloes, bird species, waterfalls, unique tree species, butterfly species and many attractions in the Park.

There are over 15 hiking trails extending for a total 130 kilometers within Nyungwe Forest National Park with each offering unique attractions. These trails are easy, moderate or difficult to hike with different starting points with some of them starting from Uwinka reception Center, others in Kitabi reception center while others in Gisakura reception center.

Bigugu Trail

Bigugu Trail is a relatively difficult trail starting from Uwinka reception center and extending for 7 kilometers and usually takes hikers about 6 hours to complete. It leads hikers to the peak of the 2950-meter Mount Bigugu, the highest point in Nyungwe Forest National Park and is excellent for tourists interested in spotting unique plant species such as giant lobelias and orchids in addition to being perfect for birding. Not only that, hikers are normally rewarded with the stunning views of Lake Kivu on a clear day.

Congo-Nile Divide Trail

The Congo-Nile Divide Trail is so far the longest trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park, even requiring hikers to Camp for some nights along the trail. It starts from Uwinka reception center and usually takes around 10 days to complete with 42 kilometers along the ridge within the jungle. Its name is derived from the fact that it divides the basins of Congo and Nile Rivers. Interesting things to see along the trail are tea and coffee plantations, locals tending to their gardens, views of Lake Kivu, primates, birds and tree species within the forest and many others.

Isumo waterfall Trail

Starting from Gisakura reception center, the Isumo waterfall Trail is a moderate-to-hike trail extending for 10.6 kilometers and lasting 4 hours to complete. The lowest point of the trail is 1770meters above sea level and the highest 1940 meters above sea level and transverses verdant tea plantations, steep rainforest gorges and patches of forest, and the highlight of the hike being awe-inspiring views of the Isumo waterfalls.

Muzimu Trail

Starting from Uwinka reception center, Muzimu Trail is a relatively easy trail lasting three and a half hours for 5.2 kilometers leading to the north-eastern side of the country. It transverses vast open vegetation as well as eucalyptus and pine forest. If you choose to undertake your hike through this trail, expect 360 degrees views of Nyungwe Forest National Park, the Virunga Volcanoes in the far north-west and Lake Kivu on a clear day.

Karamba Birding Trail

Karamba Birding Trail is one of the easiest trails to hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park, extending for 4 kilometers and lasting only 3 hours. It passes through relatively flat and open forest areas including a village market, former gold mine and army Camp. For tourists interesting in birding, Karamba Birding trail is the best for that purpose.

Buhoro Trail

Buhoro Trail is a short and easy-to-hike trail beginning from Uwinka reception center, extending for 1.8 kilometers and lasting only one and a half hours. Buhoro is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “short” due to the briefness of the trail.

Ngabwe Trail

Ngabwe Trail can start between Uwinka and Kitabi reception centers and is moderate-to-hike. It extends for 4.7 kilometers and usually takes about 3 hours to complete, but what makes it interesting is the fact that it passes through different vegetation types where numerous primate species especially black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, L’Hoest monkeys, silver monkeys and sometimes chimpanzees on a lucky day can be spotted.

Umoyove Trail                      

Umoyove Trail is another moderate-to-hike trail extending for 6 kilometers and lasting for only 4 hours. It is the best for persons looking to just unwind within nature. Umoyove means “Mahogany” in the local Kinyarwanda dialect because of the plethora of these tree species hence reason the trail is sometimes known as “Mahogany” Trail. Magnificent views of waterfalls, wildflowers and orchids should be expected along this trail.

Igishigishigi Trail

Nyungwe Forest National Park offers opportunity of undertaking the canopy walk, one of its kind in East Africa and can be undertaken along the Igishigishigi trail. The trail is about 2 hours to complete with magical views of the forest ravines as well as primates, birds and tree species.

Irebero Trail

Starting from Uwinka reception center, the Irebero Trail is moderate-to-hike for 3 hours on a 3.6 kilometer stretch. This stunning trail rewards hikers with the majestic high altitude views of the forest, Rwanda borders as well as Lake Kivu at stone throw away. Irebero is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “viewpoint” because it carves around the two highest points in Nyungwe Forest National Park for unforgettable views of the surrounding areas.

Kamiranzovu March Trail

Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail is another exhilarating moderate-to-hike trail extending for about 5.9 kilometers and takes only 3 hours to complete the round trip. The Trail was named after the famous Kamiranzovu wetland that is said to be the largest swamp in the Park. Kamiranzovu is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “swallowing elephants” because it is believed that many elephants disappeared from the spot.

Umugote Trail

Umugote Trail is another interesting relatively short-to-hike trail starting from Uwinka Reception center, rewarding tourists with the stunning views of the Mountain of Burundi. The fascinating Umugote Trail is about 3.6 kilometers long and takes about 3 hours to complete. Umugote is a Kinyarwanda name for “Syzygium” tree because it is usually encountered along the way while hiking.

Rukuzi Trail

This is one of the lengthy hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park, extending for over 9.1 kilometers and takes up to 5 hours to finalize. It is known for offering hikers with the awe-inspiring views of the beautiful Lake Kivu, Rwanda’s largest Lake and the fact that it is usually used during chimpanzee trekking adventure. Hikers therefore have great chances of encountering the chimpanzees on a lucky day.

Imbaraga Trail

If you are up for a hiking challenge, then this 9.8 kilometers long hiking trail is what you need to try. It takes 6 hours to complete and is considered one of the most difficult to hike, thus requiring participants to be physically fit. If you are also interested in the Canopy walk, this is a must-do trail.

Uwinka Trail

With a distance of over 17.8 kilometers long, Uwinka is a magical hiking trail usually starting from Irebero trailhead and continues to Kamiranzovu Marsh hiking trail. It lasts 8 hours to complete and rewards hikers with rich views of bird species and primates among others.

Source of the Nile River Trail

Nyungwe Forest National Park is said to be the furthest source of the Nile and this trail will lead you to the starting point of Nile River that is also believed to be in Rwanda, not Uganda as many people believe.

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