Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda is a popular activity conducted in Nyungwe Forest National Park. The park is home to over 500 chimpanzees, and two groups have been habituated for trekking. The trekking experience takes place in the early morning, allowing visitors to witness the chimps as they begin their day, feeding and grooming one another. There are two trekking groups: one located at Uwinka, consisting of approximately 60 individuals, with tracking starting at 5:30 am, and the other at Cyamudongo, where tracking begins at 5:00 am from the Gisakura office.
Similar to gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking begins with a briefing from ranger guides. During the briefing, they provide information about the forest where the chimps reside, guidelines on how to behave while in the forest, expected trekking distances, and other potential sightings visitors may encounter.
Nyungwe Forest is a vast tropical forest boasting Rwanda’s diverse biodiversity. With over 1,000 plant species, it offers a rich environment for nature enthusiasts. Birdwatchers will be delighted to find approximately 240 bird species within the forest. In addition to chimpanzee trekking and birding, visitors can expect to encounter other primates such as baboons, colobus monkeys, and blue monkeys.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park also houses a small group of chimpanzees, but they are not yet popular for trekking. Chimpanzee trekking in both parks is scheduled for the early morning to increase the chances of finding the chimps during their active period of feeding and grooming.
Chimpanzee Trekking Tips:
- The minimum age for chimp trekking is 15 years and above.
- It is recommended to wear waterproof hiking boots or shoes.
- Trousers and long-sleeved shirts are advisable to protect against plant stings and insects.
- Make use of insect repellent.
- Carry bottled water for drinking during the trek.