Canopy Walk Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
Canopy walk way in Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the top reasons as to why tourism in Rwanda has become popular world over. Nyungwe forest is one of the largest protected mountain forest in Africa covering between 1600-2000 square kilometers.
The canopy walk of Nyungwe Forest National Park is a suspended bridge covering 160 m through the lush montane rain-forest and 70 m high from the forest floor. This is one extraordinary activity that offers a spectacular view of the ancient forest tree tops as well as bird life and other species within.
Opened up in 2010, the canopy walk is a major choice for tourists to Nyungwe forest. It is the only one of its kind in East Africa and the third on the African continent.
Upper canopy is occupied by the hard wood trees as the floor of the forest is dominated by the largely purple orchids. During the walk, you can easily come to a close encounter with some primates like monkeys that live in this forest.
Any traveler can book to have the canopy walkway experience as long as they are above 6 years of age. The minimum age for canopy walk in Nyungwe is six (6) years of age and all children must be in the company of an adult.
It costs US$ 60 per person to undertake this activity as part of their Rwanda safari. Remember to always carry along a rain jacket since the possibilities of raining are always high.
Other requirements for the hike include essentials like hiking shoes and a back pack containing your essentials. In case you cannot carry these, worry not, you can rent them from the reception center.
With the fact that this is home the 13 primate species, there are high chances of encountering them on the canopy hike. However, for a primate dedicated safari choose to track primates or take a Chimpanzee trekking tour in Rwanda
Having a canopy walk experience in Nyungwe forest
To reach the park you will be driven on a 4×4 safari vehicle from Kigali for about 5 hours till the Uwinka visitor center. However, on arrival at the Uwinka visitor center, you will walk to the canopy walk start point.
The walk takes about 2 hours as you hike through the slippery forest due to the fact that the floor is in most cases wet or moist.
Starting the canopy walk experience the bridge is accessible on a guided tour along the Igishigishigi trail, or to those hiking the Imbaraga or the Umuyove trails.
Walking 70 meters above the forest floor could be anxiety causing for those people with height problems, but it’s worth undertaking and a remarkable experience.
Up on the canopy walk bridge one enjoys the feel of fresh air, wonderful aerial views and several birds. For those that are uncomfortable with heights, this can be one almost unending walk but definitely memorable after.
The 160 m long canopy walk takes close to 2 hours.
To add on the experience, you can also take the 10 Km hike to the Ishuno water falls of Nyungwe. These falls are of a small size but beautiful as it strikes its way and releases a pleasurable breeze.
How to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe forest is a long drive form Kigali unlike other national parks of the country. It’s a five (5) hours’ drive giving an opportunity for tourists to enjoy the scenic hills that form Rwanda.
Depending on how fast you want to get to the park you can get to Nyungwe forest by road or by air.
To reach Nyungwe forest by road you can use different routes and these are Kigali to Nyungwe via Huye town or via Karongi town.
Through Huye town, you drive via Nyabugogo Taxi Park to Kamonyi to Muhanga to Ruhango to Nyanza to Huye and Nyamagambe district which connects to Nyungwe forest. The drive along this route offers an opportunity to visit several historical and cultural sites including Kings Palace, kamegeri rock and ethnographic museum.
Driving via Karongi town, you will drive from Nyabugogo Taxi Park then go through Kamonyi, Muhanga, Karongi and Nyamasheke district which connects to Nyungwe forest. On this route you get to pas within proximity of historical sites like Bisesero Genocide Memorial site and the Ndaba rock. Along this route, you still have perfect views of Lake Kivu from Karongi to Rusizi.
To get the park, you can be transported by a tour guide from Kabira Safaris and tours as we organize all the required means of transport. Optionally you can also use public means using public transport companies who drive from Kigali to rusizi. Public means of transport however do not get into the park therefore you need to have connections to your lodge or the park authorities to get you to the trek point.
If you would want to get to Nyungwe faster or have limited time, plan to get to the park by air. There are two companies that operate flights to Kamembe airport near Nyungwe Forest National Park. You can travel with either Rwandair or Akagera Aviation and have the chance to view Rwanda from a panoramic view.
Best time for Nyungwe’s canopy walk
The activity (Canopy Walk Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda) is open all year round. However, the best time would be during the dry season in the months of December – February and June to August.
Each day, the walk starts at different intervals which is 8:00 am, 10:00 am or 3:00 pm and 1:00 pm which makes it convenient to choose the most favorable time of the day. Higher chances of rain in the afternoons.
What to carry for a canopy walk
- A rain jacket
- Hiking shoes
- Drinking water
- Camera and photography gadgets
- Camera batteries
- Back pack
Apart from the canopy walk, Nyungwe forest National Park also offers hikers and walkers many trails to the forest. Walks can start from either the Uwinka reception Centre, Gisakura entrance in the west or the Kitabi entrance in the east.