Hiking Trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Hiking Trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park are quite many with each trail offering hikers the best scenic views in the national park. These hiking trails are the best way for visitors to explore the national park on foot.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is among the four national parks that are found in Rwanda. It was gazetted as a national park in 2004 and covers approximately 1,020 square kilometers. The national park is encompasses part of the renowned Nyungwe forest which is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse forest reserves in Africa.


Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda and is home to over 1,068 plant species, 140 orchids, 120 butterfly species, about 322 species of birds, 13 primate species, including a small population of habituated chimpanzees, and 75 known species of mammals.

Nyungwe National Park has 15 hiking trails which visitors can explore during a hiking and guide nature walk in the national park. All hiking tours in Nyungwe national park start at the visitor center in Uwinka. Some of the commonly hiked trails in the national park include;

Igishigishigi trail:

The Igishigishigi trail in Nyungwe national park is the best and most recommended hiking trail for first time and inexperienced hikers in the park. This hiking trail is about 2.1 kilometers long and offers hikers the best views of the Canopy Walkway in Nyungwe national park. Visitors can take about 1½ hours hiking on this trail. The Igishigishigi trail can also be combined with hike on longer hiking trails like the Imbaraga and Umoyove Trails.

Karamba Trail:

The Karamba trail is also a relatively easy trail for visitors to hike. It is located on a site that used to be a gold mine, market and army camp. This hiking trail is considered to be one of the best places for birding safaris in Nyungwe national park, and features many fern trees. The tail is about 4 kilometers long on a round trip and takes about 3 hours to hike to and from.

Hiking Trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Karamba Trail

Buhoro Trail:

The Buhoro trail Nyungwe Forest national park is about 2 kilometers long and is also an easy trail for visitors to hike. Visitors hiking the Buhoro trail can take about 1½ to 2 hours. It is one of the shortest hiking trails in the national park.

Umugote Trail:

This hiking trail offers visitors stunning views of numerous ridges, rainforests, and beautiful flowers. Visitors hiking the Umugote trail can see the Kibira National Park in Burundi on a clear day. The trail is also the prime location for viewing both primate and bird species.

Umuyove Trail:

The Umuyove trail in Nyungwe takes about three and four hours to make a round trip of a 5.5km circuit. It is known as the ‘Mahogany’ hiking trail since it traverses via the mahogany trees lined up along the trail and it offers a clear view of the waterfalls. Several hikers prefer Umuyove trail since it’s a bit short and offers that special feeling of the cool breath from the water fall and very beautiful flowers encountered along the way and around the falls plus plenty of bird species including the water birds. This short trail takes about three and a half hours starting from Uwinka to Buhoro trail.

Isumo waterfall Trail:

The Isumo waterfall trail is a favorite hiking trail amongst hikers in Nyungwe Forest national park. It takes about 4 hours to complete the 10.6 kilometer long circuit. This trail passes through tea plantations and Nyungwe forest leading to the popular Isumo water falls. Visitors hiking this trail can on a good day sight various primate and bird species.

Kamiranzovu Trail:

The Kamiranzovu trail in Nyungwe national park features the park’s largest swamp, Kamiranzovu Swamp. Visitors hiking on this trail can view stunning water falls along the trail. It is about 6 kilometers long and takes about 3 hours to hike. It is believed that the last forest elephant disappeared in the Kamiranzovu swamp hence the trail name ‘Kamiranzovu.’

Bigugu Trail:

Bigugu hiking trail is a 6 hours hiking trail that takes hikers through 13km trail to summit Bigugu mountain peak which is situated at an elevation of 2,950m. This is amongst the best trails to have a clear view of Lake Kivu and different bird species. However, Bigugu hiking trail is very steep and in most cases slippery thus a trail to summit the peak need physical fitness.

Muzimu Trail:

Muzimu Trail in Nyungwe is a 5.2 kilometer long hiking trail and can be hiked in about 3½ hours. This hiking trail offers hikers a panoramic view of the national park. Visitors hiking on this trail can also see Lake Kivu and the volcanic mountains that lie within the Virunga Massif.

Irebero Trail:

The Irebero trail curves around two of the highest peaks in Nyungwe forest national park. Hikers on this trail can be able to see Lake Kivu and is a 4 kilometer circuit that takes about 3 hours to hike to and from.

The Congo Nile Trail:

The Congo Nile Trail is popular among cyclists and experienced hikers in Nyungwe Forest national park. It is the longest hiking trail in the national park covering about 227 kilometers. It takes hikers about 10 days to complete hiking this trail. The trail is ideal for visitors looking to mingle and interact more with the local Rwandan folks. Hikers can also tour a historic church along the trail, swim and paddle on Lake Kivu and also tour some coffee farms along the way.

Hiking Trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park
The Congo Nile Trail

Rukuzi Trail:

This 9km Rukuzi hiking trail takes about 5hours to complete a full circuit. Opting for this trail is such a rewarding experience enabling hikers to encounter with the chimpanzees which are the major attractions in Nyungwe forest alongside a beautiful vegetation cover that amazingly catch the hiker’s sight.

Uwinka Trail:

This 17.8 km hiking trail is considered amongst the short trails in Nyungwe forest. This hiking trail takes about 8 hours to make a complete circuit.

Ngabwe Trail:

The Ngabwe trail in Nyungwe forest national park is ideal for visitors looking to camp in the national park. The trail also has ideal spots for picnics, with stunning views of the forest canopy. This trail is roughly a 5 kilometer long circuit and takes about 3 hours to hike to and from. Visitors hiking this trail begin their hiking expedition from Kitabi reception area and it is ideal for birding.

Imbaraga Trail:

The Imbaraga trail is about a 10 kilometer circuit and takes approximately 6 hours to hike. It is an ideal hiking trail for experienced hikers as it is a difficult trail to hike and calls for hikers to be in perfect physical conditions.

Hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park are exciting and adventurous. The hiking trails offer visitors exhilarating and stunning views within and outside the national park. Visitors can combine a hiking trip in Nyungwe with other activities offered in the national park such as; chimpanzee trekking, birding, primate tracking, and Nyungwe canopy walk to mention but a few.

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