Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park
In 2005, the southern region of Rwanda’s Nyungwe national park—a high altitude highland rainforest—was designated a protected area. That year, Nyungwe was designated as a national park by the Rwandan government. Today, it is the largest mountain forest that has been protected in Africa, with an area of between 1600 to 2000 square kilometers. There are several types of fauna and natural features in this forest that are unique and cannot be found in other national parks.
Chimpanzees can be found in great numbers in Nyungwe National Park. There are about 500 chimpanzees in the woodland. In the Nyungwe National Park, two troops have been conditioned for chimpanzee trekking excursions. One troop may be found in the Nyungwe main forest, and the other can be found in Cyamudongo, a small area of the forest in the park’s eastern region.
Tourists only spend an hour with the chimpanzees, but they also have another chance to observe them up close when they get closer to the natural world in Nyungwe National Park. Additionally, you learn more about the chimpanzees’ daily activities. You will still see the traits that make them our closest cousins while also noticing their wonderful human-like qualities. According to research, chimps have almost 99% of the original human DNA.
The habituated chimpanzee population in Nyungwe’s main center is large, with roughly 60 members, yet the rough terrain makes it difficult to see these chimps. Given its smaller size, the group in Cyamudongo has a lower number of chimpanzees—roughly 30—and provides the most successful sightings.
Day 1: Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National Park
Day 2: Chimpanzee Trek & Canopy Walk
Before entering the tropical rain forest to search for the shy chimpanzees hopping on tree branches and take precious photographs and movies, breakfast is served at the crack of dawn. Next, a transport is taken to the park headquarters for a training.
Because the travel to Cyamudongo begins at 5:00am, it is essential to get up early. You only get to spend a maximum of an hour with the chimpanzees for the duration of the entire program, which is about five hours.
Day 3: Nyungwe Forest-Departure
Get in the safari vehicle and drive to Kigali after breakfast. Before heading back to Kigali, you can pause for lunch and tour a few of Rwanda’s cultural and genocide memorials. Drop-off at the airport or your accommodation in Kigali to be ready for your subsequent flight.