Mount Bigugu Trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park is a must-do hiking trail for anyone visiting the park. The 7 km trail winds its way through the trees, taking you past crystal-clear streams and bubbling waterfalls. If you are lucky, you might even see chimpanzees swinging through the trees! Getting there is half the fun – the drive to the park will take you through winding mountain roads and past terraced tea plantations. It is an easy hike – the path is well maintained and there are plenty of resting points along the way. Finally, it’s a great way to get a different perspective on the park – the views from up high are spectacular! Why not spend the weekend hiking and discovering the natural beauty of Nyungwe? You won’t regret it!
Nyungwe National Park is located in southwest Rwanda, along the border with Uganda. It is known for its variety of wildlife, including endangered gorillas. The park was established as a protected reserve in 1934, and expanded to cover its current area in 2004. It covers over 1,000 sq km of forest, savannah and mountains. Although park headquarters are located in the town of Ruhengeri, most visitors to the park stay in the town of Kibuye, which is a short distance from the park entrance.
Park Highlights: The first destination along the trail is the Bulera Swamp, home to a variety of wildlife. Look out for hippos in the mud and water lilies floating on the lake! There are picnic tables here where you can rest your legs and enjoy a snack or two. Continue on to Lake Burera – another beautiful spot in the park. Clear waters reflect the surrounding trees, while birdlife proliferates on the banks. There are picnic tables here too, so stop off for a picnic lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the shore of the lake.
The trail continues to follow the water until you reach Lake Rwanyakoma – the largest and most picturesque of the three lakes. As you continue on the trail you will pass tea and coffee plantations, where you can see the farmers at work cultivating the plants. After about 3 hours of walking, you reach the bottom of the falls. Here you can take a short detour and visit the base of the waterfall before continuing your journey. Take in the views as you wind your way up the hillside, stopping to admire the beautiful scenery along the way. Eventually, you will reach the top of the falls where you can take your time exploring this tranquil area. Just a short walk away is the Nyarusiza Cave. This cave is home to thousands of bats, so make sure you bring a torch when visiting!
Park entrance fees: For tourists, the park entry fee is $60 per person for one day. This is payable at the main entrance. Children under 15 years of age can visit the park free of charge. However, they must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Visitors can travel to the park by public bus from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. The trip to Ruhengeri takes approximately 5 hours. The bus leaves Kigali at around 7am and arrives in Ruhengeri around lunchtime. Once there, visitors can either hire a taxi to take them to the entrance of the park or continue with the bus to the nearby town of Kibuye.