Mountain Gorillas are the most famous apes sought by many travellers on Africa Safaris. Being so, the surest and only way of seeing Mountain Gorillas is by undertaking a Gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda. As your planning your Rwanda safari tour, you ought to note that Mountain Gorillas can only be found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, travellers willing to extend their safari to Uganda on their Uganda safari, can trek these gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In Congo, mountain gorillas are found only found in the Virunga National Park.
Gorilla trekking has no specific definition; however, it is a safari activity that involves hiking/climbing through a tropical forest to spend a single hour with mountain gorillas. Hiking or climbing is known as so because Volcanoes National Park Rwanda raises to an altitude ranging from 2,500m to 4,500m above sea level. Gorilla trekking is done every single day as a total of 8 tourists visit a single gorilla family of the 10 gorilla families in the park. The activity starts at 8:00 am local time with a 30 minutes briefing from the park rangers who tell you of the gorilla trekking do’s and don’ts. After then you head into the jungle along with an armed park ranger and other trekkers. The trekking time is unpredictable and can last about 2-6 hours. A single hour is counted as soon as you get close to the gorillas. Remember to use your Rwanda gorilla trekking safari hour properly by using your camera right and observing the amazing gorilla interaction. After having a glimpse at the gorillas at play and chunk food, you then return to the gorilla trek start point where you receive a gorilla trekking certificate then be transferred to your next destination by your Rwanda safari guide.
However, it is not enough if you only choose a Rwanda gorilla tour on your safari Rwanda, chimpanzee trekking safaris Rwanda is a perfect supplement for a gorilla safari Rwanda. Some tourists get stuck on what activity to do after a gorilla trip in Rwanda, they often choose a Rwanda city tour, but before I would choose a Kigali city tour, I wouldn’t leave out trekking chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park; another amazing experience to encounter on your Africa safari.
Chimpanzee trekking safaris Rwanda
Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda happens in Nyungwe Forest National Park and its annexe Cyamudongo Forest, in southwestern Rwanda. Nyungwe Forest, Africa’s largest Afro-montane Forest is home to about 500 Chimpanzees and close to 100 that are habituated and used to Humans near them. The forest is the perfect supplement to a Gorilla Safari in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. There are two groups of habituated Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest, the larger one has about 60 chimpanzees while the smaller group of 30 is tracked in Cyamudongo Forest area of the Park.
The Rwanda chimpanzee trekking safari experience is different from the Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris as you will watch the chimps are running around in the tree canopies, and so there may be running after to catch up and sightings are a bit more irregular and rushed. Long before you see the Chimpanzees, you can hear their almost deafening screams, their hoots, and cackles. Unlike with the Mountain Gorillas who are quite calm as you visit them on your Rwanda gorilla safari, the chimpanzees are on the move both on the ground and in the Trees. An amazing sight for the Trekkers who come to visit on that day. You get one hour with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe, one hour that is quite memorable.
While you are in search of your Chimpanzee Groups you will most likely see other primates that are residents of the forest such as the large groups of Colobus Monkeys as well as Wild Orchids, and plants and trees that make up this vast Rainforest.
The chimp trekking activity in Nyungwe Forest National Park sets off from three reception centres; Kitabi, Uwinka (main) and Gisakura where tourists can meet the park ranger guides. The tourists are expected to be at the reception centre as early as 4.30am and at 5 am drive to the starting point of the trek into the forest. Because the chimps nest somewhere new every night, there are trackers who go ahead of the trekking group to find them and communicate with the ranger guides. Tourists spend only one hour with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park and get to observe them closely going about their lives and see the human-like features and behaviour that make them our closest relatives with 98.7% DNA. Every now and then the chimps communicate by way of deafening screams, loud pant hoots and thunderous hitting (slapping) of the tree barks and buttresses. It is such a hair-raising moment like no other, and quite memorable!
The cost of the permit for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda is USD 90 for foreign non-residents and USD 60 for foreign residents of Rwanda and East Africa (Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Burundi).
What to pack for your chimpanzee trekking safari Rwanda
We suggest that you dress for the occasion. Have a daypack with you, be sure to have plenty of wear with you like two litres of mineral water, wholesome snacks are also advised. Wear a good pair of hiking boots, long trousers, long-sleeved shirt, have a light rain jacket that you can put into your backpack, add a hat that will keep the sun out of your face.
Tips for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda
- You must be 16 years and above
- Average fitness is okay
- Bring hiking shoes or boots, pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a rain jacket
- Carry at least two litres of drinking water and some snacks
Rwanda gorilla safari packages
1 Day Rwanda gorilla safari
2 Days Rwanda gorilla trekking tour
3 Days Rwanda gorilla safari
4 Days Rwanda Gorilla & wildlife safari
5 Days Rwanda Gorilla & wildlife safari
6 Days Rwanda gorilla safari tour
8 Days Uganda Rwanda gorilla trekking safari
9 days Uganda Rwanda gorilla, chimps & wildlife safari