Exploring Rwanda hiking destinations : Rwanda, a small landlocked country, boasts magnificent natural beauty, from fog-covered volcanic crater lakes to dense rainforests swarming with endangered gorilla species. Through the country has evil history, Rwanda has extraordinarily transformed into one of Africa’s most wanted destinations, taking the attention of passionate travelers seeking to explore its gems. To truly experience its wonders, there’s no better way than presuming on foot along the hiking routes of Rwanda. Engage yourself in the local culture and traverse the awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes by choosing from our top hiking trails in Rwanda.

The impressive landscapes, tropical climate, and astonishing wildlife make the most extraordinary hiking destinations in Rwanda. The best hiking experiences are in the western part of the country, elongating from Volcanoes National Park in the north, along the edges of Lake Kivu, and down to Nyungwe National Park in the south. In the same region lies a range of six in extinct and three active volcanoes forming the Virunga Mountains straddling from 2,400m to 4,507m altitude. The best of hiking in Rwanda happens in Volcanoes National Park, which protects the Rwandan sector, with the other mountain slopes decreasing on the side of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. To truly experience its wonders, there’s no better way than presuming on foot along the hiking routes of Rwanda. Engage yourself in the local culture and traverse the awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes by choosing from our top hiking trails in Rwanda.

Hiking trails in and around Volcanoes National Park

Although Volcanoes is most famous for gorilla trekking, there is plenty of beautiful hiking scenery. However, all hiking in the park is guided and requires an entrance permit.

Mount Bisoke

Mount Bisoke sits at elevation of 3711 meters or 12175 feet above the sea level , Bisoke is located on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is inactive volcano with an enormous crater lake at in the peak calculating about 400m in diameter and fully lies in Rwanda. Mount Bisoke Crater Lake is the most popular trail for hiking tours in Volcanoes National Park as hikers aim to reach to the amazing Crater Lake at the peak. Mountain Bisoke is also located nearer to the center of the Virungas and thus offers astonishing views of the chain. It’s a scenic walk with a relatively easy hike that usually takes about three hours round trip During the hike , travelers can get an opportunity even catch view of the sharp peak of Mt. Mikeno in the Congo and also have great chance to see gorillas and golden monkeys along the hike. The difficulty level of this hike can be put at challenging to difficult but can be done even by none experienced hikers, however good fitness is very important for one to enjoy the trek. The round trip is about 6 hours, with 4 hours climbing up and 2 climbing down.

Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi is the highest volcano in the Virungas and is the 5th highest mountain in Africa consisting of 4507meters above the sea level. The mountain receives snow during some months in the year because it is located near the equator. For experienced hikers that may prefer a longer and a more challenging hike in the Virungas this is possibly the finest volcano to hike in Volcanoes National Park. Hiking of mount Karisimbi is quite different from other volcanoes where hiker can only hike for one day, Mount Karisimbi hike is a 2 day adventure with camping on the mountain for one night at elevation 3700 meters above the sea level or 12139 feet.

Hiking Congo Nile Trail

The Congo Nile Trail lies along Lake Kivu and is one of the longest trails in the volcanoes with about 227 kilometers long and the   most popular hiking destinations in Rwanda with cyclists and hikers. The trail crosses rainforests, bamboo forests, and huge cultivated fields. It takes about 10 days for hikers to complete the entire hike. The Congo Nile Trail is a perfect hiking destination for adventure to immerse yourself in local traditions, villages, and Rwandan remote communities. A traveler can also visit a historic church, swim, paddle on the lakeshore, or sip coffee from the source. The trail winds through coffee-washing stations, tea plantations, towns, villages, beaches, caves, waterfalls, valleys, and breathtaking vistas. The Congo Nile hiking Trail offers some of the most thrilling hiking, with the highest peak reaching 2,630 meters.

The Dian Fossey trail

The Dian Fossey trail is located in the valley between Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi. It starts from the base of Mt. Bisoke and goes to the interment place and the research station, Karisoke, of famous researcher Dian Fossey who devoted her life to studying and advocating for the protection of the mountain gorillas and their habitat in Rwanda and the neighboring countries. The Dian Fossey trail offers a wonderful trek with astonishing views of the mountains and exclusive mountain vegetation such as orchids and an opportunity to encounter the mountain gorillas. The Dian Fossey trail offers a less energetic hike. Hiking the entire trail takes abbot 3-4 hours to complete the trek.

