Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National park is specifically one of the most popular activities that is carried out in Rwanda in Cyamudongo a part of Nyungwe.
Nyungwe national park is a high altitude mountainous rainforest that is found in the southern part of Rwanda, and was conserved in the year of 2005. In that year the government of Rwanda declared Nyungwe as a national park, and now days, it is the largest protected mountain forest in Africa and this covers an area that is approximately about 1600 to 2000 square kilometers. This forest has a number of species in terms of nature and wildlife that can not be found in any other national park.
There is a big population of chimpanzees that are found in Nyungwe national park. The forest has approximately 500 chimpanzee individuals. Two troops have been habituated for chimpanzee trekking adventures in Nyungwe national park. One troop is at the Nyungwe main forest and while the second is found in Cyamudongo which is a small patch of the forest that is located in the eastern part of Nyungwe national park.
The all great journey of chimpanzees trekking starts from mainly three reception centers and some of these centers include Kitabi, Uwinka (the main center) and also Gisakura where all tourists can meet the park ranger guides. All tourists that are going in for this activity are expected to be at their specific centers as early as 4:30 am such that by 5:00 am we all drive to the starting point of the trek. There are chimpanzee trackers who go ahead of you to find the exact location of the chimpanzees in the forest.
Tourists spend only one hour with the chimpanzees and also get another opportunity of observing the chimpanzees very closely as they come closer to the nature in Nyungwe national park. You also get to know and discover, how the chimpanzees are going about their lives. You will also see the great human like features and still note the behaviors that do make them our closest relatives. Research shows that chimpanzees have got a round 99 % of the original DNA of human beings.
The habituated chimpanzee group in the main center of Nyungwe is big with about 60 members though it’s hard to see these chimpanzees because of the rugged terrain. The group that is at Cyamudongo has got a smaller number which is approximately about 30 chimpanzees and it offers the most successful sightings given the small size.
The cost of the chimpanzee trekking permit is USD 90 for mostly non residents and the foreign residents of Rwanda and also East Africa are supposed to pay only USD 60, in order to participate in this activity.
Some of the most important tips for one that is interested in going for the chimpanzee trekking activity includes:
- you must be of age 16 years and above,
- you should also bring hiking shoes or probably boots, pants, long sleeved shirts and also rain jackets,
- you must also Carry at least two liters of drinking water and some snacks.
When it comes to accommodation, Rwanda and Nyungwe forest national park offer some of the best facilities ranging from budget, midrange and luxury. Some of the accommodation facilities include; Gisakura Guest House, Nyungwe Top view hill hotel, Nyungwe forest lodge, Inzozi beach hotel and many more.
Bessides Rwanda , chimpanzee trekking can also be done in various parts of East Africa to mention Kibale forest nationa park, klainzu forest, Budongo forest , kyambura gorge all in Uganda and Gombe stream National park, Mahale mountains National park both in Tanzania. Should you want to engage in different chimpanzee trekking experiences dont hesitate to explore the mentioned destinations.