Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking in rwanda
Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda have become top selling tour packages with most visitors opting to combine both activities in their tour packages. With this, one is able to maximize his/her visit in Rwanda to the fullest, as well as have the best primate experience ever!
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is offered by Volcanoes National Park while chimpanzee trekking activities are offered by Nyungwe National Park. These are two different activities offered by two distinct national parks, but are both interesting, adventurous and thrilling. Visitors planning to carry out these two activities during their trip to Rwanda, can incorporate both activities into your travel itinerary in the following ways;
Your journey will begin from Kigali city which is the capital city of Rwanda. Your driver/guide from Explore Rwanda Tour will pick you up from your hotel in Kigali or at Kigali International Airport depending on your arrival time. After getting acquainted with your guide, you will proceed with your drive to Volcanoes National Park located in the northeastern part of Rwanda, in Ruhengeri district. The drive from Kigali to the national park will take you approximately 2 hours.
Volcanoes National Park, also known as Parc National des Volcans, is one of the four national parks that Rwanda proudly boosts of. The national park was first established in 1925 and is one of the oldest protected areas on the African continent. It spans over a radius of 160 square kilometers, and is home to the endangered species of mountain gorillas.
The park offers visitors gorilla trekking at a fee of USD 1500 dollars per person. Your driver will drop you at the park’s headquarters in Kinigi at 7am in the morning. Once at the park, visitors are greeted/ welcomed by the head ranger at the park and proceed to sign into the visitors register.
Visitors are then briefed about the national park and given guidelines to follow before and while trekking gorillas. It is always important that you follow the rules and regulations when doing gorilla trekking in the park.
Gorilla trekking activities in Volcanoes National Park happen in groups consisting of a maximum of 8 members per group. You will be placed into trekking groups depending on which gorilla group you will be tracking. Each group is accompanied by an experienced park guide and ranger to ensure the safety of both you the tourist and the gorillas as well.
Gorilla Trekking involves hiking rough terrains and dense vegetation hence the activity calls for tourists to be physically fit, healthy and patient. However, there are provisions for those tourists who are physically disabled to trek gorillas as porters are availed to carry them on stretchers but this comes at an additional fee.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park involves tourists tracking gorillas for about 1- 8 hours depending on how easily the gorillas are located. Once you have located a gorilla group, you will be given exactly one hour to spend with gorillas, so make sure your camera is set and ready to capture lots of memorable moments with these majestic apes. After trekking gorillas in the park, you can opt to either do the Iby’ Iwacu community visit or a hike to the Musanze caves.
As far accommodation in the park is concerned, there are plenty of accommodation facilities that you can choose from, and these range from budget to mid-range and luxury. Some of the lodges that we usually recommend our clients to include; Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain gorilla view, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi guesthouse and Gorilla Volcanoes Lodge.
Visitors can then retire to your lodge and travel to Nyungwe National Park the next day. The drive from Volcanoes national park to Nyungwe Forest national park is quite long, taking about 5½ hours and covering a distance of approximately 258 kilometers.
Nyungwe national park is strategically situated in the southwestern part of Rwanda. The national park is part of Nyungwe forest and covers an area of about 1020 square kilometers. The park is elevated at an altitude between 1600- 2950 meters above sea level.
The national park is home to over 300 bird species and 75 mammal species inclusive of 13 primate species. A major highlight of any visit to Nyungwe national park are habituated chimpanzees that live within the park’s forest. The park shelters 25% of all primate species on the African continent, and some of these species include; L’Hoest monkey, Angola colobus monkey, Grey cheeked Mangabey, the Silver monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, vervet monkey, Olive Baboon and the Red tailed monkey to mention but a few.
Upon your arrival at Nyungwe national park, you can opt to do the canopy walk, a guided nature walk, hike to Isumo waterfalls or bird watching depending on your interest. Since there is no accommodation within the park itself, visitors can still check into any of the nearby lodges like Nyungwe forest lodge, Gisakura guesthouse and One & Only Nyungwe house.
Chimpanzee trekking activities in Nyungwe national park are conducted from three major points which are Uwinka, Kitabi and Gisakura. Visitors also have an option of doing chimpanzee trekking from Cyamudongo forest which is regarded as the best place for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe takes places in a group of 8 members only. Visitors are advised to arrive at the park by 5am for registration and a briefing from the head guide at the park. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Rwanda costs USD 90 dollars per person.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park takes between 2-6 hours depending on how far into the forest the chimpanzees have moved as they search for food. Once the group of chimpanzees has been located, visitors are only given an hour to spend with the chimps.
After your chimpanzee trekking activity, you can opt to pay a visit to the nearby Gisakura tea estate and enjoy a tour the vast tea plantations and learn more about how the tea is grown, harvested, processed and packaged for local consumption and exportation. The best thing about this tour is that visitors get a chance to taste Rwanda tea.
Visitors can always include more activities into their travel itineraries like a game drive and boat cruise in Akagera national park or rather opt for a tour of Kigali city where you will get to visit places like; the national museum, Kigali genocide memorial center, Caplaki craft village and Kimironko market among others.
Rwanda is such a beautiful country with a lot to see and explore during your visit. The country’s dazzling beauty will always leave many visitors mesmerized and yeaning to come back to the ‘Land of a thousand hills.’