Rwanda Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest – For many travellers in Rwanda, Gorilla trekking Rwanda is the main activity that has attracted many tourists in to the country, Rwanda is a bio diverse country with a lot more activities for visitors to engage in and do beyond the just gorilla trekking while on their Rwanda Safari. Rwanda Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park, has become one of the top activities that has attracted a number of visitors, visiting the park daily. Chimpanzee trekking, is the second-best activity done in Rwanda after the famous gorilla trekking, chimps are found in Nyungwe forest  national park in Rwanda, the park harbors number of chimpanzees some of which have been habituated for chimpanzee trekking activity. Chimpanzee trekking, involves the movement of trekkers in to the forest in search for the habituated chimpanzee families that have been opened for gorilla trekking, reason being that the habituated chimpanzees are used to the sight of humans and they will not run away in hiding when you meet them compared to those that are not under habituation. Nyungwe Forest National Park, found in the southwestern part of Rwanda, is one of Africa’s oldest and largest montane rainforest. The park is famous for chimpanzee trekking, but tourists visiting the park, will also have an opportunity to spot other wildlife species living in the forest including; bird species, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, primate species such as grey cheeked mangabey, black and white colobus monkeys, Vervet monkey, I’hoest monkey, silver monkey, golden monkey, Mammal species which include; duikers, the cats family-golden cats, African civet, side stripped jackal and different vegetation types among others.

 There are many aspects in which Rwanda chimpanzee trekking is distinct from the perception of mountain gorilla trekking, unlike the mountain gorillas, the chimps are constantly moving at high speed around the trees, leaping from tree to tree making noise. While the gorillas are usually found sitting, eating quietly with in the forest clearings. The other major difference between these two is the monitoring encounters and by this the gorillas, during gorilla trekking, the trekkers are usually allowed to watch and take pictures of them for one hour, but with the tracking of chimpanzees in Rwanda, there is no limited time given , keeping up with them is also the main challenge and the largest deciding factor of the amount of time spent with them. Of all the primates found in Nyungwe forest national park.

Rwanda Chimpanzee trekking experience

Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest is one of the most done activities by many visitors in the park. Chimpanzee trekking starts off from three reception centres, that’s Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura where by the tourists wake up are required to rise up early morning and drive to the park headquarters in preparation for the start of the activity. While heading for chimpanzee trekking, visitors will be advised to carry some packed lunch and enough drinking water, these will be offered at your lodge. These help in energy boosting during the trek in the forest.

When you arrive at the park headquarters, you will be met by the park rangers where you will be briefed about the does and the don’ts of chimpanzee trekking then after, drive to the starting point of the trek into the forest. Since the chimp’s nest at night, some of the park rangers go ahead of the trekking group to find them and communicate with the tour guides/ rangers the location of the chimpanzee they help in locating the chimpanzee families for the trekkers. when you have met the gorillas, The tourists will be allowed to spend only 1 hour with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest National park, and get to observe them so closely studying their behavior, going about their own lives and see the human like features and behavior that makes them the closest relatives of humans. The chimps also interact with each other, deafening screams, the loud hoots and booming hitting of the tree barks is such an amazing and unforgettable experience of the life time in the wild. The activity for about one hour to half hours of the day depending on the current location of the chimpanzee on that day, Note that they are wild animals and move a lot from one place to another in search for food, therefore, you will trek for some time before you locate the chimpanzee families but its worth it as you will view some animal species roaming about in the forest.

The habituated chimpanzees in the Nyungwe forest harbours around 60 members and due to the nature of the landscape and terrain it gives limited chances to see the chimps, while the chimpanzee community in the Cyamudongo forest that has a smaller number of about 30 chimps provides the most perfect location for chimpanzee trekking. The Nyungwe Forest National segment is part of Cyamudongo forest and takes about 4-and-a-half-hour drive from Kigali.

The cost of chimpanzee trekking permit in Nyungwe forest national park

For any travellers participating in chimpanzee trekking, will be required to present a valid chimp trekking permit as a gate pass in to the forest to trek the chimps. Therefore, any travelling planning or Having interest in visiting Rwanda and mainly Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest, will be required to purchase a permit on your preferred dates of chimp trekking in advance before they are sold out to avoid missing out on the activity. Chimpanzee trekking permits in Nyungwe forest, costs $ 90 per permit foreigners, $ 60 per permit for foreign residents, there over 64 permits per day that are issued in Rwanda for chimp trekking and only 8 people per day for every single chimpanzee family. Therefore, it’s advisable to book these permits well in advance before they are sold out. The permit allows you access and to spend one hour with the habituated chimpanzee in their natural habitat, park entrance fees and the services of the ranger guide who will be with you throughout the activity in the forest.

