Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee Tracking Adventure in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park is an exciting adventure that starts early in the morning with a briefing at 5:00 am. The briefing, led by experienced guides, takes place at Kitabi, Gisakura, or Uwinka. During this session, trekkers are informed about the rules and regulations for tracking chimpanzees. Meanwhile, trackers are sent out to locate the last known whereabouts of the chimpanzee families.

The trek has no fixed time limit and can range from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the location of the habituated families. Once the chimpanzees are found, visitors get to spend an hour observing their natural behaviors, including playing, feeding their young ones, mating, and more. While chimpanzees may get curious and approach, it’s essential not to touch them. Despite the strenuous exercise, the encounter with these fascinating creatures makes the trek worthwhile. After the hour with the chimpanzees, trekkers return to the park headquarters, where they can also spot other primates.

Chimpanzee Trekking Permits in Rwanda

To participate in chimpanzee trekking, a permit issued by the Rwanda Development Board is required. The permit, serving as a ticket, is the government’s property and must be presented upon arrival. The cost of the permit varies based on residency status:

East African Residents: $10

Foreign Residents (with proof like a work permit): $60

Foreign Non-Residents: $90

Rwanda Nationals: RWF 5000

The permit includes access to habituated chimpanzees, park entry fees, armed rangers for security, and an hour with the chimps. However, it does not cover transport, accommodation, or personal purchases. The limited number of permits (20 per day) was introduced to ensure safety and security during the trek.

How Many Chimpanzee Trekking Permits Are Available Daily?

Nyungwe National Park offers only 20 permits per day, considering there are two habituated chimpanzee families. This limited availability emphasizes the importance of purchasing permits in advance, preferably three months before the planned trek, to secure a spot.

Refund Policy for Chimpanzee Trekking Permits in Rwanda

Spotting chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park is not guaranteed, as the habituated groups may move far away. In cases where trekkers fail to see the chimpanzees, a 75% refund on the permit fee is provided.

Regulations for Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzees, even after habituation, remain wild creatures, and trekkers must follow strict rules to ensure the safety of both the animals and themselves. The regulations include:

Prohibition of flash photography

Adherence to the lead guide’s instructions

A maximum of one hour spent with the chimpanzees

Avoiding cornering the chimpanzees for photos

Minimum age limit of 15 years for trekkers

No eating or drinking during the trek

Maintaining a distance of at least 8 meters from the chimpanzees

Keeping the national park clean and disposing of rubbish appropriately

Avoiding physical contact with the chimpanzees

Refraining from trekking if feeling unwell

Turning away when coughing or sneezing

What to Wear During Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe

Proper attire is crucial for a comfortable chimpanzee tracking experience. Recommended clothing includes:

Long-sleeved shirts for protection against bugs and unpredictable weather

Lightweight trousers or long pants (avoid jeans during the rainy season)

Strong, ankle-length hiking boots

Garden gloves for protection against twigs and branches

Long, heavy socks to prevent insect bites

Warm sweater and waterproof poncho for changing weather conditions

Essentials to Bring to Nyungwe Forest National Park

For a successful chimpanzee trek, visitors should pack the following essentials:

Camera with extra storage, tripod, extra batteries, different lenses, and a waterproof bag

Waterproof day backpack for carrying necessities

Refillable water bottle

First aid kit with prescribed medicine

Sunscreen and insect repellent

Adjustable gaiters

Snacks and energy bars

Booking a Chimpanzee Trek Safari in Nyungwe National Park

Booking a chimpanzee trek in Nyungwe National Park involves purchasing a permit from the Rwanda Development Board or a reputable tour operator. Tourists should provide their information, including name, date of birth, and a copy of their passport. Payment for the permit is required for confirmation, and a copy of the permit is sent upon receipt of payment. It is crucial to verify the authenticity of the tour operator before making any payments.

Other Chimpanzee Tracking Destinations in Rwanda

Chimpanzee trekking is not limited to Nyungwe National Park; it also takes place in Gishwati Mukura National Park. Formed by merging Gishwati and Mukura forests, this park is home to chimpanzees, along with other primates like blue monkeys, baboons, Vervet monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, and colobus monkeys.

Best Time to Visit Rwanda for a Chimp Trek Safari

The ideal time for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is from December to February and June to September, known as the peak season. The wet season (October to November and March to May) is suitable for those who don’t mind rain and offers excellent bird-watching opportunities.

For assistance in planning a Rwanda Chimp trek safari, tourists can contact safari consultants ready to help with the necessary arrangements.