Kibale National Park Vs Nyungwe National Park; Kibale Forest National Park Vs Nyungwe National Park –Kibale is found in the western region of Uganda and Nyungwe is found in the southwestern Rwanda region which borders Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These two safari destinations are the top chimpanzee tracking /trekking destination in Africa thus marking the best primate experience anywhere in the world. More so, the two destinations are close to the gorilla trekking destinations in both countries thus making it easy for those travelers who prefer to do chimp tracking and gorilla trekking on the same trip.
Chimpanzee trekking is a memorable adventure that connects you to our natural history and leaves you forever bonded with human’s closest relatives. This is one of the magical activities which allows us to have eye contact with a wild chimpanzee in the middle of an old jungle and see the similarity they share with us 98%DNA.
Guided chimp trekking adventures daily occur in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest and Uganda’s Kibale Forest bringing you a few feet close to these beautiful wild primates.
However, Chimpanzee tracking involves some physical expenses and can take about 30 to 5 hours depending on their movements in their natural habitat. The activity drains your breath and the wild bands rarely stay in one place unless they have moved to look for food. Though the experience requires some simple exercises before you head down here.
Apart from that, there are a few more things you should know to compare your choice between trekking in Nyungwe with Kibale.
Chimp Trekking in Nyungwe Forest; Pros & Cons
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest is one of the two main key attractions in Rwanda combined with gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park,250 kilometers north of Nyungwe. This park sits on Rwanda’s southern border on a rugged Rift Valley landscape that is a significant freshwater source to Rwanda. The two massive rivers; were the Congo and Nile Rivers.
Nyungwe National Park is home to endangered chimpanzees and 13 other primates,75 mammal species, over 300 bird species, and forest hiking trails that will catch your attention.
In addition to chimpanzee trekking, nature hikes are the second attraction in Nyungwe forest, especially for the forest canopy walk. More so, after the gorgeous chimpanzee trekking experience, visitors can go for a canopy walk which is 70 meters high above the canopy for an exhilarating experience of the rainforest jungle.
The park has got a list of impressive activities which you can add to your chimpanzee trekking experience. You could spend a week in Nyungwe and be amazed the whole time on the trip.
Chimpanzee trekking permits in Nyungwe cost USD 150 per person per day.
Animals in Kibale National Park include; Common chimpanzees, black and white colobus, red colobus, baboons, L’hoests, red-tailed, vervet and blue monkeys, and the Uganda mangabey among others.
Animal species in Nyungwe National Park include; duikers, golden cats, Bush pigs, Congo clawless, Klipspringer, impalas, Bushbucks, Buffaloes, Elephants, Gant forest hog, Blotched serval, Carnival genet, Mongoose, Otter, Serval, Felis, Black-fronted duiker, western tree hyrax among others.
Nyungwe National Park is a 226-kilometer and 5-hour drive from Kigali City or you can fly there.
However, Nyungwe Forest’s trails require body fitness to navigate compared to Kibale because of the rugged steep terrain, whose tracking trails often become muddy and slippery after rain.
Another challenge to Nyungwe is the lack of a variety of tourist accommodation choices close to the visitor center. Lack of lodging may lead to lodging far away from the chimpanzee trekking starting point. More than that, Nyungwe makes few concessions to independent tourism or budget visitors.
Lastly, seeing chimpanzees in Nyungwe is a very lower sighting percentage compared to Kibale. This is because Kibale Forest is home to more than 2,000 individuals so the percentage of seeing them is high.
Chimp Trekking in Kibale Forest; Pros & Cons
Kibale Forest has the highest concentration of chimpanzee species.
Chimpanzee trekking is much guaranteed with every visit thus making Kibale Forest more outstanding choice to experience in life, compared to Nyungwe Forest. Additionally, Kibale offers a full-day habituation experience where visitors get to spend the whole day with the chimps. Yet, Nyungwe offers only a half-day experience.
The park has a wide range of lodges within a trekking distance that offer both budget and high-cost comfortable lodges for all kinds of visitors. Chimp trekking in Kibale starts at 7:30 am which is a reasonable time to make it to the visitor’s center for the briefing before the experience.
Kibale –Chimpanzee trekking permits cost USD200 per person per day and chimpanzee habituation experience costs USD250 per person per day. Thus making it an incredible activity.
Choosing to combine chimp trekking in Kibale with gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a common experience done on most Uganda Safaris Tour Package. Although Kibale is a long distance drive from Bwindi and the roads are not as smooth as Rwanda’s destination.
Best time to go for Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Kibale and Nyungwe;
The best time to plan a chimp trekking safari in either Nyungwe or Kibale is during the annual dry season of June to September and December to February. During the dry season, it makes trekking trails easy for a better experience than when it had rained.
However, the rainy season occurs from March to May and November. During the rainy seasonal months, it makes it easier to allocate the chimps because trees are bearing fruits that keep the chimps in their natural habitat. Although, the rain can be disrupted due to disappointments and difficulty in trekking due to slippery and muddy trekking trails.
Kibale Forest National Park is located in the western Uganda region covering an area of about 800 square kilometers and takes 5 to 6-hour drives from Kampala or Entebbe to access the main destination. The park is the most popular for its population of chimpanzees and ranks as the best place to track wild chimpanzees on earth. Chimpanzee trekking is the main highlight for visitors to this park.
Animals in Kibale National Park include; Common chimpanzee, black and white colobus, red colobus, baboon, L’hoest’s, red-tailed, vervet, a blue monkey, and the Uganda mangabey among others.
Lastly, for travelers wishing to do chimpanzee trekking, we recommend you to book your permits in advance if you’re to travel during the dry season. More so about accommodation, during the dry season, accommodations become scarce. Booking early ensures you secure your lodging for the Chimpanzee Trekking Tours.