Hiking trail in Nyungwe forest

Nyungwe forest is also known for its Canopy Walk suspension bridge. With more than 12 trails for hiking in Nyungwe Forest, visitors can choose to sample the delights of the forest or indulge themselves for a week or more in one of Africa’s most stunning forests.

Igishigishigi trail

Igishigishigi trail is now the most famous hiking trail at Nyungwe national park forest and normally starts from Uwinka reception center.   This trail is really the easiest trail to use while on hiking and forest walks. It take a length of 2.1 km and the hiking through the trail takes you about 2 hours to complete the entire. Igishigishigi trail is named after the giant tree ferns which are dotted along the trail and while hiking on this trail a traveler will get an opportunity to spot various primate species, birds, butterflies, treetops and beautiful wildflowers among others and the trail will amaze you with its awesome view of the canopy pathway.

Exploring Rwanda hiking destinations
Igishigishigi trail

Isumo waterfall trail

Hiking at Isumo waterfall trail starts at Gisakura office and hiking takes a length of 10.6 kilometers with approximate of 4 hours to trek, Isumo waterfall trail name is driven from the Isumo waterfall which is the biggest waterfall in the Nyungwe National Park and hiking through will take you to a wonderful waterfall and it’s one of the most memorable trails for hiking in Nyungwe Forest.  This trail rests at the altitude of 1770 meters at the lowest point and 1940 meters at the top.  On your way to the waterfall, you will come cross ferns along the trail and also experiences a variety of bird species such as Ruwenzori Turaco bird and monkeys and encounter the forest cover along the way.

Bigugu trail

Bigugu trail is one of the most difficult trails to hike in Nyungwe forest national park which rest at an altitude of 2367 meters above the sea level, Bigugu trail hike starts at Nyabishwati with a distance of 13.2 km taking approximately 6 hours to complete the trek. This trail name was driven after mount Bigugu which is the highest mountain in Nyungwe forest national park. trail offers incredible flora and on a clear day views of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while on hike you will be immersed with marvelous  bird watching experience as you sight  birds like red collared mountain babbler, Chestnut Owlet, Olive and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Great Blue and Ruwenzori Turaco, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Tit, the remarkable Red-collared Babbler, Archer’s Robin-Chat, White-bellied Robin-Chat and many more.

The Congo Nile Divide Trail

The Congo Nile Divide Trail is largely mountains mostly the southern part and enlarges to cover some parts of Nyungwe Forest National Park and Kibira national park in Burundi.  It also stretches to cover parts of Butare Cyangugu road about 7 kilometers west of Uwinka. This trail takes you through  to spot variety and abundance of flora  and faunal species which include bamboo forest, marshes, wild flowers and ericaceous shrub as well as varied bird species  including among others the Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu ground thrush and red collared mountain babbler.

Karamba trail

Karamba trail is the best birding trail in Nyungwe Forest National Park and relatively easy trail to hike, hiking this trail starts at Karamba main- road and it takes about 3 hours to complete the entire hike covering an area of about 6 km long and located on the former site of a gold mine, market and army camp. This trail rest at an elevation range of 1935 meters at a lower point and 2030 meters at the top, the trail is located outside the forest which makes it easy for sporting various bird species. This trail is known to be one of the less muddy trails in the park and while hiking the trail you get an opportunity to spot colorful orchids, giant trees, and the interesting and common Dent’s monkey.

Ngabwe trail

Ngabwe trail is one of the most interesting trails in Nyungwe forest national park, hiking this trail starts at Kitabi Center with a distance of 4.7km taking about 3 hours to a complete the entire hike. Hiking the trail leads the hikers to the peak of mountain Ngabwe, which is a charming picnic and camping site.  according  tourists the trail is ideal  for those with moderate physical fitness while hiking he trail you will get an opportunity to explore the various vegetation zones where  you  get to spot forest features  such as  L’Hoest, Silver and Colobus Monkeys, Mangabey Monkeys and Chimpanzees decides This trail as well as takes you to Kitabi Tea Plantation.

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