The Canopy Walk
The Canopy walk in Rwanda is an exhilarating experience done in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park on a suspended bridge 70m high above the great Nyungwe forest and this walk is guided walk on a 160 m long walkway that takes about 2 hours on this suspended bridge.
The ancient Nyungwe forest is home to numerous wild species including the endangered chimpanzees plus other 12 primate species that visitors can spot on their walk. This biodiverse rain forest is also known for its over 1000 unique tree species, 300 bird species, several amphibians, and reptiles species; all of which add up to the uniqueness and richness of the forest, making your canopy walk experience a very memorable one.
The canopy walk is a guided tour done by persons of 6 years and above at a fee of 60 USD per walk per person. Though a 6-year-old can do the walk, it’s advisable that adults always accompany the children. The walk is done all year round, however it’s much better and easier in the dry seasons where the walkway is much drier. Dry seasons in Rwanda run from June to September and December to February.
The walk on the canopy walk offers its walkers great views of the great East African region, Lake Kivu, the different sections of the Nyungwe forest as they spot the different animals, birds, insects, reptiles, and amphibians that live in the forest.
The canopy walk involves some slight hiking because you access the suspended bridge from the 2.1 Km long Igishigishigi trail, a hiking trail in Nyungwe National Park; it’s after that trail that you join the 160 meters suspended bridge that’s over the forest. This hiking trail should not stop you from taking the walk, it’s very easy to hike even for first-time hikers; it just has a few steep points because of the mountainous terrains but it’s totally doable.
The schedule of the canopy walk is 8am, 10am, 1pm and 3pm. The walk starts from the Uwinka Reception Centre; this is also the head office for Nyungwe National Park. At Uwinka Reception centre visitors are briefed about the walk and assigned a walking guide; this is where you also purchase things like walking sticks, raincoats, etc if you don’t have them already because you need them for the walk. After the session at the Uwinka Reception centre, you then move with a guide to the Igishigishigi trail then 160 m suspended bridge that is adjourned on huge strong trees on top of the ancient biodiverse Nyungwe forest.
For your walk, you need to wear hiking shoes or boots, a rain jacket, a snack if you must especially for children, a bottle of water and of course your camera to capture the memorable moments.
It’s also advisable to be in good health before you take the walk; if you don’t feel well or if you have a sickness that may be worsened by the walk; you can excuse yourself from the walk and try other activities that are in Nyungwe National Park.
That said the canopy walk is the perfect adventure for anyone who loves a good adrenaline rush, nature enthusiasts and risk-takers; but don’t be alarmed, it’s safe for anyone who wishes to take part in the walk.
The walkway is firm and even on your walk the park operators ensure that several safety measures are implemented for your safety on the walk.
The canopy walkway was erected by USAID through the Green Heart NGO group in 2010. The walkway is partitioned in 3 sections; 90 meters, 45 meters and 25 meters and the 90-meter section is 70 meters high. The canopy walkway in Rwanda is the third of its kind in Africa and the only one in the East African Region.
Nyungwe National Park is about 5 to 6 hours from Kigali south west of Rwanda and can be accessed by road; the road infrastructure to the park is well built and constructed so you get a smooth ride to the park plus on your way to the park you have a spectacular array of hilly topography that you get to see making your somewhat long journey worthy it.
The park is one of the three national parks in Rwanda and it offers its visitors great safari experiences not only on the canopy walk but on other activities that include chimpanzee trekking, birding, hiking, Ishuno waterfalls, nature walks, and community visits. It’s important to note that though, you can spot most animal species on the canopy walk; for you to have full intimate experience with the animals especially the primates is on the ground so you should plan to do the trekking activity.
The park is also in close proximity with tea planting communities, which means during your stay at the park you can visit tea plantations to experience the process of producing the rich and unique Rwanda tea, taste the tea and interact with the different tea growing communities to experience their cultures and lifestyles.