Comparison: Chimps Tracking in Rwanda and Uganda

Compare Kibale National Park And Nyungwe National Park

Kibale national park

Situated in the western region, Kibale national park is the leading chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda. The park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Lying near Fort Portal area, Kibale national park is approximately 308.2 km from Kampala, roughly four hours drive from Uganda’s capital. The park is also located close to the tranquil Ndali- kasenda crater area and it boosts with plenty of wildlife ranging from 375 birds to 351 plant species, primates, and other mammals.

Kibale national park is home to a total of 70 mammal species but most famously 13 species of primates including man’s distant cousin- the chimpanzee. Kibale National Park is by far East Africa’s leading chimpanzee destination as well as Uganda’s prime primate capital. The park has the highest chimpanzee population of about 1500 chimps compared to any other East Africa Primate destination.

Location

Kibale national park is located in western Uganda while Nyungwe national park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda.

Accessibility of the parks

Kibale national park is easily accessible by road approximately 308.2 km from Kampala, roughly four hours drive by road. On the other hand, Nyungwe national park is quite difficult to access and is believed to be Rwanda’s remotest national park based on its large distance of about 220km from Kigali by road roughly six hours drive.

How each fits in other itineraries

Kibale forest national park easily fits other itineraries especially those involving Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains, and Semuliki national parks. It is because of this factor that most visitors enjoy a variety of tour activities after chimpanzee trekking adventures such as a game drive at Queen Elizabeth, a nature walk at Semuliki, or even mountain climbing at Rwenzori mountains national park and many more.

Distance from gorilla parks

Kibale National Park is 235.3 km from Bwindi impenetrable national park via Mbarara-Kasese road approximately 5-6 hours drive by road. Similarly, Kibale national park is 371.9 km from Mgahinga gorilla national park approximately 6-7 hours via Kabale-Mbarara road. Therefore, based on the hours of the drive I would say Kibale national park is quite further to the gorilla parks in Uganda.

Wildlife species at the park

Kibale national park is home to plenty of wildlife species although the most thought about are the chimpanzee. These include; 13 species of primates, 375 bird species, an estimated 500 forest elephants, a colorful variety of 250 species of butterflies, buffaloes, leopards, warthogs, the nocturnal wild especially bushbaby, tree hyrax, the potto and so much more.

Cost of chimpanzee trekking permits

Chimpanzee in Trees in Kibale Forest National Park – Uganda

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park costs 200 USD per individual permit. This is quite more expensive especially for visitors who are traveling on a tight primate trip budget. However, due to the beauty of nature that strikes one as they come into contact with Kibale national park, you will agree with me that the destination is worth the cost.

The number of chimps habituated groups

Kibale national park has been recorded to have the highest number of chimpanzee habituated troops ready for trekking in the whole of East Africa. In addition, the park has the highest chimpanzee population of about 1500 individuals in East Africa followed by Nyungwe national park with about 500 individuals.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Kibale national park is the only chimpanzee destination that rewards visitors with chimpanzee habituation experiences. Habituation is a two-year-long process where primatologists spend time with the chimps to familiarize them with human presence. During chimpanzee habituation experiences, visitors get to spend more time with the chimps, contribute to the research, and the habituation process with primatologists. This fascinating experience allows visitors enough time to connect with a chimpanzee group, learn about their different characters, habits, and group dynamics. Chimpanzee habituation on the other hand rewards visitors with a day or half-day in the presence of chimps.

After chimpanzee trekking activities

Kibale national park rewards a visitor with a range of after chimpanzee trekking activities. These include; birding, nature walks, night walks, chimpanzee habituation, and cultural encounters among others to supplement chimpanzee trekking.

Chimpanzee species

Nyungwe forest national park is a top chimpanzee trekking destination in Rwanda and so is Kibale national park in Uganda. The two national parks have the highest chimpanzee density in their regions not to mention the best of its kind

Best time for tracking in each park

Chimpanzees in the Wild – Uganda

In both Kibale and Nyungwe national parks, the best time to go chimpanzee trekking is during the drier seasons June to October and December to February. This is because during the dry season the chimpanzee trekking trails are drier and easy to trek. April to May and September to November usually are wet seasons but ideal if one wants to avoid crowds.

