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Rwanda: Isumo waterfall trail

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Isumo waterfall trail | Rwanda | Africa

[Visited: February 2013]

After the exciting chimp-tracking of the morning, and a short rest where I finally had the chance to eat something, I was already on my way on a second excursion with a different guide. Our hike started through the tea plantations I had already seen the day before, but I noticed that there now were many people picking tea leaves: the day before had been Sunday. The sun was shining on the rolling hills around us, making the green tea plants stand out. We regularly stopped to enjoy the sweeping views over the hills, to the forest further away. From our viewpoint, it was easy to see how the rainforest had been cut to be replaced by the tea plantations. We were descending, sometimes following zig-zags, until we entered the forest, seemingly entering a different world. No more views, but all the more sounds around us.

Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Rapids downstream from the main waterfall

My guide, who had been talkative until this moment, now really semeed to be in his element: he continued to explain the plants we were seeing, telling me about the uses of the fruits, often also for medicinal purposes. At the same time, we had entered Nyungwe National Park, which means that it is officially not allowed to use the fruits of the forest in any way. We crossed a wooden bridge, and a little later, the noise of running water was always getting stronger, and then, suddenly, we reached an opening in the forest and saw several rapids in a row in the river just below us. We had arrived at our destination: the Isumo waterfall. We descended to the river bed; the colour of the water was a remarkably clear dark brown, pretty much like Coke. We could see the main waterfall, which was around the corner.

Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Water rushing down at the main waterfall of Nuyngwe National Park

We stood below the waterfall, with water falling down right from a gap in the forest above us, with so much force it caused a permanent whirling wind through and a spray in the gorge. We spent some time admiring the force of nature, before we headed back the same trail. Fortunately, after crossing the bridge, there was an alternative trail back up, which took us back to the tea plantations through switchbacks. Where one couple had warned me in the morning chimp tracking that the trail would be very difficult, it actually turned out to be an easy walk. We were lucky enough to spot a group of blue monkeys, just as I was lucky the next morning to spot a group of colobus monkeys in the trees right next to the road where I was waiting for transportation to Butare.

Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Hills covered by tea plantations on the way to the waterfall
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Forest in Nyungwe Park, on the way to the waterfall
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Trail through the forest of Nyungwe
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Rapids in the river close to the main waterfall
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Main waterfall of Nyungwe surrounded by the forest
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): The river running down from the main waterfall
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Wooden bridge over a stream cutting through the rainforest of Nyungwe
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): View up the waterfall and surrounding landscape
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Dark water in the river running down from the main waterfall
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): River in Nyungwe Park, seen on the way from the main waterfall
Picture of Isumo waterfall trail (Rwanda): Landscape of tea plantations and rainforest in Nyungwe National Park

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