If you have always desired to participate in hiking/nature walks within the jungles during Rwanda tours, then your dream can come true because Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts of over 130 kilometers of hiking trails with exceptional wildlife, bird and tree species in addition to other attractions such as waterfalls.

Nyungwe Forest is one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit within Rwanda and in fact, it’s not an overstatement to call it paradise on Earth. It is a home to over 13 species of primates including Chimpanzees, Angolan black and white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, silver monkeys, Vervet monkeys and Red-tailed monkeys among others. There are also other mammals, birds, orchids, butterflies and tree species within this verdant site and the 14 hiking trails will allow you to explore all these treasures.

Therefore, the hiking trails within Nyungwe Forest National Park include;

The Congo Nile Divide Trail

The Congo Nile Divide is made up of 42 kilometers and lasts from three to four days transversing along a magnificent ridge within Nyungwe Forest that separates the River basins that drain into the Nile River and on the other side of the ridge into the Congo River Basin.

Please note that this long trail is ideal for the experienced hikers with some level of physical fitness and involves Camping in the jungles as you go through the 42 kilometer long trail. However, don’t confuse/mistake it with the Congo-Nile trail that runs along the shores of Lake Kivu within the western side of Rwanda.

Igishigishigi Trail

If you have always desired to engage in the exhilarating canopy walk, then the Igishigishigi trail is what you should go through. As a matter of fact, it is the most famous and frequently used trail and starts from Uwinka Reception Center of Nyungwe Forest National Park.

It is around 2.4 kilometers and lasts around 90 minutes to complete and rewards hikers with the amazing views of different primate species, birds and butterflies that call the Park home.

Umuyove Trail

This is definitely one of the most exciting and famous trails within Nyungwe Forest National Park but is relatively short yet endowed with breathtaking views of the roaring waterfalls and orchids as well as several wildflowers that you will encounter.

It is 5.5 kilometers long and lasts for only 3.5 hours but most importantly, tourists are rewarded with the views of several primate species, birds and trees. Generally, Umuyove is a Kinyarwanda word meaning Mahogany because these tree species are lined along the trail hence making it an exciting hike.

Karamba Birding Trail

This trail is around 4 kilometers long and relatively easy, especially if you are looking for nature walks rather than hikes within Nyungwe Forest because the region through which it transverses is flat and relatively open area of the forest.

This area is where gold mining was done in the past and eventually became a quarry to get road construction material as well as being used as an army camp. Not only that, it is one of the least muddy and slippery hiking trails you will ever find within this verdant Forest, and offers opportunities for spotting primates especially the Dent’s Mona Monkeys, orchids as well as Giant tree ferns among others.

Muzimu Trail

Muzimu is a remote 5.2 kilometer trail that lasts around three and a half hours to complete and is moderate in difficulty. The most interesting thing about it is that it crosses through open heath-like vegetation in addition to the shrubs and offers opportunities for sighting several wildflowers and numerous forest birds. Most excitingly, the Muzimu hiking trail offers the breathtaking 360 degree views of Nyungwe Forest National Park and the spectacular Lake Kivu at a distance as well as the magical Virunga Volcanoes on a clear day.

Irebero Trail

Irebero is a Kinyarwanda word that means viewpoint because this trail is 3.6 kilometers and offers one of the most mind-blowing views you will ever find within Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is of moderate difficulty and lasts around 3 hours but is totally worthwhile. It rewards hikers with a magical view from a high elevation so as to gape at the view of Lake Kivu and Rwanda’s borders.

This popular trail leads you to the loop around the two highest summits within Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Kamiranzovu Marsh Trail

Kamiranzovu trail is about 6 kilometers long, taking approximately 3 hours and of moderate difficulty. You will encounter numerous orchids especially in the rainy season (March to May and November) as well as wetland/swamp bird species such as the Grauer’s Rush warbler.

Kamiranzovu March is a large swamp found inside of a caldera-like depression and forms an important watershed within Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Ngabwe Trail

Ngabwe is a 4.7 kilometer trail that lasts around 3 hours to complete and the good news is that it is of moderate difficulty. Using this trail means encountering several vegetation zones and primate species such as Chimpanzees on a lucky day, Angola black and white colobus monkeys, Grey cheeked mangabeys, silver monkeys and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Hikers can however proceed on the extended one that is around 8 hours long and includes the Kitabi Tea plantation as well.

All in all, hikers are always advised to carry some snacks or packed lunch to eat from the designated picnic site that also provides jaw-dropping views of Nyungwe Forest.

Imbaraga Trail

This fascinating trail is about 10 kilometers long and takes around 6 hours to complete but is one of the most difficult ones within Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is taken out of the Uwinka Reception Area and offers hikers with the stunning views of four different waterfalls as well as chances of spotting chimpanzees. “Imbaraga” is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “strength” because of its difficulty hence hikers should be physically fit (with strength).

Umugote Trail

This is a 3.6 kilometer long trail that lasts approximately 3 hours to finish, and was named after a Syzygium tree that is commonly sighted during hiking. It involves ascending up the side of the Mountain with breathtaking views of the unblemished part of the Forest and is interestingly of moderate difficulty.

Hikers transverse though the deep valleys with rich forest biodiversity and also offers views of the Mountains of Burundi on a clear day.

Source of the Nile Trail

If you had the dream of seeing the Rwandan source of the Nile River, then undertake this magnificent hiking trail and you will be totally amazed. It lasts only 90 minutes to complete and doesn’t need much effort to hike.

Many of us think the source of the Nile River is found in only Uganda but you will be shocked when you realize that Rwanda and Burundi also have the source of this River. The one in the former was discovered during the “ascend the Nile Expedition” in 2006 where it as established that the tributaries of River Rukarara was actually the Source of River Nile in Nyungwe Forest.

Bigugu trail

This trail is around 7 kilometers long, taking 6 hours to complete and sometimes passes through steep and muddy places. It also ascends until the highest point of Nyungwe Forest National Park (Bigugu Peak) at 2950 meters above sea level. Due to its difficulty, hikers are expected to be physically fit but it’s worthwhile.

It is the ideal trail for birders because there are high chances of spotting the Red-collared mountain babbler in addition to stunning wildflowers such as the Giant lobelias and Orchids among others.

Isumo waterfalls trail

This is one of the renowned trails and is about 10.6 kilometers long, lasting 4 hours to complete but of moderate difficulty. In the beginning you will transverse a lush tea plantation and go through patches of forest where several primates will be sighted, especially the Vervet monkeys and the Angola black and white colobus monkeys.

The path to Isumo waterfalls is breathtaking and hikers encounter tree ferns that are very beautiful to marvel at besides offering chances of spotting exceptional bird species such as the Rwenzori Turaco.

Rukuzi trail

Rukuzi trail is about 9 kilometers long, takes only 5 hours to complete and is of moderate difficulty to hike. It introduces hikers to some of the Chimpanzee communities in Nyungwe Forest National Park as well as other spectacular primate species.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the best hiking destinations in Rwanda with over 130 kilometers/over 14 trails that offer views of numerous primate bird, butterflies and orchids among others. This is one of the few places you can visit to explore rich forest biodiversity during an African safari.