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Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park

Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe National Park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is tucked along Rwanda’s border with Burundi, located in the southwestern part of the country, the rain-forest covers over 1020 hectares of land with 13 primate species, 300 birds, and several plants and tree species. The biodiverse environment attracts visitors to the conservation areas and one of the top popular activities in Nyungwe is Chimpanzee tracking. The unwinding clear roads give ease accessibility and views of the lovely forest at large, it’s placed at a high altitude among Africa’s largest protected areas. approximately 500 individuals of chimpanzees can be found in the Nyungwe. The national park is said to be a trail to the origin of one of the world’s longest rivers Nile.

Chimpanzee is the closest species to mankind sharing up to 98% of the human DNA, they are known for their sound noise and social character, they are herbivorous feeding on the plant, tree leaves, edible branches, they are intelligent sometimes sighted collecting insects using sticks. There are two troops of chimpanzees in the Nyungwe forest habituated for Chimpanzee tracking one of the groups is in Cyamudongo and the other in Nyungwe, the tracking starts from any of the visitor centers including the Kitabi, Uwinka, and Gisakura, all visitors meet ranger guides for a briefing before the day’s activity sparks off, an hour is allowed to spend with the chimpanzee while enjoying the primates don’t forget about the rules given to you. The habituated group is about 60 members led by a male Alpha.

The trekking time of chimpanzees in the forest is quite tricky as we have to wake up early morning like by 4:30 am to have enough time to drive up to the tracking points in the forest it takes 2-3 hours doing the activity after which you return to meet the guide car drives are conducted in 4*4-wheel car drives because of the road condition to the Uwinka visitor center.

Besides tracking chimpanzees in the national park, there are other activities like the canopy walk in Nyungwe forest national park, enjoy the amazing walk along the 70m high bridge raised above trees, this presents a chance to view wildlife mostly primates and birds including trees and plant species of the national park.  Birding in the forest is a haven of birds hosting over 200 species, the canopy is a good spot for birds combined with other well-distributed trails, it is the best place to see birds in Rwanda.

Chimpanzees can be tracked throughout the year but best during the drier months or Rwanda, it is important to carry rain jackets, mosquito repellants, hiking boots, waterproof covers for Phones, and cameras, it is rain forest and the rainfall doesn’t determine when to fall it rains anytime.

Nyungwe Forest National Park can be accessed by road from Kigali driving through the scenic mountainous background of Rwanda, you will enjoy visiting several en-route sites like the Nyanza kings’ palace witnessing the old structural architectural design of the Gikongoro genocide memorial. It takes approximately 6 hours drive to arrive at the destination from Kigali, charter flights can be organized to the national park from Kigali international airport to Kamebe national airport.

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