Nyungwe National Park is home to habituated chimpanzees and other primate species, including 400 troops of Ruwenzori colobus. Apart from primates, the park is a dwelling place of more than 300 species of birds and a wide variety of mammals.
I visited Nyungwe with a group of excited local tourists eager to find out what the dense rain forest can offer. It was a weekend getaway that turned out to be an unforgettable experience.
I love camping in the forest. The environment is completely different from anything I am used to. Something different is what I look for when I deviate from the monotony of my daily routine.
After a night of bonding, playing games and very little sleep, we headed to Gisakura tourist information office and as soon as we completed registration requirements, we proceeded to Isumo trail’s entry point near the magnificent One and Only Nyungwe House.
We strolled down a steep trail on the floor of the forest. It felt like a scene in a horror movie. One Trip Advisor reviewer wrote that he felt like Tarzan in the wild jungle, referring to a character in an adventure film. The trail is so narrow that we had to march in a single file creating a very long line.
Behind us, another line was formed by a group of foreign tourists. The twist and turn parade down the steep valley was both thrilling and scary. We were completely swallowed by the forest and as we moved deeper, the trail got darker, moist and slippery.
I was walking at the end of my group’s line. A bunch of bazungu extended the long line behind me. I overheard them talking about black, white and blue monkeys. In my wildest imaginations, I never thought monkeys are also divided along racial lines. We moved faster than the group behind us because we were not studying monkeys and birds on our way to the water falls. That explains why I never noticed their racial differences.
The site of the water falls is spectacular. When we finally arrived, excitement was in the steam-filled air. A powerful stream flows vertically creating whirlpools, turbulence and vapour. Over time, velocity is likely to dig deeper and increase the length of the falls.
Hiking back to the starting point was a physically challenging task. If you are planning to visit this attraction, you better start using that gym membership you have been wasting.
In the afternoon, we embarked on yet another awe-inspiring expedition namely the canopy walkway. Walking 70 meters above Nyungwe forest is one of the most thrilling things I have ever done in my life and that says a lot considering my adventurous past.
We had explored the forest from the bottom earlier. Then, the canopy gave us an opportunity to see it from above. The bridge made of ropes and metallic materials swings with every step you make. At some point, it seems like the whole thing is about to turn upside down.
I will never forget a girl who screamed her lungs out while holding the ropes firmly. She was scared to death but when she made it to the other side, she wanted to do it all over again. That made the two of us, when we reached the other side, we felt like doing it all over again. I bet you will feel the same.