Nyungwe Trip Report

Nyungwe National Park. The fees are now US$50 for foreign visitors and RWf4000 for locals each. Allow at least 3 and1/2hours to get to Uwinke from Kigali and expect the pot-holes to get gradually worse on the paved highway west of Butare.

There seems to be a positive policy to not repair the western section of highway in the foothill and we passed no less than three broken down trucks on this section, victims of pot-hole shock (i.e. bits of their frames were being welded back together). You can do this in an ordinary car but be very careful and especially slow on the dodgy highway sections.

There are l’Hoest’s monkeys on the approachway to the ranger station which has a newly build octagonal information centre on the flaura and fauna. The canopy walk is now fully operational and the Rwanda Development Board there are really pushing it as part of the (easiest) 90 minute walk.

We took the blue route (Umugote Trail) and completed it in 2 1/2 hours – and at 62, having had cancer, ought to show that anyone can dance through the rainforest if reasonably fit. Good grip shoes or sandals are vital along with at least a litre of water apiece. Do accept the walking pole offered by the guide – the spongy rich forest soil gives slightly and on the slopes the extra stability offered is most welcome.

Great views over the hills to Burundi, plenty of exotic plants abound and expect many ups and downs as the trail winds over streams and across several hill spurs. We DID see chimpanzees (albeit 300 yards away), tree squirrels, more Hoest’s monkies, several varieties of wild Impatiens flowers, may many exotic trees and ferns, one black snake and plenty of birds. I am no twitcher but, by standing still and silent for five minutes, brings them out again into flight and song.

One great thing is that the insect repellents seem to be 100% effective here.Whether this is a no-bite zone or that high altitude, around 2000m, limits these beasties it made for a fun walk without the constant fanning.

We were the only visitors on the trail. I strongly recommend the blue route as you seem to get the full Tarzan experience without the gimmicks.

Joe Weiss

 

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