Chimpanzee tracking or Chimpanzee trekking Rwanda takes place in Nyungwe National Park. It is the largest montane forest in Africa covering and area of approximately 1600 to 2000 square kilometers.
The forest is home to a great deal of other primates including the baboons and troops of monkeys of different types. It is also a great bird watching destination in Rwanda.
Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe takes place at Cyamudongo which has about 30 members that roam the area and offer the best viewing opportunities.
There are about 500 Chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest but there are only two habituated groups and the rest roam wildly and are hard to find due to the thick and rugged terrain.
The distance from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National Park is approximately 218.2 kilometers and that takes between 5 and 6 hours of driving considering the 40 to 60 kilometers speed limit.
There are a number of other activities that can be done in Nyungwe including various hiking trails and the canopy walk.
Packing; for your trek, you will need good hiking shoes / boots, light pants, long sleeved shirt and a rain jacket or poncho.
It is also advisable to carry a water bottle as you will need to carry at least 2 liters of water for the trek.
Accommodation in Nyungwe Forest; there are literary few accommodation options for Nyungwe forest with the best ones being Nyungwe Forest Lodge (High end) and Nyungwe Top Hill View Hotel which caters for luxury and mid-range visitors.
For budget travelers, the two reasonable options are Gisakura guesthouse and Nyungwe Nziza Ecolodge. Others are just below par!
Chimpanzees possess close to 99% of the human DNA making them our closest living relatives and thus Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe can be considered a journey to self-discovery and worthwhile.
Chimpanzee tracking Nyungwe Forest from Kigali – Itinerary
Day 1: Kigali to Nyungwe Forest National Park
You will be picked up from your hotel in Kigali city and embark on the drive to Nyungwe National Park with a few stopovers along the route to stretch.
Continue with the journey and arrive Nyungwe in good time for lunch and relax for the evening as you enjoy the views. Dinner and overnight at Nyungwe Top Hill View or Nyungwe Forest Lodge.
Day 2: Chimpanzee Trek & Canopy Walk
Very early morning breakfast and transfer to the park offices for briefing and after enter into the tropical rain forest to search for the shy chimpanzees hopping on the tree branches and take unforgettable photos and videos.
The drive to Cyamudongo begins at 5:00am so you really have to get up early. The activity takes about 5 hours altogether and you are allowed maximum 1 hour with the Chimpanzees.
After the trek, you return to the hotel for lunch and in the evening, experience the canopy walk which offers clear view of plants, primates, birds, butterflies very close. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight as above.
Day 3: Nyungwe Forest-Departure
Have breakfast and thereafter embark the safari vehicle and transfer to Kigali with lunch en-route and a visit to some of the Rwanda genocide and cultural sites as you transfer back to Kigali. Drop-off at your hotel in Kigali or the airport for your onward flight.