Rwanda like its counterpart Uganda has no seaport and it’s known as one of the smallest countries in the world occupying an area of about 26,338 sq km (10,169sqmiles), and it’s known as a densely populated nation, UN estimates 2013 put its population at 13 million people. This land of ‘’a thousand hills’’ as its sometimes referred to is known as a gifted nation when it comes to tourist attractions, it competes very many countries world-wide when it comes to tourist attractions, and it attracts a huge number of travelers who jet into Rwanda to have a glace on the many of the attractions Rwanda offers.
Rwanda suffered much in the 1994 genocide, the war claimed a lot of people over 1 million people lost their life and many fled the country to seek refuge and many infrastructures where destroyed, however all those came to pass, the country is now considered one of the safest with a cleanest city in the world and it has got no political insurgency, giving room to tourists to visit the country without fear.
Rwanda is much known for its primate species than any other tourist attraction, this is because primate tracking is much adventurous than any other attractions, as the activity involves moving deep into the forest and have a close exchange of eyes with these animals making the all process adventurous, this is not the case when compared the experience to wildlife safaris which involves moving in a tourist vehicle during a game drive in a national park (Akagera National park). A wonderful moment to see the primate species involves spending some memorable time with the primates deep in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees are the close relative to humans and the mountain gorillas are considered the second relative to man sharing almost 98% of human DNA make up.
To mention some of the key primate species to track in Rwanda include the mountain gorillas, golden monkey and chimpanzee, and any safari to Rwanda with a primate watch to see one of the above mentioned primate specie is considered incomplete. However sometimes the treks to meet them may be challenging since the activity involves passing through the deep and muddy forest of volcanoes national park and Nyungwe forest during the search of these apes, so a reasonable degree of fitness as well as tracking gears are highly recommended, some treks are tough and others are a bit easy to trek. In details let us talk about these Rwanda primate species and Rwanda primate safaris.
Mountain gorillas: when Rwanda Is talked about what comes to many people’s ear is the endangered mountain gorillas, mountain gorillas is one of the sub-species of gorillas and its regarded as one of the endangered species. According to the last population census, estimates shows that only 900 mountain gorillas are left in the world and this number is shared by three African countries including Rwanda, Uganda and the democratic republic of Congo. Rwanda is blessed being among these countries in the world to host these animals and perhaps Rwanda is known as the leading mountain gorilla safari destination in the world something which makes it special with almost a half of these remaining endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas have attracted many people to Rwanda to stay with these apes for at least one or two days in their natural habitat. Rwanda gorillas are inhabited in the volcanoes national park. The park is located in the northern part of Rwanda in Ruhengeri Musanze district and it’s a drive of about 2-3 hours from Kigali Rwanda’s capital to kinigi park headquarters the starting pointing for gorilla tracking.
Rwanda gorilla tracking is a leading tourist attraction in Rwanda and the government of Rwanda has acquired a lot of money from revenue collected from tourist and the local people have benefited from the activity especially those who stay near the park.
On the day of tracking, after an early breakfast, you will be driven to the park headquarters in kinigi to receive short briefings from the park wardens/senior ranger guides about the whole process of gorilla tracking, after the briefing, you will be driven to the starting point where you will follow the ranger guide to the forest to begin the search of gorillas. The time taken to meet the gorillas is unpredictable, since gorillas are wild animals; they keep on moving from one place to another in search of food, so the trek can go from 2-8 hours while in the jungle, a reasonable degree of fitness is needed as well as tracking gears like sturdy pair of walking shoes/boots, bottled water and sometimes packed food. Rwanda gorilla groups are distributed according to age and physical ability, the weaker and old are assigned to easy to track gorilla families and younger and physical trackers are assigned to tough gorilla families. However it’s not a guarantee the one seem to be easy on bad day may turn to be difficult and vice versa. Once the gorillas are met you are only restricted to one hour with them while studding as well as learning their behaviors. After tracking, you drive back to your booked accommodation or departure depending on your itinerary.
Rwanda gorillas permits costs usd750 per person per tracking. Rwanda gorilla permits are at very high demand and they are sold on first come first served basis the earlier you book your tracking permit the better to avoid disappointments of last minute booking. Permits are sold at the Rwanda Tourism Board in Kigali Rwanda’s capital or at the park headquarters in Kingi, it’s better to book a gorilla permit through a travel agent or a tour company organizing your tour, as they have easy access to these permits than an individual. Volcanoes national park has 12 gorilla families and in each gorilla family only eight members are allowed to visit these giants on daily occasion for to safety purpose.
Golden monkeys are also known as endangered species, and are regarded the most beautiful primate on earth. This endangered species of primate inhabit the forest of volcanoes national park, so for more primate experience at the park if you have extra days at the park, you can opt for golden monkey tracking. Golden monkey are fabulous fun to watch when playing in fruitful trees or bamboo forest. like mountain gorilla tracking, the track to see the monkeys begins very early in the morning after reporting at the park headquarters to receive short briefings about the dos and don’ts while with these apes, follow the ranger guide to the forest to begin the search of them, trekking time is an unpredictable, however the tracking time can go from 2-7 hours searching them. Not like mountain gorillas which can be seen on ground, golden monkey are jumpy, they like jumping from one tree to another, so you are recommended to carry a first camera good at shooting. However even when tracking the gorillas, you can still watch these apes and the ranger guide will help you to take photos of them. one hour is allowed to stay with them once they are met. The number for tracking golden monkey is not restricted to eight members like that for mountain gorilla tracking. Tracking gears like study pair of walking shoes/boots are long sleeved shirts is needed and some level of physical fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is another primate species that attracts travelers to Rwanda specially primate lovers. Rwanda is a home to over 13 species of primates coupled with chimpanzee the closest relative to human sharing almost 98% of human genes. Other primate species include owl-faced monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, more than 300 Colobus monkeys, mona monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys among others. These entire primate species are inhabited in Nyungwe forest national park Rwanda’s habituated park chimpanzee safaris.
The park is located in the south-western part of Rwanda just about 5-6 hour’s drive from the capital Kigali. chip tracking is one of the selling adventurous safari package in Rwanda, meeting these close relative of man in their natural habitat is a regarded as a moment in life very difficult to forget. The one hour allowed staying in presence of these apes while changing eyes is memorable. Chimps are excellent to watch when jumping from one tree to another, while observing their daily activities including feeding, making nest, mothers feeding their young ones, socializing among others makes the activity more exciting.
However like mountain gorillas and golden monkey, the time taken to meet these apes is unpredictable, since they are wild animals, they keep on moving from one place to another in search for food, the search can go from 2-5 hours. Indeed primate safaris dominates many other safari activities in Rwanda, many other activities are just a complement to primate safaris. However on safari to Rwanda you can still enjoy many other tourist activities including wildlife safaris in Akagera national park, Kigali city tour to visit which will take you and visit some of the interesting things around, visit Lake Kivu Rwanda’s freshest water body among many others. Put Rwanda on you must visit destination this year.