Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park: Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is conducted in Nyungwe forest national park strategically located within south western part of Rwanda the land of a thousand hills near Burundi border and Democratic Republic of Congo as well as closer to Lake Kivu one of the most beautiful lake in Rwanda. Nyungwe forest started as a forest reserve in the year 1903 making the oldest rainforest in the world and later on was gazette into a park in the year 2004. Chimpanzee trekking is usually the major activity done in this park since it’s mainly a home to primates with over 13 primate species including chimpanzees, olive baboon, red-tailed monkey, Angola Colobus, golden monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, Rwenzori Colobus monkey, grey-cheeked Mangabey, silver monkey, Vervet monkey, owl-faced monkey, Bush babies, and Den’t mona monkey. In fact, Nyungwe forest national park is equivalent to Kibale forest national park situated in western part of Uganda which also harbors over 13 primate species is yet a top destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
With all the 13 species of primates, chimpanzees are the most recognized primates in this park thus trekking these gentle giants is one of the top thing/ tourist activity to do while on a Rwanda safari to Nyungwe forest national park and it’s the only park where this activity is done. Nyungwe forest national park thrills with over 500 chimpanzees with only 2 habituated chimpanzee troops that are trekked on a daily basis. 2 groups of tourists are allowed to trek 2 troops of habituated chimpanzees on a daily basis all year round. One group enjoy chimpanzee trekking in Uwinka while the other group of tourists enjoy the trek in Cyamudongo. Tourists ready for Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park are supposed to leave the accommodation at around 4:00am such that by 5:00am, trekkers are at the briefing grounds for briefing before penetrating into the forest for the real adventure of Chimpanzee trekking. There is therefore, a need to be prepared as early as possible. In most cases, there is even no time for breakfast thus trekkers can go for trekking first then return to the lodge for a late breakfast at ease.
Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda begins with briefing at the trail heads then later on, trekkers penetrate into the forest to start the fascinating activity of searching for these apes in their natural habitats. The trek lasts about 2-5 hours depending on how these chimpanzees move and upon finding them, only one hour is allowed for trekkers to watch chimpanzees as they play, feed, copulate, breastfeed and many more. As soon as one hour elapse, trekkers exit the forest and meet their drivers to be returned to the lodge to proceed with other park activities. Chimpanzee trekking permit in Nyungwe forest national park costs $90 per person. One must be at least 15 years of age to be able to trek the chimpanzees. 15 years was set as the minimum age limit for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda with in Nyungwe forest national park below which one is considered as a minor thus unable to trek chimpanzees.
Packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park Rwanda include;
- A chimpanzee trekking permit is a MUST have while getting out of your lodge for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park Rwanda which should be booked in advance either direct with the Rwanda Development Board or by using a trusted and tested tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris based in Uganda or our sister company Explore Rwanda Tours based in Rwanda.
- Long sleeved attire to protect your precious body against thorny plants and other dangerous plant species in the jungle
- Enough bottled drinking water to keep your body hydrated as you trek up and down following the chimpanzees in the forest
- Enough snacks to munch on while toiling in the forest as you trek Chimpanzees
- Water proof and light hiking boots
- A cap
- Sunglasses for eye protection from foreign particles and sun burns
- Garden gloves
- An insect repellent is necessary to keep away insects while in the forest
- A camera as you need not to miss out on any
- A pair of Binoculars for bird lovers as the forest harbors abundant of birdlife
- Remember to hire a porter in case you have heavy luggage
Other tourist activities in Nyungwe forest national park Rwanda,
Apart from Chimpanzee trekking, Nyungwe forest national park offers other thrilling tourist activities including Canopy walk one of the best in Africa, birding safaris, guided nature walks along different trails like; Umugote trail, Irebero trail, Congo – Nile divide trail, Kamiranzovu Trail, Isumo trail, Umoyove trail, Imbaraga trail, Igishigishi trail, Karamba trail, Uwinka trail, Bigugu Trail, Ngabwe trail, Rukuzi Trail, Irebero trail, Muzimu trail and many more. The park also offers cultural tours to interact with the local Rwandese.