Destination Kivu Belt

Hiking in Nyungwe Forest

Nyungwe Forest has a steep landscape, numerous waterfalls and a wonderful animal life makes hiking in Nyungwe Forest a popular activity. Hiking in Nyungwe Forest offers an extensive network of scenic trails for hikers of any level. Apart from being one of the oldest forests in Africa, Hiking in Nyungwe Forest takes you past many waterfalls, viewpoints, and not to mention the debated source of the Nile. For the more comfortable hikers, Hiking in Nyungwe Forest offers shorter options such as the canopy walkway and hikes around Kamiranzovu Swamp. For those who like to get their feet dirty, Hiking in Nyungwe Forest can be done as a series of multiday package options available from the park headquarters.


Nyungwe Forest is also rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. The mountainous region is teaming with wildlife, including a small population of chimpanzees as well as 12 other species of primates, including the L’Hoest’s monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift. Nyungwe has 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids, 322 birds’ species including Red-collared Babbler and 29 other Albertine Rift En demic species. Butterflies are also a common sight, with at least 120 species. Nyungwe also has 75 known mammals such as the serval cat, mongoose, congo clawless otter and leopard to name but a few.

Hiking in Nyungwe Forest

Hiking Trails in Nyungwe Forest

Located in the south west of Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest’s steep landscape makes it an ideal destination for hikers. There is an extensive network for hiking in Nyungwe Forest of scenic hiking trails. One of the oldest rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe is rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. Nyungwe is also known for its Canopy Walk suspension bridge. With more than 12 trails for hiking in Nyungwe Forest, visitors can choose to sample the delights of the forest or indulge themselves for a week or more in one of Africa’s most stunning forests. Since it is a national park, all hiking in Nyungwe Forest is guided. 

Nyungwe Forest Map

Igishigishigi Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center
Difficulty: Medium
Duration: 2 hours
Length: 2.1 km

A comfortable trek for novices, this 2.1 km hike will amaze youwith its majestic views of the Canopy Walkway and dazzling wildflowers. The Igishigishigi Trail is named after the giant tree ferns which are dotted along the trail. It can also be combined with the longer Imbaraga or Umuyove Trails.

 

Karamba Trail

Starting point: Karamba Main- Road

Diffulty: Easy

Duration: 3 hours

Length: 6 km

Another relatively easy trail for hiking in Nyungwe Forest, the Karamba Trail is 6 km long and located on the former site of a gold mine, market and army camp. The trail is considered one of the best spots for birding in Nyungwe as it is flanked by numerous fern trees.

 

Umugote Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center

Difficulty: Challenging

Duration: 3 hours

Length: 3.6 km

This 3.6 km hike provides marvelous views of numerous ridges, rainforests, stunningly beautiful flowers and on a clear day, the Kibira National Park in Burundi. The trail is also a prime location for primate viewing and birding.

 

Umuyove Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center

Difficulty: Medium

Duration: 3.5 hours

Length: 5.5 km

Also known as the Mahogany Trail, visitors relax by a waterfall, take a stroll under some of the park’s tallest trees and savour the scent of aromatic leaves during this trek. With a distance of 5.5 km, the Umuvoye Trail provides access to several side trails used for chimpanzee viewing.

Hiking in Nyungwe Forest

Uwinka Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center

Difficulty: Challeninging

Duration: 8 hours

Length: 17.8 km

Although considered a difficult hike, this 17.8 km trail takes hikers through rather lovely ravines and is the perfect place to listen to early morning bird calls.

 

Irebero Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center

Difficulty: Medium

Duration: 3 hours

Length: 3.4 km

This 3.4 km trail loops around two of the highest peaks in the park and provides views of Lake Kivu in Rwanda.

 

Imbaraga Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center

Difficulty: Challenging

Duration: 6 hours

Length: 10 km

Geared toward experienced hikers, the trail rewards hikers with the sight of four scenic waterfalls and any of them will be refreshing after trekking a little less than 10 km.

