The thrill of a canopy walk

As I keep visiting different parts of Rwanda, I constantly look for exciting things to do.

One week after discovering underground lava tubes near the volcanoes, I headed to Nyungwe National Park and experienced the thrill of walking 70 metres above the biggest forest I have ever seen.

The earth is a mysterious planet viewed from different positions for a broader perspective.

Nyungwe is located in the southwestern corner of Rwanda. The dense rainforest is home to habituated chimpanzees and other primate species including 400 troops of Ruwenzori colobus. More than 300 species of birds and a wide variety of mammals are found there too.

Some attractions require an aerial view for a comprehensive observation.

Trekking on the floor of the forest is highly recommended but it’s the canopy that guarantees a bird’s-eye view of the park.

You will have no idea how astonishing Nyungwe is until you walk over it. Seeing how thick vegetation winds through the landscape, covering the surface and falling over deep valleys will take your breath away.

Walking on top of the forest is one of the most electrifying things I have ever done. That says a lot considering my adventurous past. The suspension bridge made of ropes and metallic materials swings with every step you make.

At some point, it seems like the whole thing is about to turn upside down. This experience will undoubtedly ignite butterflies in your stomach but that’s the beauty of it.

Canopy walkways were initially used by scientists to reach upper levels of forests while conducting their research. In some parts of the world, suspension skyways were used as mere bridges enabling pedestrians to walk from one hill to another. 

Eventually, brains behind the ever-evolving leisure industry stole the idea and developed an eco-friendly product.

This trip wasn’t seamless. On the first day, torrential downpour forced me and my travel companions to alter our itinerary.

We proceeded to the southern flank of Lake Kivu where the source of Rusizi River is traced.

Back in the forest, it rained cats and dogs all night long and when we returned in the morning, it was still drizzling a little bit.

Equipped with waterproof rain suits and gumboots, we crossed the canopy one trembling step after another.

The canopy gave us an opportunity to see nature from a different angle.

From a vantage point, we espied the sea of flora and fauna while rubbing shoulders with flying birds. The air up there is pure, fine and bracing.

This wasn’t my first ever canopy tour. The first one was more nerve-racking. Halfway through the bridge, I started questioning my decisions. There was a young lady behind me who was screaming her lungs out.

She was scared to death but when she made it to the other side, she wanted to do it all over again. That made the two of us. Once is never enough.

The author is an adventurer on a mission to discover what Rwanda has to offer.

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