I visited Nyungwe National Park with a group of excited local tourists eager to find out what the dense rainforest has to offer. It was a weekend getaway that turned out to be an unforgettable experience.
We traveled to Nyamasheke the day before and camped in the woods. The environment was completely different from anything my partners in exploration are used to. Something different is what they wanted to experience when they signed up for this expedition.
After a night of bonding, playing games and very little sleep, we headed to Gisakura tourist information office. We bought permits and proceeded to Isumo trail’s entry point, near the magnificent One & Only Nyungwe House.
We rambled along a steep trail on the floor of the forest. It felt like a scene in an adventure film. One Trip Advisor reviewer wrote that he felt like Tarzan in the wild jungle. 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. 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 foreign tourists 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 foreigners behind us because, unlike them, we were not studying monkeys on our way to the waterfall. That explains why I never noticed their racial differences.
The site of the falls is spectacular. When we finally arrived, excitement was in the steam-filled air. A powerful stream flows vertically creating whirlpools, turbulence and vapor. Over time, velocity is likely to dig deeper and increase the length of the falls.
Hiking back to the starting point was physically taxing. If you are planning to visit this attraction, you better stop procrastinating and start working out regularly and consistently.
In the afternoon, we embarked on yet another awe-inspiring expedition: The canopy walkway. Walking hundreds of feet above Nyungwe forest will ignite butterflies in your stomach but that’s the beauty of it.
Earlier on that memorable day, we explored the forest from the bottom. Then the canopy gave us an opportunity to see it from above. The skywalk made of ropes and metallic materials swings with every step you make. At some point, it feels 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.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Nyamasheke is sponsored by Nyamasheke District, The Click Creations, Tec Global Ltd, Elimo Real Estate Ltd and Exposure.