Best time to go Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda – Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe National Park is open for chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda all year round, however, there is always the best time to go tracking. The best time is especially the most preferable time to choose chimpanzee trekking for better experiences like spotting the chimps. Generally, hiking and spotting other primates in Nyungwe forest is best during the dry season when the trails are drier and can offer easy hiking experiences. These are the months of June to September. However, the best time to go chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park is in the wet months from October to May.
This is because during the rainy season there is plenty of food in the forest for the chimps which limits their movements. In the dry season, chimps go deep into the forest which makes trekking more difficult and tiring.
- October to February are the excellent months for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park.
- June to September being the general best time to visit Rwanda, the park may be crowded with tourists. Good time for those who want to combine the trek with Rwanda gorilla tours in Volcanoes National Park.
- March, April, May, October and November are the rainy season months and the peak of rains.
About Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe forest stretch of montane rain forest is the largest in Africa which makes it home to several flora and fauna species. These include over 400 chimpanzees and 13 primate species.
For the purposes of chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe, two chimpanzee communities (groups) have been habituated (made familiar to human presence). These two groups live in both Nyungwe and cyamudongo forests, about 60 individuals and 30 chimpanzees respectively to each.
Nyungwe Chimpanzee trekking starts very early in the morning and you will be informed of your guide of what time you are required to wake up, this could be as early as 5:00am. The experience starts with briefing at one of the starting points which are Uwinka, Gisakura or Kitabi.
Chimps move so much through the forest and therefore to reach them, trekkers have to go out early before they leave their sleeping nests and head out for the day. It is always easy for the tourists to find the chimps because a group of trackers go earlier to the forest and identify where the chimps are then communicate to the guides.
Chimpanzee trekking is a completely amazing experience unique from gorilla trekking in that chimpanzees are much more playful, stubborn, noisy and very mobile. This is basically because they are lighter than the gorillas and that’s why spend most of their time leaping on trees.
After following or trekking the chimpanzees for some time, they may settle down and allow you to observe them more closely and take photos. Take this time to observe and learn more about the chimpanzee behavior, how they groom each other, mate, play, socialize, start fights and breast feed.
Individuals may require to be physically fit to trek chimpanzees since they move very fast both on the ground and on the trees. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest may take between 2 to 6 hours or longer.
Important Tips on Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe
- The minimum age for chimpanzee trekking is 15 years
- A permit should be purchased before if an individual wishes to have the chimpanzee trekking experience in Nyungwe.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers to protect your skin from bites and scratches in the forest.
- It is recommended to carry a jacket or rain coat since it can easily rain during the trek.
- Wear water proof boots or hiking shoes to protect your feet from bruises.
- Carry insect repellent
Best time to go chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park is from October to May though the chimps can also be visited any time of the year. Being the great country of a thousand hills, take Rwanda gorilla safaris to Volcanoes National Park and have chance to trek the elusive mountain gorillas. For more primate tracking experiences, take Uganda gorilla safaris or Congo gorilla safaris or visit the chimpanzees. The experiences are much similar though with slight differences.