Primate Safaris in Rwanda
Primate Safaris in Rwanda are the top attractions in the country as travelers get a chance to visit the gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys. Rwanda the land of a thousand hills is not only known for its hills but for its numerous species of primates that live naturally in their habitats across the country in two national parks that is Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park. So it’s not surprising when travellers plan to take safaris in Rwanda, they never want to miss any of the primate safaris in the country. So below are the top three primate safaris you shouldn’t miss on your visit to Rwanda.
Gorilla trekking: Rwanda is popular for being home to the endangered mountain gorillas; the country is among the three countries in the world that have the endangered primates living in their natural habitats. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes National park, 2 to 3 hours north of Kigali city. The park that is part of the Virunga massif is home to 10 habituated mountain gorilla families that can be trekked all year round.
Mountain gorilla trekking allows you to spend an hour with the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. In Rwanda mountain gorilla trekking is done after purchasing a mountain gorilla trekking permit 3 or more months in advance at a fee of 1500USD. Permits are purchased directly from Rwanda Development Board or through a tour operator. Gorilla trekking experiences start at 7:00 am with a briefing at the park offices and the entire experience takes about 4 to 5 hours in the forest with one hour spent with the mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorilla trekkers are normally required to be fit, but also first-time trekkers can able to take the trails, mountain gorilla trekking attires normally include hiking boots, long sleeved clothes, and gloves among other things. You will need trekking sticks, water, and a snack for refreshment on your trekking experience. If you feel you’re not able to carry your entire luggage on the trek, you can also hire a potter at the start of the trek.
Things to keep in mind as you go for your gorilla trekking experience; keep a 7-meter distance between you and the gorillas don’t trek if you are not well – this is for your own sake and the mountain gorillas’ conservation, don’t use flash photography among other things. Most of these things are normally communicated to you at the park offices just before the trek.
Mountain gorillas are normally at high altitudes, on your trek you are advised to keep a pace that comfortable for you, to help you minimize the difficulties on your trek.
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzees are found in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park south west of the country; Nyungwe National Park is known for the great nyungwe forest and the forest is said to be among the oldest rain forests in Africa. The forest harbors about 13 primates in over 300 tree species that make up this evergreen forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National park gives you an opportunity to see the endangered chimpanzees and trekking activities are done all year round; chimpanzee trekking permits cost 90USD and can be purchased at the park offices.
Chimpanzee trekking experiences in Nyungwe begin at 5:00 am with a briefing session at the park offices and after the briefing, you will either head to Cyamudongo or Uwinka for your chimpanzee trekking experience. For the mountain gorilla trekking, you will be with the chimpanzees for one hour and spend between 3 to 5 hours on the trek.
Other primates in the forest are L’Hoest’s monkey, owl-faced monkey, Angola colobus, olive baboon, etc. all these you can sight on your trek in the forest.
Things to keep in mind as you go for your chimpanzee trekking experience, similar to the gorillas keep a 7meter distance between you and the chimpanzees, don’t trek if you are not well, don’t use flash photography, etc. all these things and more are communicated to you before the trek.
Chimpanzee trekking attires are similar to mountain gorilla trekking attires and they are hiking boots, long sleeved clothes, and gloves among other things. Don’t forget to carry water and a snack for refreshment on your trekking experience.
Golden monkey trekking: Golden monkey trekking like mountain gorilla trekking happens in Volcanoes national park and it gives you an opportunity to see golden monkeys in their natural habitat. This experience like mountain gorilla trekking starts at 7:00 am with a briefing session at the park and then you go to the forest, to see the golden monkeys. The entire experience takes up to 4 or 5 hours with one hour spent interacting with the golden monkeys. Volcanoes National Park currently has two habituated golden monkey families that can be trekked all year. Golden monkey permits are purchased in advance and they cost 100USD.
The guidelines for golden monkey trekking and attires are the same as the ones for mountain gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking.
All these primate safaris can be organized for you by a tour operator and can be done in a 4 to 5 days trip.