2 Days Nyungwe Forest Safari – Canopy Walk, Igishigishigi Trail and Chimpanzees


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2 Days Nyungwe Forest Safari takes you to Rwanda’s largest forest to hike through the Igishigishigi trail, then go for a canopy walk and finally track chimpanzee. Nyungwe National Park is located at the Southwestern corner of Rwanda. It was established in 2004 and is said to be one of the oldest and largest afro-montane forests in Africa. Covering an area of 970 square kilometers, it consists of bogs, swamps, grassland and bamboo forests. The forest sits on an altitude of 3000 meters above seas level and spreads all the way to the border with Burundi, Congo and Lake Kivu. Our 2 Days Nyungwe National Park Safari starts with a canopy walk and hiking through the Igishigishigi trail. On day two, you will head to the park offices for a briefing on chimpanzee trekking. After that, you will be taken to the starting point and then into the thick forest in search of the primates.

The tour includes:

  1. Chimpanzee permits
  2. Canopy Walk Permits
  3. City Tour
  4. Accommodation for one night
  5. All meals and bottled drinking water including lunch outside the hotel
  6. Full time English-speaking Driver guide
  7. Transportation in a Tour Van
  8. Airport Pickup and drop off if departure is on the last day of the safari
  9. Government Taxes
  10. Park entrance

The Tour excludes: -

  1. Air tickets and Visas
  2. Accommodation at the beginning and end of the trip
  3. Tips for the Guide
  4. Travel insurance, souvenirs and other expenses of a personal nature

Tips and Extra information

Nyungwe forest can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is in October and February especially if you are planning to do chimpanzee trekking. There are no rains then. The high season is between June to September because it is when most tourists come to do gorilla trekking. Travelers love combining gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking and chimpanzee trekking to make a complete primates safari.

  • City tour and stop overs at interesting cultural sites
  • Hiking through the Igishigishigi trail
  • A Canopy walk
  • Chimpanzee trekking

Tour Plan

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Day 1 Pickup from Kigali – City tour – Transfer to Nyungwe Forest National Park – Canopy Walk

You should wake up early enough and prepare to meet our Guide/Driver for a briefing about the tour. The pickup will be at your residence, hotel or at the airport. After the briefing, the Guide will take you for a short tour of the city of Kigali. Kigali is small but one of the cleanest cities in Africa. The trip will include a visit to the genocide memorial Centre, the city market and the former presidential palace.

The Guide/Driver will then start the journey to Nyungwe forest but with a stopover at the museum in Butare. This Museum is one of the best places to learn about the cultural heritage of the people of Rwanda. You will have an opportunity to buy local crafts and souvenirs. If time permits, you can also stop at the Kamegeli Rock and the palace of the Nyanza King Palace Lunch will be at Huye. After that, you will continue the journey through beautiful Rwanda countryside. You will know why Rwanda is referred to as a land of a thousand hills.

Once you arrive at your hotel, you will have lunch and then be taken to the Uwinka visitors center to start hiking along the Igishigishigi trail which leads to the canopy walkway. While at the Igishigishigi trail, you will spot several species of trees, birds and primates for about thirty minutes. You will then step into the canopy walkway for even more amazing views of the forest. The walkway is 60 meters suspended metallic bridge that is built on top of the trees. It offers an aerial view of the forest and its creatures like birds, colobus monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, baboons and countless species of plants. After the canopy walk, you will go and relax by the waterfalls.  The canopy walk takes about 2 hours depending on your pace or that of your group.

Dinner and overnight at Gisakura Guest House (budget) and One&Only Nyungwe House (Luxury). Other hotel options include Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel (Luxury) and Emeraude Hotel (Budget).

Day 2 Chimpanzee trekking – Transfer back to Kigali

You should wake up early a take your breakfast as you prepare for an adventurous day tracking the primates. Chimpanzee trekking starts at 5 am. The reason why the activity starts early is because meeting the primates is not guaranteed.  Starting early increases your chances of finding the primates. The Driver will take you to the park offices and visitor center in Uwinka for briefing and meeting the park Rangers/Guides who will be leading you into the forests. The Guides/Rangers will brief you about the rules and requirements for chimpanzee trekking. If there are many travelers booked for the day, you will be divided into two groups – One will start the trek from the Uwinka Visitor Centre and the other from the Cyamudongo area. There are about 500 chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest. As you enter into the forest, you will be welcomed by beautiful jungle noises of birds, primates and insects. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest is just as unpredictable as gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park. The activity can take up to 4 hours depending on the location of the primates that day. Chimpanzees move as they wish and you will have to follow them through the forest. They are different from gorillas which generally stay in one place for longer periods of time. The good thing about chimps is that they are very vocal. Because of the constant loud screams, hoots and barks made by chimps, it is easy to pinpoint their location even before seeing one.

As you continue your search for the chimps, you will continue to encounter more beautiful scenery, birds, insects, butterflies, primates, waterfalls and so much more. The nature lover and birder will be very impressed even before finding the chimps. Once you find the find them in a stationary position, you will only be allowed one hour with them. This one hour excludes the time spent following them as chimpanzees can be very mobile. In that one hour with the primates, you should see them feed, play, build nests, mate and tease each other. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives – even more than gorillas. Each individual chimp has a unique character. Some are more aggressive while others are calm and mind their own business. The park Ranger will let you know which individuals to keep away from. You will return to the starting point after the one hour with the chimpanzees and then continue the journey back to Kigali.

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