Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest is one of the top Rwanda Safari activities that quite a number of tourists book for when they visit Rwanda. This is one of the major and top activities carried out by different travelers on a Rwanda safari especially the tourists who love primates. In fact, Nyungwe forest national park is the best place for private viewing in Rwanda with 13 species of primates which include chimpanzees, monkeys and many more. Chimpanzee trekking has always been a driving activity for travelers on a safari to Rwanda alongside gorilla trekking. But since trekking chimpanzee is cheap, it always tops up the list.
Chimpanzee Trekking is such a fascinating adventure within Rwanda, a land of a thousand hills attracting several travelers from different dimensions of the planet to encounter our cousins in their natural habitat with a permit at a cost of $90 per person. Chimpanzee trekking permit in Nyungwe forest national park allows trekkers to spend one hour with the endangered chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National park is carried out in two destinations that is Nyungwe forest and Cyamudongo forest all situated in Nyungwe national park. However the trek is commenced from three starting points which include, Uwinka the major trailhead at the Nyungwe Park headquarter, Gisakura tea plantation and Kitabi all leading to the forest to trek chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park starts as early as 6:00 am with a briefing at the park headquarters and by 6:00 am the trekking safari commences whereby the armed rangers, the tour guides, and the trekkers hike via different trails in the forest in search of habituated chimpanzees in the jungle which lasts between two hours to six or even a full day depending on the location of the chimpanzees and the distance moved since these primates like roaming in the forest in search of food. During the chimpanzee trekking safari in Nyungwe forest national park, trekkers have an entire forest open for then to encounter other primates, mammals, birds, butterflies and different species of trees.
Requirements for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park
The requirements for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park are not different from any other destinations since chimpanzees in Nyungwe are similar to those in Uganda and any other part of East Africa thus the trekking requirements remain the same throughout and these include,
- A Chimpanzee trekking permit: chimpanzee trekking permit is the gate pass to trek the mighty chimpanzees in their habitat. “No permit no trekking” so try as much as possible to secure the permit in advance in order to be an imposition to take park in the breathtaking experience in Nyungwe. The chimpanzee permit can be obtained by applying online and then picking it at the office upon arrival at the park headquarters. This permit expires after 24 hours so in as one misses out the trek, there is no refund for that.
- A Packed lunch box: lunch box is always important for every traveler especially those on hiking and trekking activities. Alongside the packed lunch, trekkers are always encouraged to pack enough bottled drinking water and some snacks to boast the trek.
- Good hiking attire: since chimpanzee trekking requires real hiking up and down the forest through different trails, trekkers need to obtain basic hiking attire which constitutes good and waterproof hiking boots, long-sleeved attire, garden gloves, a cap, and sunglasses.
- A porter: hiring a porter for a chimpanzee trekking adventure in the Nyungwe forest is also considered as one of the requirements for chimpanzee trekking in the Nyungwe forest these porters assist the trekkers in carrying the backpack and also offer a helping hand where necessary information of a pull or push.
- A hiking stick: during the briefing at the park headquarters, trekkers are offered good hiking sticks for support against falling during the hike.
Chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations
And finally but not the least, try to follow all the chimpanzee trekking rules and regulations which include the following;
- No using flashlight camera while taking photographs as long as you are in an environment surrounded by chimpanzees as they are so sensitive and they might react.
- Never look straight to chimpanzee’s eyes
- Strictly eight people are allowed to trek a particular chimpanzee family and just one hour is allowed.
- The minimum chimpanzee trekking age in Nyungwe forest national park is 15 years since they consider a person above 15 years to be mature and understanding for safety purposes.
- Always keep a distance approximately 7m between you and the chimpanzees during the trek
- Do not litter the park, make noise or loiter in the park during the chimpanzee trekking
- Ensure to turn your face away from the chimpanzees in case you feel like coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading the disease to the chimpanzees. In fact, it is always advisable to wear nose masks in order to avoid spreading communicable diseases to the primates since they share 98% of human DNA
- Always follow the guidelines given by the park ranger to ensure maximum safety while on a chimpanzee trekking safari.
Accommodation facilities while on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Nyungwe forest National Park
There are different accommodation facilities in Nyungwe national park and others near the park all offering the best services to the travelers on a chimpanzee trekking safari to Rwanda. These accommodation facilities range from Budget, midrange, and luxury depending on the trekkers’ wish. Some of these accommodations include but not limited to Nyungwe top view hotel which is in close vicinity to the Nyungwe forest, Gisakura guest house situated in Gisakura tea estate. These two are the best accommodations for travelers on a chimpanzee trekking and canopy walk safaris in Nyungwe forest national park. Other accommodations include; Nyungwe forest lodge, Inzozi beach hotel among others
In Rwanda, Chimpanzee trekking is carried out only in Nyungwe forest national park a home to 13 primate species making it the best destination for primate viewing other than chimpanzee trekking alone. Other primate species sighted out during chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest include olive baboons among others. Lots of mammals are also seen during the trek, birds, and other wildlife species that thrive in Nyungwe forest national park.