Many may wonder, what is a canopy tour? Well in simple terms it is a route through a forest and usually mountainous terrain making that mainly comprises of zip lines as well as aerial bridges that connect several platforms constructed up in trees. Throughout the canopy walk, participants are tied to a strong cable to ensure their safety. Canopy walkways which are also referred to as treetop walks enable you to view and reach the forest from the upper levels through a number of bridges that extend through the entire forest. Initially, the canopy walkways were established to enable scientists and other researchers to reach the ecosystems of the upper levels of the forests to carry out their studies. Currently, canopy walkways are being built almost everywhere to enable tourists gain better access and close proximity to the wildlife in the upper levels of the forest as well as bringing them close to birds in an environmentally friendly way.
If you would love to take part in this thrilling and unforgettable experience of walking across suspended bridges connecting raised platforms up in treetops, we have highlighted the top best canopy walks across the African continent.
- Lekki Conservative Centre , Nigeria
This is the longest canopy walkway on the entire African continent. It is a remarkable engineering accomplishment with suspended bridge walkways hanging on huge trees that wind through the dense forest. This canopy walk is found in Lekki Conservative Centre a natural conservation that covers a total area of 78 hectares within Lekki in Lagos state, Nigeria. This natural reserve was established by the Nigeria Conservation Foundation in 1990. Purposely to conserve the flora and fauna in the area due to the great encroachment that was resulting from urbanization. The conservation is found just nineteen kilometers from the Lagos-Epe Expressway and extends close to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This makes it without a doubt one of the finest urban parks in Africa that satisfies the curiosity of holidaymakers of the wonders of Mother Nature, as is the only wildlife habitat found in Lagos city the most highly populated city in Nigeria a West African country.
The Lekki Conservation Centre prides in quite a number of different adventurous features that can be enjoyed by holidaymakers while on Safari in Africa, however, the 400 meter long Lekki Canopy Walk is the most notable of them all rewarding participants with a very memorable adventure experience.
As you traverse the canopy bridges, you will explore this amazing nature park, encounter different wildlife as well as enjoy the beautiful scenery of the higher levels of the forests. Actually I should warn you that the walk on the bridge is not for the faint hearted however we emphasize that it is very strong and safe. Covering a length of 401 meters, this great work of adventure was designed and constructed by just thirteen (13) Nigerians who were supervised by two (2) Canadians.
Children are not allowed to climb this bridge due to its great height; however, if they are adventurous as well as brave enough, with authorization from their parents or guardians, they may be allowed to take part in this adventure. The canopy can be enjoyed all year round except during the rainy months. And remember, no adventure beats the experience of walking on the longest canopy walk high up in the upper levels of the tree tops.
- Nyungwe Canopy walk, Rwanda
Nyungwe Forest National Park is situated in Rwanda and is one of the reasons why Rwanda is a popular tourist destination across the globe. Nyungwe is more than a place you go to relax; it also provides you with fun adventures as well as a view of Rwanda’s unique and beautiful scenery. It sits on about 1600 to 2000 sq. meters and it is Africa’s largest protected mountain-forest. The drive to Nyungwe is five hours into the middle of Rwanda which gives tourists a chance to view and appreciate the stunning scenery in Rwanda as well as the beautiful undulating landscape as they travel. As soon as you arrive at the park, you will put away your luggage and get ready to go on one of the world’s most incredible safari experiences you will ever have in your entire life.
Nyungwe Forest has breathtaking scenery, large ancient trees as well as an exceptionally dense tropical forest that covers a 200 meter canopy walkway that will give you and your loved ones the most memorable time of your lives.
The canopy is almost two hours from the Uwinka visitor center which is the point where this adventure begins. The forest sits on a mountain and the trail to the canopy is very slippery considering the fact that there is constant rain and the ground on which you will walk is generally wet and very moist. For people that are afraid of heights, seeing the canopy can be very frightening and anxiety inducing.
This bridge is suspended between very large trees which gives travelers a chance to feel the cold fresh air while hanging about sixty meters from the forest floor. Beside the crisp clean fresh air and the magnificent view from the trees, you will also be on eye level with a number of bird species that will often cross your path as you enjoy the walk. The walk is a very popular activity among tourists and should be one of the things on your bucket list. The canopy walk in Nyungwe forest was made accessible to the general public in 2010 and it is unique being the only one in East Africa and the third in Africa as a whole. While on this canopy walk that is about ninety meters long, you will get up close with a number of monkeys swinging from one tree to another, multicolored butterflies and different species of birds.
The upper canopy is comprised of hard-wood trees while the lower part is mostly covered with a huge number of purple orchids as well as the thriving plants and animals that are better adopted to living in high altitudes.
Nyungwe forest offers a number of other trails into different parts of the forest beside canopy walks which are suitable for people that love hiking or taking long walks. All walks led by guides begin from the reception center at the central Uwinka, the Kitabi entrance in the east plus the western Gisakura entrance.