 

Bigugu Trail

Starting point: Nyabishwati

Duration: 6 hours

Length: 13.2 km

The highest peak in the park, this 13.2 km trail offers incredible flora and on a clear day views of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

 

Hiking in Nyungwe Forest

Isumo Trail

Starting point: Gisakura office

Duration: 4 hours

Length: 10.6 km

This trail 10.6 km takes hikers through verdant tea fields, a steep rainforest ravine and to top it off, the biggest waterfall in the Nyungwe National Park. One of the most memorable trails for hiking in Nyungwe Forest!

 

Muzimu Trail

Starting point: Gisovu Ranger Post

Duration: 3.5 hours

Length: 5.2 km

A relatively easy trail for hiking in Nyungwe Forest in the remote north-eastern part of Rwanda takes hikers through pine and eucalyptus forests on a distance of 5.2 km. On this trail, you encounter many bird species and also get perfect views of the Lake Kivu and Virunga Volcanoes on a clear day.

 

Ngabwe Trail

Starting point: Kitabi Center

Duration: 3 hours

Length: 4.7 km

Two paths of 4.7 km lead hikers to the summit of mountain Ngabwe, which is a lovely picnic and camping site.

 

Rukuzi Trail

Starting point: Uwinka Visitors Center

Duration: 5 hours

Length: 9 km

This exhilarating 9 km hike provides outstanding chimpanzee spotting locations as well as views of Banda Village, from where children’s voices carry up the mountainside.

Hiking in Nyungwe Forest
Tea plantations in Gisakura at the edge of Nyungwe Forest

Hiking Trails from Uwinka Reception Centre 

 

Trail name

 

Distance 

Ave. hrs walking

Start time 

Observations

Imbaraga

9.8 km 

6 h

9am

Four waterfalls and great viewpoints

Igishigishigi

2.1 km

1 h 30

8am / 10am / 1pm /

3pm  

Canopy walk views

Canopy

walkway

2.

2.1 km

 

2 hours

 

8am / 10am / 1pm / 3pm

 

Forest view from the forest canopy

Umugote

3.6 km 

3 h

9am / 1pm

Viewpoints on the west of the forest

Mount Bigugu

6.6 km 

6h

9am

The highest point (2950m), 1 camping site

Kamiranzovu swamp

5.9km 

3.5h

9am / 1pm

Enjoying viewpoints in a 13km swamp with a variety of orchids

Irebero

3.5km 

3 h

9am / 1pm

Viewpoints, birds…

Umuyove

5.6 km 

4h

9am / 1pm

1 waterfall,  forest canopy( mahogany trees)

Rukuzi 

9.1km

5h

9am

Viewpoints to the village

Source of the Nile trail

2 km

1:30 h

9 am

Visiting new furthest source of the Nile Gisovu

    
 

Hiking Trails from Gisakura Reception Centre

Trail name

 

Distance 

Ave. hrs walking

Start time 

Observations

Isumo  (Kamiranzovu waterfall)

5.3 km (x2)

4 hours

9am / 1pm 

Crosses the large tea plantation

Karamba 

2km

3 hours

8am / 1pm

Good for bird watching.

One and Only Nyungwe house trail 

5km

1h30 h

8am / 1pm

Bird watching  and great view points

Ndambarare Waterfall

9.6 km

3h30 hours

9 am,1pm

Different view point tea factory tea plantation

Birding in Nyungwe Forest
Rwenzori Turaco

Contact Information and Booking

Nyungwe National Park is managed by African Parks in cooperation with the Rwandan Government and Rwanda Development Board.

Good to know:

  • Raincoats, boots and walking sticks are available from the reception
  • All Nyungwe hikes are classified as hiking in protected area/National Park.
  • Animals live in their natural habitat
  • Guide and permit are needed

Most of the websites and contacts about Nyungwe Forest online are not official park websites and the information is sometimes wrong and not reliable.  

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