Rwanda, located in the heart of East Africa, offers an incredible range of experiences for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Among these experiences, Rwanda primate safaris and trekking are must-do activities for anyone visiting the country.
As we know, Rwanda is famous for its population of mountain gorillas, located in the Virunga Mountains, shared with neighbouring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These majestic creatures are the largest primate species and have a close genetic resemblance to humans, making them fascinating to observe and even life-changing for many.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park today has roughly ten habituated gorilla groups for visitors to see and one set aside for research, and only 80 gorilla permits are available daily for tourists. Surprisingly, each gorilla group has distinct and unique characteristics from one another.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a unique experience that offers an unforgettable encounter with one of the world's most endangered species. With only a few hundred mountain gorillas remaining in the wild, observing them up close is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
To witness these gentle giants up close, tourists can take a guided trek through the dense forest, led by experienced rangers who will ensure a safe and responsible experience. The hike can be strenuous, sometimes involving walking for up to 6-8 hours, depending on the location of the gorilla family assigned to each trekking group. Advanced teams of trackers and rangers use many signs and methods while tracking each family daily before tourist trekking takes place. In small groups of up to eight, visitors are allowed one hour to observe and photograph the gorillas once located - Safari Guru always recommends two treks per visitor, as each experience is unique, with the second trek generally offering a truly immersive experience.
While visiting Musanze city, the closest travel hub to Volcanoes National Park, another popular primate activity is seeing a golden monkey population. These rare and endangered species live in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains. Like gorilla trekking, visitors can take guided tours to see these delightful creatures, known for their distinctive fur and playful nature, and learn more about their behaviour and habitat.
Rwanda's primate safaris don't end in the Virunga with gorillas and golden monkeys. The country is also home to some of the most exciting primate experiences in the world.
Nyungwe Forest National Park, one of the country's five national parks, borders Burundi in the southwest. The Nyungwe rainforest is renowned as the best-preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa. It is quite a small park; of rainforest, bamboo, swamp, and grassland, and it is the perfect home for monkeys. Including, of course, chimps!
The park is home to over 500 chimpanzees, making it one of the best places in Africa to see these fascinating primates. The park also boasts over 300 species of birds, making it a bird watcher's paradise. The other twelve species are Ruwenzori colobus, L'Hoest's monkey, Silver monkey, Golden monkey, Hamlyn's monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Dent's mona monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, and Grey-cheeked mangabey.
Gishwati-Mukura is a forested area in the far north of the country; the government created this as the newest national park (it is two parks, Gishwati and the smaller Mukura) in 2015 to protect the forests from advancing farmsteads, deforestation and a small troop of chimps who had somehow survived the war. Gishwati is an up-and-coming destination for primate safaris, and to see chimpanzees and fabulous birdlife. There are active programs to habituate and understand the chimpanzee families of the area. Several well-known safari operators are gearing up for hospitality offerings in the area, which in turn look to create community-based employment and sustainable conservation programs. You can request more information from Safari Guru directly about these programs.
Planning ahead is essential if you're considering a trip to Rwanda to experience its incredible primates and more. Primate safari permits, including gorilla, golden monkey, and chimp trekking are limited, so we advise you to book well in advance. Safari Guru advises the best time of year to travel, as Rwanda has a tropical climate with distinct rainy and dry seasons, and how to unlock discounted gorilla trekking permits while available.
Regarding logistics, the best time to visit Rwanda is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. During this time, the weather is mild, and there is less rain, making navigating the country's unpaved roads easier.
In conclusion, Rwanda is a must-visit destination for travellers interested in primate experiences and wildlife adventures. With its unique landscapes, diverse culture, and incredible wildlife, it's a destination that will leave a lasting impression on any visitor.
Let Safari Guru start planning your primate experience and safari adventure in Rwanda today. Further Reading: Top 5 Rwanda Highlights.
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