Visit mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, colobus, or golden monkeys? Rwanda offers you a remarkable primate safari with no difficulty. This small landlocked country is home to the highest number of primates, which together offer you a memorable primate trekking safari.
Primates are key tourist attractions in Rwanda attracting the highest number of travelers from all over the world. Primates especially chimpanzees and gorillas are close relatives to human beings whose human-like characters make them distinct creatures worth visiting. Any Rwanda safari without visiting these primates is undeniably incomplete. Also, some of these primates are highly endangered and hardly found elsewhere in the world. The best places to go for primate trekking in Rwanda are:
Volcanoes National park
Located in northwestern Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is Rwanda’s first stop center for primate trekking. The park is home to 10 habituated mountain gorillas hence the best stop center to visit and interact with the endangered mountain gorillas. Volcanoes are one of the four national parks that shelter mountain gorillas in the whole world.
Other gorilla parks include Virunga national park in Congo, Mgahinga and Bwindi forest national parks in Uganda. Also, Rwanda offers luxury gorilla tours due to her costly gorilla permits @ 1500 per permit compared to Uganda and Congo. Each gorilla family is visited by 8 people hence 80 gorilla permits issued every day. Besides gorillas, Volcanoes National park is home to the endangered golden monkeys. Have a close encounter with golden monkeys; enjoy their lively characters at as low as $100 per permit. Endeavor to hike to the graveyard of Dian Fossey, an American primatologist who lost her life to save mountain gorillas that were on the verge of extinction in the Virunga massif.
Other attractions to visit in Volcanoes National park include Bulera and Buhondo twin lakes and Musanze caves. If you are physically fit, enjoy hiking to the top of Mount Karisimbi or Bisoke whose slopes shelter endangered gorillas.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Home to the highest population of chimpanzees, Nyungwe forest is a must-visit on your Rwanda primate safari. Unlike gorillas, chimpanzees are lively and constantly move jumping across trees at high speeds while shouting at each other as a form of communication. Chimpanzees are a core attraction in the Nyungwe forest estimated to shelter over 500 individuals. Interestingly, chimpanzees are visited at $100 for a permit, which is far less compared to $1500 for mountain gorillas. Chimpanzee trekking in the Nyungwe forest is done in two areas, which are Cyamudongo forest and the main forest. Different chimpanzee communities have been habituated for trekking. Chimpanzee treks in Nyungwe start off from any of the three reception centers at Gisakura, Kitabi and Uwinka depending on where travelers spent a night. The loud screams, hoots, and cracks of tree branches alert travelers where chimpanzees are located. Besides chimpanzees,
Nyungwe forest offers travelers with exceptional canopy walk which gives you an aerial view of the forest and the Virunga volcanoes. Also, enjoy a forest walk to Kamiranzovu waterfall and other spots in the park. You will enjoy the sweet sounds of birds, which sing endlessly up in the trees making your safari more fun and enjoyable.
Gishwati Mukura national park
This is Rwanda’s newly opened national park located in western Rwanda shared by Ngororero and Rutsiro districts. The forest is home to numerous white colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, and some wild chimpanzees.