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Back to Nyungwe National Park

Back to Nyungwe National Park

It’s 7:30 in the morning. I am writing this from Uwinka Overlook in the Nyungwe National Park. This time, I am visiting the rainforest with students who have never been here before. They can’t wait to feel the thrill of today’s canopy walkway. I have crossed Nyungwe’s canopy a dozen times before, but I feel the same way. I can’t wait to do this one more time.

As usual, tour operators are dropping foreign tourists, some of whom are in Rwanda for the first time. Like my students, the inbound first-timers are beaming with joy.

Uwinka is an entry-point to a number of trails — including Kamiranzovu, Imbaraga and Igishigishigi. The latter is the one we are about to pursue, en route to the canopy walkway. There are different trails leading to specific spots while enabling hikers to bond with nature.

Through Isumo trail, tourists can reach the stunning Isumo Falls. Bigugu trail takes them to the highest mountain in the park. From the park’s highest point, one can see Lake Kivu and parts of the neighboring countries of Burundi and DR Congo. The Congo Nile Divide trail snakes through the heart of the forest all the way to the watershed separating the drainage basins of Congo and Nile rivers. There are many more trails with varying degrees of difficulty and length.

Canopy tours are offered four times a day. We have booked the 8 a.m. one because we are scheduled to travel to Karongi in the afternoon. After buying permits and meeting our guide, we are ready to go.

This is the first piece of my latest Nyungwe chronicles. Tomorrow, I will share what happens in the densest forest I have ever been to. Stay tuned.

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