Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park
Positioned in the south western region of Rwanda, Nyungwe national park is among the top destinations in the Republic of Rwanda. The park receives a high population of visitors throughout the year making it the second popular park in the country after Volcanoes national park. Nyungwe national park covers an area of approximately 1,019 square kilometers making it one of the largest and oldest national parks in the African continent.
The park is mostly known for housing the endangered chimpanzee species thus making it popular and best for chimpanzee trekking experience. Besides the chimpanzees, Nyungwe national park is a home to other animal and bird species including the golden cats, duikers, African civet, serval cats, huge forest hogs, butterflies, amphibians and also reptile species. The park also hosts other primate species including the blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, golden monkeys, silver monkeys, olive baboons and many others.
Chimpanzee trekking experience
Nyungwe national park has a population of more than 500 chimpanzees where 90 of these are habituated and open for tourism purposes throughout the year. These habituated chimpanzees are allocated differently in the park for example Nyungwe forest has about 60 habituated chimpanzees and Cyamudongo forest has about 30 habituated chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee trekking experience in Nyungwe national park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters. The park has about three sections where the experience takes place and among these include; Kitabi, Gisakura and Uwinka section. During the briefing experience, the trekkers are told about the dos and don’ts during the activity and they are divided into 8 groups of people where each group is assigned to park ranger guide who leads them to the forest for the activity.
After the briefing, the trekkers will be led to forests of the park so as they could allocate the chimpanzees. After finding the apes, the visitors will be allowed to spend about an hour with them and in this time, they are allowed to take some photos of the chimpanzees as they are doing certain activities including breast feeding, de nesting and many others. During chimpanzee trekking experience, spot other primate animals including the olive baboons, silver monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, grey checked mangabey and others. Also, you will encounter numerous bird species including the purple breasted sun bird, Rwenzori batis, and many others.
Cost of Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park
For one to take part in Chimpanzee trekking, he or she has to own a chimpanzee trekking permit. This is a legal document card that allows the visitors to take part in the chimpanzee trekking experience. This card is issued out by Rwanda Development Board which is responsible for tourism activities in Rwanda. Chimpanzee trekking permit costs 90 USD per person for foreign nonresidents and then 60 USD per person for foreign residents. The price of the chimpanzee trekking permits is inclusive of the park entry fees, park ranger guides and also the trekking experience.
Best time to go for Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park
Nyungwe national park can be visited any time throughout the year for chimpanzee trekking. However, the best time for the experience is during the dry season where there is no rain to inconvenience the trekking. The dry season is during the months of December to February and June to October. This is considered to be the best time since the trails are always dry, neither slippery nor muddy and thus making the movement of the travellers through the jungle easier.
However, due to the fact that Nyungwe national park is covered by tropical rainforests, it receives rainfall throughout the year thus advising the travelers to carry waterproof rain jackets that would help in case of weather changes.