Chimpanzee Tracking

Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National park, Rwanda.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National park, If you assumed Rwanda’s claim to fame was limited to its gorillas, you might be shocked to find that Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National park is also very well-liked there. This amazing journey takes place in Nyungwe National Park’s Cyamudongo woodland. The park is home to more than 500 chimpanzees, including two habituated groups: the Uwinka group, which has over 60 members, and the Cyamudongo group, which has 30 members. On the northern side of the park, close to Kibuye, there is also a freshly discovered group known as the Gisovu, though it is still becoming used to people.

While witnessing the world-famous mountain gorillas is certainly a highlight for many visitors to Rwanda, the country offers much more than just gorilla trekking. One of the most significant factors that inhibits many people from travelling to Rwanda is the high expense of the licences that are required to monitor gorillas. In many instances, the cost of the permits is higher than the cost of the airfare. So it’s also crucial to have an equally amazing experience for a fraction of the price by tracking the chimps instead.

Despite the fact that both groups are accustomed to visitors, individuals from Cyamudongo stand out more due to their smaller stature. Olive baboons, bush infants, silver and golden monkeys, as well as birds and butterflies, are among the other primates that may be found in the park.

Chimps and people share 99% of the same DNA, according to studies. They are our distant ancestors because, when observed, they resemble humans. They are also sociable, intelligent, and playful and communicate by making loud noises.

A thorough briefing focused on the chimps’ movements and other views of primates and birds preceded the chimp trekking activity at 5:30 a.m. at the park’s headquarters. It takes roughly 7 hours to locate them, followed by an additional hour to locate them. Following their footprints makes it easy to find the chimps.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National park

Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National park is very different from the experience of following mountain gorillas in a number of ways. Chimpanzees, in contrast to mountain gorillas, are continually moving around and moving at great speeds. They are also jumping from tree to tree while making noise. However, gorillas are typically observed in the forest clearings, where they are observed sitting and eating in a calm manner. Tracking experiences also vary greatly between the two; with gorillas, visitors are typically granted an hour to observe and photograph them, but with Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National park Rwanda, there is no such restriction; staying up with the primates is both the greatest challenge and the most important factor in deciding how much time visitors spend with them. Chimpanzees are the most well-known and popular primates found in Nyungwe forest.

Chimpanzee trekking in the Nyungwe forest begins at three reception centres: Uwinka, Kitabi, and Gisakura. These are the places where tourists meet park rangers. It is also expected that tourists will arrive at the reception centre as early as 4:30 in the morning. At five in the morning, you will drive to the beginning of the trek into the forest. As a result of the fact that the chimps nest each and every night, there are trackers who travel ahead of the trekking party in order to locate them and communicate with the ranger guides. In Nyungwe Forest National Park, visitors spend just an hour with chimpanzees, but they get a detailed look at how these primates live their lives, including the traits and habits that make them so similar to humans (they share 98.7 percent of our DNA). In addition to their ear-piercing screams, hoots, and booming buttress and tree bark hits, chimpanzees also communicate using these means. It’s a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable experience.

The habituated chimpanzee group in Nyungwe forest is rather large, with around 60 individuals. However, due to the vastness of the forest and terrain, there are very few chances of seeing these primates. In contrast, the group in Cyamudongo forest is much smaller, with about 30 chimpanzees. The small size of this group makes it easier to find these primates in any part of the forest.

There is a significant difference between the experience of gorilla trekking and that of chimpanzee trekking due to the fact that the chimpanzees are not only moving around in the tree canopies, but there may also be people rushing after them to catch up, and the sightings are more hurried and unpredictable.

Chimpanzee Tracking

It takes around four and a half hours to drive from Kigali to Cyamudongo, which is the beginning of the portion of Nyungwe Forest National Park where the chimpanzees are tracked. More than thirteen primate species, including five hundred chimpanzees, call this forest home. It is also the oldest montane forest in Africa. Additionally, as you make your way through the forest, you will be able to hear the whoops and cackles of L’Hoest monkeys as well as the black-faced vervet rabbits.

The chimpanzees’ lack of accustomed behaviour and inherent shyness make them difficult to spot; however, their heightened curiosity and enthusiasm towards humans make them an attraction to tourists.

