Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park; chimpanzee trekking is the second best activity that attracts big number of tourists in Rwanda after gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park. Chimpanzee trekking is an interesting activity that involves visitors moving on foot into the tropical rainforest in search of the chimpanzees and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Nyungwe forest national park is located in southwestern part of Rwanda and is best known for harboring chimpanzees, other primates like l’hoest monkeys, grey checked mangabey, blue monkeys, owl-faced monkeys, red tailed monkeys, animals like giant forest hogs, duikers, golden cats, variety of bird species among others. Apart from Nyungwe forest national park, chimpanzee trekking is also done in other destinations like Gishwati Mukura national park in Rwanda, Kibale forest national park, Budongo forest, Kyambura gorge and Kalinzu forest in Uganda.
Nyungwe forest national park is a home of over 500 chimpanzees and 60 chimpanzees are habituated and open for trekking daily. Chimpanzee trekking starts very early in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations to follow during trekking. After the briefing you will start trekking in the jungle which takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to view different wildlife species and once the chimpanzees are found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to learn about their behaviors, watch them feed, breastfeed, play in trees, groom young ones, take photos and record videos to show people back home.
Best time to go chimpanzee trekking
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February because during this period there is less rainfall in the park therefore chimpanzee trekking trails will be dry and passable which makes trekking easy compared to the rainy season when the trails are muddy and slippery which makes trekking difficult.
Cost of chimpanzee trekking permits
A chimpanzee trekking permit is a legal card that is issued to visitors above the age limit of 15 years allowing them to visit habituated chimpanzee families and spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Nyungwe forest national park costs 90 USD per person for foreign non residents, 60 USD per person for foreign residents, 10 USD per person for East African citizens and 5000 RWF for Rwandan nationals.
How to book chimpanzee trekking permits in Nyungwe forest national park
Chimpanzee trekking permits in Nyungwe forest national park can either be booked directly through Rwanda Development Board (RDB) a government body in charge of tourism in Rwanda by contacting the park headquarters via email or telephone calls. Chimpanzee trekking permits in Nyungwe forest national park can also be booked through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris where you will contact us with the date, month and year when you wish to visit the chimpanzees. After contacting us, we will check for permit availability and if there are permits available on your preferred dates. If there are permits available on your dates, you will be asked to make a deposit. Once we receive the money, we will purchase the permits on your behalf.
Booking chimpanzee trekking permits through a tour operator is the best option to use in that we will not only acquire chimpanzee trekking permits on your behalf but also plan for your entire chimpanzee trekking safari which involves transportation to the park, accommodation where you will stay during the safari, other activities to engage in after chimpanzee trekking and other interesting destinations to visit.
How to get there
Nyungwe forest national park is located in southwestern part of Rwanda and can be accessed by road transport means whereby travelers will drive from Kigali through Muhanga, Huye, Butare, Nyamagabe and then to the park headquarters which takes about 6 hours’ drive.
Nyungwe forest national park can also be accessed by air transport means where you will book charter helicopter flight with Akagera aviation from Kigali international airport to one and only Nyungwe house or book charter flights with RwandaAir from Kigali airport to Kamembe airport in Rusizi and then connect to the park headquarters by road which takes about one hour drive.
Where to stay
There are a number of accommodation facilities in Nyungwe forest national park ranging from budget, midrange and luxury where you can stay during your chimpanzee trekking safari including One and Only Nyungwe House, Gisakura Guest House, Nyungwe Nziza Eco-Lodge, Kitabi Eco Center, Nyungwe Top View Hotel Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Chimpanzee Lodge, Gisakura Family Hostel, Uwinka Campsite, Emeraude Kivu Resort, Keza Lodge, La Petite Colline Guest House, Kivu Marina Bay Hotel, Cleo Lake Kivu among others.
Other activities in Nyungwe forest national park
There are other interesting activities in Nyungwe forest national park that you can engage in after chimpanzee trekking including canopy walk, bird watching, guided nature walk/hiking, primate trekking, tropical waterfall, camping among others.
What to carry for your chimpanzee trekking safari
There are essential items that travelers should carry for the chimpanzee trekking safari in Nyungwe forest national park including long sleeved shirt and trouser, hiking shoes, garden gloves, waterproof rain jacket, insect repellent, warm sweater, energy snakes and drinking water, walking stick, camera and extra batteries, back pack among others.
Chimpanzee trekking is an exceptional activity that shouldn’t be missed during the safari in Rwanda. For more information about chimpanzee trekking, do not hesitate to contact us at Achieve Global Safaris or visit our website for various safari packages.