The canopy walkway provides a spectacular view from above the ground which is an attraction of its own, however, there are ten interconnected mud trails that lead you deep into the middle of the forest that are worth exploring on foot.
After hiking for ten kilometers, you can reward yourself by taking a tour of Ishuno cascading waterfalls in Nyungwe that provide a breathtaking view. Ishuno waterfall is relatively small however it’s calming waters are very soothing and its cool breeze is greatly welcomed after an exhausting hike.
Nyungwe forest national park canopy walkway is suspended about 50 meters above the forest floor and provides an amazing view of East Africa’s largest and oldest Afro-Montane forest. Its 200 meter walk way is also adjourned over a steep and deep valley that is covered with a dense forest. This walk provides you with exceptional views of the foggy forest and access to a number of wild animals that inhabit the canopy. It lasts about two hours with its beginning and end points being Nyungwe forest national park headquarters at Uwinka tourist reception center. The first 200 meters along the forest floor under the dense canopies are a great time to look at the different sights on the ground before taking the canopy walk to get a view of the top canopy. There are high chances of you getting sight of birds, white and black colobus, L’Hoest’s monkey, blue monkeys plus the red tailed monkeys. The restricted age for this walk is six years and children should be accompanied by their parents or a guardian. Each person interested in taking a canopy walk must pay sixty dollars at the reception center. Canopy walking takes place all year long. Nyungwe forest receives a lot of rainfall all year long you are encouraged to carry a rain coat. It is also important for you to carry hiking boots however if you do not have a pair, you can hire them from the reception center. The walking sticks are provided to everyone for free. The hike is not difficult to undertake and has duration of just two hours.
- Kakum Canopy Walk, Ghana
The amazing rope-bridges of the Kakum canopy takes holidaymakers into a world that is only dwelled in by birds and monkeys only. The tree canopy is situated in the dense tropical jungle of Kakum National Park and it was designed by two Canadians. They designed the canopy walkway to increase tourism traffic especially ecotourism to the unknown national park. They therefore designed a distinct feature that would make the park a tourist destination by setting up an elevated trail through the canopy. In 1995 this canopy walk was officially opened up to the public consisting of seven bridges that were suspended from the trees approximately 130 feet above the forest floor. Throughout the 1000 feet of walkway, the bridges look like they were built with traditional rope material but they were constructed using solid material like wire rope, wooden planks, aluminum and there is also a safety net to protect people from falling off the trail to the ground.
How to get there: It is more convenient to use a private car however it is easy to find a taxi for a day trip in Cape Coast. You can make a stopover at Hans Cottage Hotel for a lunch break where you can also get the opportunity to pet one of the crocodiles.
- Kirstenbosch Tree Canopy Walkway, South Africa
The Kirstenbosch tree canopy walkway is a fairly new tourist feature whose bridges were curved from steel and timber, and it winds its way through and across the Arboretum trees. The design of the bridge was inspired by the shape of a snake’s skeleton; in fact, it is locally known as ‘Boomslang’ which means ‘tree snake’. Amazingly, this is a low maintenance, raised walkway with minimal environmental impact. It takes the holidaymakers through an exploratory journey from the forest floor up through the trees and finally out above the canopy while providing stunning and different views of the forest at all the distinct levels. It provides beautiful aerial views of the nearby mountains, cape flats as well as Gardens.
The canopy walkway is a narrow, slender 130 meters long path which has a few wide view-point places and it lightly winds its way through the canopy in a discreet almost non noticeable way. The walkway is shaped like the crescent moon and it utilizes the gently sloping landscape and reaches the forest floor in two distinct places and raises tourists to about 12m above the ground. It is very unique walkway because it is similar to a snake in the way that it winds and dips.
Between 2013and 2014, The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway was constructed to commemorate the 2013centenary of Kirstenbosch. On 17 May, 2014, it was opened to the general public and since then many tourists have travel from far and near to enjoy this memorable forest adventure.
No additional entry charge is levied to walk on the Boomslang, except the usual Garden entry fee.
Wheelchair accessibility: The Boomsland is wheelchair accessible however the Arboretum is located on a slope and is further into the Garden therefore visitors in wheelchairs will need to be helped to navigate the steep slopes to access the walkway as well as the paths in the Arboretum. The most recommended route for people in wheelchairs to use to access the canopy-way is from Rycroft Gate (Gate 3) – always endeavor to look through the route map for details and other options. Persons using Wheelchairs enter Rycroft Gate using the gate accessed by vehicles.
What you should carry for the canopy walk
- Camera with a strap to secure it and don’t forget to bring some extra batteries
- Strong hiking boots with ankle support
- Enough bottled drinking water,
- The walking stick
- Rain jacket
- Small back pack bag
- Wear sunscreen
- Some cash to tip your guides
What you should not bring on your canopy walk
- Cigarettes and any other tobacco items
- Cell phones plus any other electronic devices that may not be easily secured while on this activity
- Weapons of any kind