As always I like to take scouting trips to areas I would like to sell in the future and Rwanda being next door to Uganda, I decided it was about time I toured it before I could officially add it to destinations for Kagera Safaris. Rwanda is generally a small country so if you are interest is visiting the major tourism destinations you will accomplish that in a week, however if you want to get off the normal touristic routes, then you will require more time to explore beyond the tourism circuits.
On this tour my first major stop was Nyungwe forest national park found in south western Rwanda. There are many activities one can do in Nyungwe forest ranging from Chimpanzee trekking, bird watching, colobus monkey trekking, hiking and canopy walk. I chose the later because it was the most exciting for me – I imagined ‘walking’ in the tree canopies and seeing the forest from above. Together with the tour guide we started the journey from Kigali down towards Nyungwe with brief stopovers at the Kings palace in Nyanza and the Ethnographic museum in Huye district. We had lunch in Huye and continued to Nyungwe forest later in the afternoon.
The drive to Nyungwe is really scenic with winding roads which explains the famous adage of Rwanda being the land of a thousand hills. The road at some points was covered in mist coming from the forest miles away. I traveled during the rains so the entire place was a green carpet, both the local peoples gardens and farmlands. The roads are winding and steep with sharp corners which can be scary if a truck is behind you. We eventually arrived in Nyungwe later in the evening and went immediately to inspect different lodges that we would likely use in case we included Nyungwe forest on the itineraries in the future.
The next day we arose early and went to the Uwinka briefing point to start the canopy walk. The tour guide I traveled with later handed me over to a ranger guide to take me in the forest for this experience. He was such a pleasant guide and to this day we are still in touch. I learned that his children school in Uganda and we promised to meet when he next visits Uganda, this happened a few weeks later. We arrived at the start of the canopy and walked up to the enjoy the views of the forest from high above. The canopy walk is firm and I highly recommend it unless you are truly scared of heights. The beauty of it is that you get to enjoy the forest learning about the different tree species, birds, history of the forest while on the canopy. The tour of Nyungwe ended and we started the journey to enjoy the views of Lake Kivu which borders with Democratic republic of Congo.