Did you know that the popular canopy walkway is found in the district of Nyamasheke? During my recently concluded tour of this Western Province district, I skipped the thrilling canopy experience because I have done it many times before. Instead, I chose to indulge in new experiences.
Memories of my past canopy walk dangles are still fresh on my mind. Today, allow me to share what transpired when I visited Nyungwe forest with the host district’s employees a couple of years ago.
The year was 2019. I spent Labor Day with employees of Nyamasheke District. In the morning, we assembled near the district’s headquarters and had breakfast. Then we headed to Nyungwe National Park.
Upon arrival, we bought our permits and strolled down the valley along a narrow trail known as Igishigishigi. Forty minutes later, we started taking one trembling step after another on the bridge made of metallic materials and ropes.
I had crossed the canopy several times before but every trip is a brand new experience. Each tour is a different opportunity to observe something new, create new memories and tell a different story.
I always get freaked out whenever I reach the middle of this aerial walkway. Walking 70 meters above the floor of the forest will ignite butterflies in your stomach regardless of your experience.
My biggest challenge this time around was to walk without holding the supporting ropes. My hands were busy operating two devices at the same time, making it impossible to grab the side ropes. As a result, I struggled to maintain balance. Every step I took made the canopy swing. It felt like the whole thing was about to turn upside down.
On our way back to the starting point, we saw two blue turaco birds chilling on a branch of a big tree. I learned from our guide that turaco couples are inseparable. The love birds were minding their own business. They didn’t seem to notice our presence until one of us started producing turaco sounds using a bird sound app installed on the gadget he was biting. That sound attracted their attention. They stared at him and looked puzzled.
The first time I poked my nose into other birds’ affairs, I saw security guards, engineers and interior designers. Yes, birds have important jobs too. Some of them do what you do for a living. Their skill sets are probably more refined than yours. No offense.
The birds I encountered on that memorable day got surprised to hear a human being speaking their language. Wouldn’t you be perplexed to hear an eagle speaking your mother tongue? There are more similarities between you and wild animals than you have ever imagined. As I always say, wildlife will never stop amazing me.
When we left the park, we went to Gisakura and had a cocktail party on those evergreen rolling hills I always talk about. Labor holiday couldn’t get better than that.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Nyamasheke is sponsored by Nyamasheke District, The Click Creations, Tec Global Ltd and Exposure.