By Sarah Asiimwe
Will give you the thrill of a lifetime!!!
Nyungwe Forest National park is, without doubt, one of the reasons why Rwanda has lately become a top tourist destination the world over. A visit to this place should be among the things on your ‘To Do List’ before this year ends.
It is not only a place for relaxation but also one for adventure and insight into Rwanda’s unique beauty.
Nyungwe Forest is the largest protected mountain forest in Africa covering between 1600 and 2000 square metres; and, being a five-hour drive into the heart of Rwanda, the long drive to Nyungwe gives visitors a chance to drink in the country’s diverse scenery and impressive landscape en route to the main attraction.
Once you get there, prepare yourself to embark on one of the most incredible adventures you will ever have: The Canopy Walk!
Besides the beautiful scenery, huge, centuries-old trees and extra thick forest, this outstanding tropical forest is shelter to a 200m Canopy Walk way that will give a thrill that can hardly be matched by anything else.
Getting to the Canopy is about 2 hours from the starting point at Uwinka Visitors centre. This forest is on a mountain and so the hike down is quite slippery because of the mere fact the ground on which the tourists trek is wet and moist. Seeing the Canopy on arrival, especially for those afraid of heights, it could be described as ‘The endless walk to Hell’.
The bridge suspended between huge trees gives one a feel of fresh air, 60 metres above the forest floor. Besides the freshness in the air and magnificent aerial view of the trees, you will enjoy the sight of beautiful birds flying across as you enjoy the walk.
The Canopy Walk is the favourite activity for park visitors. It is one of those things you want to attempt before you die.
Opened in 2010 it is the only one of its kind in East Africa and the third on the continent.
The 90 metrelong Canopy walkway offers unique face to face encounters with butterflies, colorful birds and monkeys.
Hard wood trees dominate the upper canopy while the lower part is beautified with a large selection of purple orchids and lush flora and fauna that flourish better in the higher altitudes.
Besides the Canopy Walk, the park offers a range of trails in to different parts of the forests for avid hikers and occasional walkers. All the guided walks depart from the central Uwinka Reception centre, the western Gisakura entrance and the eastern Kitabi entrance.
While the view may be better from above, this tourist attraction is equally fascinating from the forest floor.
A network of over ten mud trails takes you deep into the heart of the forest park.
Finally, do reward yourself after a 10km hike with a visit to Nyungwe Forest’s beautiful Ishumo waterfall. It may be small in size, but this calm waterfall is striking in its own way and the breeze to which one is welcomed will feel like one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures.