Canopy Walk in Nyungwe National Park
Canopy Walk is one adventurous and fun thrilling activity that Nyungwe Forest National Park has to offer to any tourist visiting the national park. Nyungwe National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Rwanda.
A Brief History of Nyungwe National Park.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the South Western region of Rwanda; bordering Burundi in the South with Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo situated in the western part of the national park. Nyungwe Forest National Park covers a total surface area of 1020 sq km and at a height of between 1600- 2950 meters above sea level.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is part of the renowned Nyungwe Forest which is the largest tropical rain forest in East and Central Africa. The forest has been in existence for over thousands of years. In 1903, Nyungwe was declared a forest reserve by the German colonial government. Between 1958 and 1973, the total land coverage of this tropical African rainforest greatly reduced due to fire outbreaks in the forest, large scale deforestation and poaching of animals. In 1974, the last buffaloes that inhabited Nyungwe Forest were killed by poachers. In 2004, Nyungwe Forest National Park was first established as a national park following the ranking of Rwanda as one of the top 10 tourist destinations on Lonely Planet. However, in 2005, Nyungwe Forest National Park was declared as a protected area and it is during this time that tourist visits to the national park increased.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to over 300 bird species and 75 mammal species inclusive of 13 primate species. This makes the national park a place to be for any curious and adventure thrilled visitor.
Nyungwe Forest covers an area of over 1000 sq km and receives a record amount of 2000mm of rainfall every year. The forest is also Rwanda’s largest water catchment area holding 2/3rds of all the country’s water. This large tropical forest also contributes to the water distribution in River Congo and the Nile River as well.
The Canopy Walk and Hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
The Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the three canopy walkways in Africa and the only one in East Africa. The Canopy walk was opened to the general public in 2010 as a tourist attraction and activity.
Nyungwe Forest Canopy walk is 90 meters long and 50 meters above the ground. This gives a tourist the opportunity to appreciate the forests’ natural scenery from a bird’s eye view. While hiking, the view of the forest from its ground floor is also breathtaking with lots of attractions to sight within the forest like birds, monkeys, butterflies and many more.
The starting point to the forest canopy starts at Uwinka Visitor Centre and is a 2 hours hike. The hike starts from 8am till 10 am in the morning and the evening hikes being at 3pm every day. The Canopy walk and hike is adrenalin and fun-filled walk that takes one through the 200m Canopy walkway. This is the highlight of the whole hiking experience especially for those who are not afraid of heights.
While hiking to the Canopy, the trails can be slippery and tedious hence it calls for one to be physically fit, patient and persistent as well. Do make it a point to wear the right hiking boats when going for the forest canopy walk.
The Canopy walkway comprises a bridge that is adjourned between huge trees in the forest and stands 60 meters above the forest floor. While on the bridge, get to see different butterfly and bird species as well as spot the mischievous and yet curious monkeys such as; the blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and the l’Hoest monkeys.
The Canopy walk and hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park offer tourists the chance to explore the forest’s natural beauty; with the upper section of the forest having hardwood trees while the lower section of the forest canopy has a large collection of purple orchids with lush, green flora.
How much is the Canopy walk and hike in Nyungwe National Park?
The Canopy walk and hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park will cost you USD 60 per person and those interested in the activity can make payments at the park’s reception desk.
Best Time to go on the Canopy Walk and Hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
The Canopy walk and hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park can be done throughout the year with the best time being in the dry season. However, there are high chances of rainfall while you are on the hike, so it is advisable to carry a raincoat along with you on the day you go hiking to the canopy.
What do you need for the Canopy Walk and Hike?
On the day you are going for the Canopy Walk and Hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park, please carry with you the following;
- A walking stick [can be provided for you at the national park].
- Waterproof Hiking Boots.
- A raincoat
- A camera and batteries
- A small/ light backpack bag
- Mineral water/ water bottle
Where to stay while visiting Nyugwe Forest National Park.
There are a variety of accommodation facilities available while on tour to Nyugwe Forest National Park. The accommodation options comprise hotels, lodges, guesthouses, motels and campsites. Some of these places that you can choose to stay in include;
- Nyungwe Forest Lodge: Nyungwe Forest Lodge was established in 2010 and has 20 luxury rooms and 2 VIP/ Presidential rooms with each of these VIP rooms having a Jacuzzi and private balcony with views overlooking Nyungwe Forest. Nyungwe Forest Lodge offers its guests luxury services like; swimming, health gym, and spa treatments. There are some activities that guests can engage in while staying at Nyungwe Forest Lodge and these include; chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, canopy walk, and a guided forest walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Nyungwe Forest Lodge also provides its guests with transportation to the national park, with even a provision for helicopter flights to Kigali International Airport.
- Gisakura Guest House: Gisakura Guesthouse is located 2 km from Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is situated along the road to Rusizi and is close to the Gisakura tea estate. This guesthouse offers low budget and mid-range accommodation with rooms ranging from USD 43 to USD 85. Activities that guest staying in Gisakura Guest House can indulge in are; canopy walk, chimpanzee tracking, hiking and bird watching among others.
- Nyungwe Top View Hotel: The Nyungwe Top View Hotel was constructed in 2011 and is a five minutes’ drive to Nyungwe Forest National Park. The hotel is also a 4- 5hour drive from Kigali City. Some amenities provided at the hotel include; a restaurant and well-stocked bar, electricity, security and medical services are given that the hotel is located 10 km from a medical Care Center. While staying at Nyungwe Top View Hotel, guests can take part in activities such as; tracking chimpanzees, bird watching, forest walk and the canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park.
In case you are traveling to Rwanda to trek gorillas, do not forget to include the Canopy Walk and hike in Nyungwe Forest National Park.