The fact that chimpanzees and humans share 98% of the same DNA makes them fascinating to study, particularly when they act in ways that are commonly associated with humans. We found chimpanzee trekking to be more exciting and action-packed than gorilla trekking because of how quickly things move. The fact that there are less well-established pathways and denser woodlands to traverse, as well as the fact that one must discover them on their own, makes the experience even more interesting.

When compared to the price of the Rwanda gorilla trekking permits, the chimpanzee trekking permits cost $100, which is a lower amount. In Rwanda, chimpanzee tracking permits are provided to barely 8 individuals daily, but over 64 permits are issued for chimpanzee trekking. As a result, it is best to book these permits well in advance, and a year is plenty of time. Hiking with chimpanzees in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park and gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park are two possible holiday combos.

When it comes to the primate adventure, Rwanda is a more financially feasible option than mountain gorillas, and it is an option that will not let you down. Chimpanzees are a better option than mountain gorillas. Furthermore, there are numerous accounts about visitors visiting Rwanda encountering gorillas while travelling through the bush, as well as sightings at one of the hotels. Additionally, mountain gorillas are accustomed to people, so they feel more at ease in human company and may even visit resorts for food. There are no assurances that this will happen, but if you are lucky, it is extremely conceivable.

Facts about the chimps in nyungwe forest national park 

They mostly eat plants, such fruits and leaves, as well as insects and other little animals, like monkeys, and they break down food to fight illness.

They can build tools for eating and drinking, foraging for food, and cleaning themselves, demonstrating their intelligence and ingenuity.

Males dominate females and young ones in chimpanzee groups, which can range in size from 20 to 120 people. Subdivisions within the groups are determined by the size of the population.

They are obstinate, jumping from tree to tree and using their hands and legs to push off the ground while they can only move a short distance on their legs.

Male chimpanzees tend to weigh more than females and are larger, weighing between 32 and 60 kilos, while the young, weak ones weigh only 1-2 kilograms.

Their life expectancy in the wild is between 40 and 45 years, and in captivity, they can reach 60 years.

They experience baldness on their foreheads and grey hair on their backs as they age.

Female chimpanzees deliver their youth after a 5-month pregnancy and an 8-month gestation.

After living with their mothers for three years and five years, young chimpanzees leave them.

Permit costs and how to secure them.

The permits, which also include the entrance charge and guide fee, cost non-residents 90 USD and residents 60 USD. These can be obtained directly from the Rwanda Development Board or from any trustworthy tour operator. Although there are more permits available for chimpanzee trekking than for gorilla trekking, it is still best to secure yours as soon as you can to avoid any delays.

Best time for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda.

In Nyungwe Forest National Park, chimpanzee trekking is available all year long, but it is most effective from March through May and from October through November, which are the wet or low season months. This is due to the fact that the chimpanzees in the forest have access to an abundance of food during the wet seasons, which limits their movement and makes the walk simpler because it is easier to spot them.

Because chimp sightings are uncommon because they frequently travel far into the forest in quest of fruits, the peak months of June to September and December to February are less than optimal. For individuals interested in extracurricular activities like canopy tours and nature treks through wooded areas, these months are great.

How fit you should be to go for chimpanzee trekking 

Since the greatest time to go chimp trekking is during the rainy season, this activity requires a physically fit individual to make an adventurous trip far into the bush. This is a result of the chimpanzees’ continual mobility, which enables them to jump large lengths up trees and cover long distances on land. This can force you to sprint in order to get a peek of the chimpanzees hidden in the dense jungle. So, be prepared.

Accommodation options in Nyungwe forest national park 

The best lodging options are available in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest national park, so you can count on an opulent experience while on your walk. There are options depending on your price range, from luxury to moderate to economical. Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Gisakura Guest House, and Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel are a few of these.

Access to Nyungwe forest national park 

By safari vehicle, it takes two hours to reach Nyungwe Forest National Park from Kigali City. In addition, the trip from Kigali to Cyamudongo Forest takes four and a half hours.

Chimpanzee trekking is also possible in various areas of the Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda, Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, and Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania, in addition to Rwanda.

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