Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park is the top chimpanzee trekking destination in Rwanda as the dense tropical rainforest inhabits a population of these primates. The parks’ rainforest is spectacularly beautiful teaming with a wide diversity of wildlife, bird species and 13 primate species including a small population of chimpanzees.
The chimpanzees in the forest have been habituated and therefore making chimpanzee trekking a top activity for the park. There are approximately 500 chimpanzees in the forest.
There are only two (2) habituated chimpanzee groups living in two different places, one in the main Nyungwe forest and the other in Cyamudongo which is a small patch of the forest located in the eastern part of Nyungwe National Park.
The small chimpanzee group having 30 chimps tracked in cyamudongo forest area of the park. The bigger group has about 60 chimpanzees that are already habituated.
The forest has fig trees with fruits that make the forest a good host to chimpanzees. Time spent on a chimpanzee trek depends on where the chimpanzees are spending their day.
However, usually the round trip trek may last 2 to 4 hours covering about 4.2km. During the trek, tourists get to know much more about chimpanzees and also see them at a close range as they display their great human like features.
To go for chimpanzee trekking in Cyamudongo forest, one requires a 4×4 vehicle to drive through a rough and dirt track. Approximately 11 km along the shagasha tea estate and village, a side track is taken to the park.
On arrival for the trek, you meet with park rangers and guides for briefing and a guide through the forest for the trek. The park guides communicate with the rangers to make sure trekkers are taken to where the chimps are making it a must see activity.
Some of the things to carry for a chimpanzee trekking safari in Nyungwe include binoculars, rain gear, hiking boots, water, snacks and a hiking stick. The hiking stick is provided at the reception to help you hike through the trails easily.
Best time of the year for chimpanzee trekking is in the months of June, July and August. Chimpanzee trekking starts early in the morning and therefore it means waking up early as much as 4:30 am. A maximum of 1 hour is what a group of tourists can spend in the presence of the chimps.
Requirements to trek Chimpanzees in Nyungwe
- Each tourist must have a chimpanzee trekking permit especially booked prior the trek.
- Any person intending to trek chimpanzees in the park must be 16 years and above.
- For a great hiking experience in the tropical forest, wear hiking boots, thick pants, long sleeved shirts and also a rain jacket.
- Since you are going to trek and spend several hours in the forest, carry some drinking water