Rwanda Safari Featuring Primate Watching
Best of Africa primate safaris, if you have an interest in Africa’s primates this journey is for you. See the endangered Primates in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe National Park.
Primate Safari Experiences will give you a chance to participate in two premium wildlife activities in Rwanda; Golden monkey trekking and chimpanzee trekking which are considered to be some of the best to engage in while on a Rwanda Safari. Both hikes can be challenging depending on where the chimpanzee or monkeys nested the previous night. The Chimp trekking differs from Gorilla Trekking Rwanda because the sightings are a bit more sporadic and rushed, but worthwhile nonetheless as opposed to gorillas that stay for a while in one location.
The wildlife junkies have a strong connection with Rwanda and the primary reason for this is the stunning primates residing in the dense forest and volcanic mountain of the country. Though Rwanda is the iconic land for spotting Mountain Gorillas, there are a number of other primates also available who are equally entertaining during Primate Safaris Rwanda.
Primates in Rwanda
Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Chimp Trekking in Rwanda is in Nyungwe national park in the south of Rwanda. The two areas where chimps can be trekked in Nyungwe are Cyamudongo and Uwinka. Your guide will guide you on the location you are expected to trek from and you will be given a briefing before you can start the trek. Chimpanzee trekking begins early morning with visitors expected to arrive at the briefing point in Uwinka to start trekking at 5:00 am. You are allowed to stay 1 hour with the chimps after locating them with the help of your ranger guide.
Considered as the cousins of human sharing 98% of Human DNA Chimpanzees tracking is one of the adventurous activities throughout the year. Nyungwe Forest National Park is the prime spot for chimpanzee tracking.
Uniquely located on a ridge between the Nile and the Congo Rivers, the Nyungwe Forest National Park is incredibly rich in biodiversity and protects one of eastern Africa’s largest belts of montane rain forest.
It’s home not only to a habituated group of chimpanzees, but also to other primates including the Ruwenzori colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey, more than 1,050 plant species including 200 different species of orchid, 85 mammals, 310 bird species, and more. Another highlight in this park is the 200-metre long and 40-metre high suspended canopy walkway that offers a unique view of the forest.
Chimpanzee permits in Rwanda cost US$100. This amount includes park Ranger and entrance fees. The permit can be acquired either directly from the Rwanda Development Board (Tourism Department) or through your tour operator. The minimum age for tacking chimpanzees in Rwanda is 13 years. Trackers need to go prepared to deal with the dense montane forest.
Golden Monkeys in Virunga Mountains
Golden monkeys are known to have unique characters and are a rare species that are endangered at the moment and they are currently found in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. They are easily recognized due to the yellow patches that can be seen all over their bodies. The Golden monkeys are also known as ‘the Old world monkey’ and the only way to separate these primates from others is by their noses. There is a unique character about the golden monkeys and that is most of the monkeys have their nostrils pointing to the sides but if you look closely at the golden monkeys, their nostrils face upwards.
Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda mostly takes place in the Volcanoes which is found in the Virunga Mountains and it has only one session per day which starts in the morning. Those who are willing to take part in the golden monkey trekking are advised to report at the headquarters by 7:00 am for a mini briefing about the trek before it starts and it is only fifteen minutes away from the Park.
The Golden monkeys in the Rwanda are divided into two troops and the largest is located in the Sabinyo and this has 80 to 100 monkeys and it is the most visited troop in Rwanda. The other troop is located in the Volcanoes and it is slightly smaller in number.
Golden monkeys are speedy moving little primates, very amusing to see as they suddenly jig from tree to tree or run after the other in loop around you. Watching these reddish gold back monkeys that blend in perfectly with the golden bamboo trees is an amazing experience.
Golden monkey safari in Rwanda starts 7:00 am in the morning; visitors can see two troops that have been habituated for tourism in the park numbering about 80 individuals, a maximum number of 8 people are allowed to track golden monkeys for only one hour at cost of US$100 per person. Visitors can arrange their permits in advance or get them at Kinigi the park headquarters where porters can also be hired at US$10.
L’Hoest’s Monkeys in Nyungwe and Gishwati Forest
Nyungwe national park is also a place where you will find lots of primates and one of them will be the L’hoest monkeys therefore a primates watching adventure to Nyungwe is the perfect opportunity you can have to see these monkeys.
L’Hoest’s monkeys are endemic to Albertine Rift and can be found in Nyungwe and Gishwati Forest. They have a dark coat with a white beard and live in small groups dominated by females, with a single male. These primates are also called mountain monkeys because they prefer to stay in mountainous areas.
Olive Baboon & Vervet Monkeys in Akagera NP
Akagera National Park is home to olive baboons and Vervet monkeys, which can be spotted on safari drives. Other species can only be seen at night – the small potto, closely related to the lemurs of Madagascar, and bush babies, with their distinctive large eyes for superior night vision, and bat-like ears to track insects in the dark.
Best seasons to visit Primates in Rwanda
The best time to visit Rwanda is between June and September, which is during the Dry season when wildlife viewing is at its prime. Primate walks in the forest are a big part of any safari in Rwanda. The habitat of rainforests is, by default, very wet and one can’t avoid rain completely. Walking in the forest is easier in the Dry season and that is also the recommended time for most primate walks, including gorilla trekking.
Lastly, Rwanda’s tourism is one of the reasons why Primates should be on your bucket list.