While choosing the chimpanzees instead of the mountain gorillas, selecting Rwanda for the primate experience is financially more feasible and it is a choice that will not disappoint. More so, there are a lot people visiting Rwanda and travelling in the forest sighting the gorillas hanging around the lodges. The mountain gorillas are so habituated and thus they are familiar with humans and they have been noticed several times visiting the nearby lodges in search for food droppings although not common, but they have been seen once in a while.

Chimpanzee trekking, best time of the year

Nyungwe forest national park, is open to travellers anytime of the year and the activities offered at the park, are open to tourists throughout the year. Although, the dry season is considered the best time of the year, when the ground is dry and less slippery which makes it easy to trek through the forest. But the wet/rainy season would be the best time of the year considering the nature of the chimpanzee, they are wild and move a lot, but the wet season, is ideal and best for chimpanzee trekking when there is plenty of food, fruits, vegetation. plants in which chimpanzee feeds on helps in reducing their movement. Which makes it easy to the tourists to locate them in the shortest time possible. Bird watching in Nyungwe forest, is also at its peak during the wet season when there is a lot of migratory birds noticed in the forest. The wet season starts in the month of march to May, through November these months are best for chimpanzee trekking in the forest. The dry season, is from the month of June, July, September to December and February where by its recorded to receive little showers or no rainfall at all. During these times, the chimpanzees move a lot in the forest in search for food, hence making it difficult to locate the chimpanzees. Never the less, there is still a great chance that you will meet the chimpanzees. The park also offers other activities besides chimpanzee trekking, like Canopy walk and Nature walks, which are best done during the dry season when the ground is dry and less slippery.

Necessary Essential’s required for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park

  • Tourists taking part in chimpanzee trekking, will be required to pack the following essentials for their chimpanzee trekking safari, you will be required to pack these but pack light.
  • The first and the most essential equipment you need to have secured is the chimpanzee trekking permit which you will need to have booked early in advance. Since it’s the essential document required for you to participate in chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park.
  • Hiking boots, are essential mostly during the rainy season, it helps in hiking through steep slopes and muddy and slippery ground to keep your feet dry and free from any cuts that will harm your feet.
  • Long sleeved shirts/ blouse and the long pair of trousers, to protect your arms and legs from cuts in the forest since the forest is thick and bares thorny trees that may cut you , the forest also harbors insect that may bite you and cause infections, therefore, you will required to wear long sleeved shirts and blouse during the chimpanzee trek.
  • Garden gloves, will protect your hands in case you slide, you will need to hold on to something for support. You may touch thorny trees and also, some plants when touched may be infectious and inch so wearing the gloves, will prevent you from ant harm.
  • Long and thick pair of socks, you will tuck the trouser inside to prevent the insects/ ants that may enter through the trouser and bite you causing diseases.
  • Water proof jacket and warm sweater to prevent you from getting wet in case of the rain, and also to keep you warm. The weather in the tropical forest is unpredictable since you might experience rain at any time during the chimpanzee trekking.
  • Insect repellent, will protect you from the insect bites in the jungle like mosquitoes, Tsetse flies among others.
  • Energy giving snacks are essential, it helps to keep your feet at all times in case the hike gets difficult, it helps in energy boosting. During the chimp trekking, the trek might take closely 2 hours to half hours of the day depending on the location of the chimpanzee.
  • Walking stick, this will be offered at your lodge, the walking stick, helps in support while trekking most specially during the wet season when the ground is dry and slippery.
  • Camera, is also of great value for visitors going in safari, it helps in taking photos for your gallery and recording videos used for memories during your safari in Africa.
  • The back pack, is a must as it helps you carry all the above equipment required for chimpanzee trekking. It should be water proof in order to protect the delicate equipment like the cameras, batteries, others items like energy giving snacks, insect repellent among others.
  • Lastly and the most important thing is to always remember to take porter with you in to the forest, they help in carrying and protecting your bags while you are with the chimpanzee. And in case the trek gets tougher, they also help to give you a push or pull during the trek in the forest. The porters are available at an extra cost.
  • For the great and exciting chimpanzee trekking safari, contact adventure in the wild safaris, we will be glad to arrange this safari for you with unforgettable experience during your safari tour in Nyungwe forest national park.

Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest / Rwanda Chimpanzee Trekking