Time spent with the chimps

Visitors to Kibale national park are allowed one-hour interaction with man’s distant cousins in their natural habitat after which they move back to the park.

Maximum number of visitors allowed to trek

The maximum number of people who are allowed to trek chimpanzees at Kibale national park is eight who constitute one group that is assigned a guide as they embark on chimp tracking.

Age accepted to trek chimps

You must be at least 15 years old to trek chimpanzees in Uganda. This is because any person below 15 is considered a child among many reasons thus may not be fit to trek the chimpanzees.

Nyungwe national park

Lying in the southwestern region is Nyungwe forest national park, Rwanda’s off the beaten track primate destination. The park is located along the country’s border with Burundi in the south and Democratic Republic of Congo in the east. Nyungwe forest national park is approximately 220km from Kigali, a roughly a six-hour drive from Rwanda’s capital.

The park is endowed with one of the most preserved montane forests in Africa, which envelopes with fold varying landscapes of the rain forest, bamboo forests, swamps, and grasslands. Nyungwe forest national park is by far Rwanda’s prime primate destination hosting about 13 primate species which amount to 25% of all primates in Africa.

Chimpanzee Kibale Forest National Park – Rwanda

The park has the highest chimpanzee population in Rwanda hosting about 500 chimps and is second to Uganda’s Kibale forest national park in East Africa. According to some people, Nyungwe national park is the furthest ‘remote’ national park in this land of a thousand hills but also, the richest primate safari destination.

Location

Nyungwe national park is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda in a somewhat remote region and is rarely visited by guests working on a tight time schedule. This is different from Kibale national park which is in my opinion well placed adjacent to several other national parks in western Uganda.

Accessibility of the park

Nyungwe national park is quite difficult to access and is believed to be Rwanda’s remotest national park based on its large distance of about 220km from Kigali by road roughly six hours drive. It is because of this long distance from the country’s capital that I believe Kibale national park in Uganda is easily accessible than Nyungwe national park.

How each fits in other itineraries

Nyungwe forest national park is quite an inaccessibility not to mention its large distance from other Rwanda national parks. This distance sets it apart from the usually visited places in Rwanda as much as it is a gem to be explored by all visitors to Rwanda. Therefore, because of accessibility challenges, it is quite difficult for Nyungwe national park to fit other itineraries unlike Kibale national park in Uganda.

Distance from gorilla parks

Just like Kibale national park, Nyungwe national park is quite further from Volcanoes national park, the only destination for gorilla safaris in Rwanda is approximately 267.3 km about 5-6 hour by road via Ruhengeri-Gisenyi road. Therefore, in my opinion, both Nyungwe and Kibale national parks are further to the gorilla parks in their regions.

Wildlife species in the park

Baby Chimpanzee in Nyungwe Forest National Park – Rwanda

Nyungwe national park is home to a variety of wildlife species including 13 primate species, 1068 plant species, 322 bird species, a common sight of at least 120 butterfly species, as well as 75 mammals such as the serval cat, mongoose, congo clawless otter, leopards to name but a few.

Cost of chimpanzee trekking

Nyungwe national park charges 90 USD per individual to trek chimpanzees which are relatively cheaper compared to Kibale’s 200 USD currently.

Number of chimps habituated groups

Nyungwe national park has a total of two habituated chimpanzee families; one consisting of about 60 individuals and the other 30 individuals. This is a limited number compared to Kibale national park in Uganda which has several habituated chimpanzee troops.

Chimpanzee habituation experience

Unlike Kibale national park in Uganda, Nyungwe national park does not offer chimpanzee habituation experiences for the guest who wishes to spend long hours with the chimps at the park. Therefore, visitors interested in enjoying a chimpanzee habituation experience ought to visit Kibale national park in Uganda.

After chimpanzee trekking activities

Unlike in Kibale national park where a visitor would enjoy birding, nature walks, chimpanzee habituation to supplement chimpanzee trekking among others. In Nyungwe national park, a visitor enjoys birding, black and white colobus monkey tracking, nature walks, as well as canopy walks the only one of their kind in East Africa.

Chimpanzee species

Nyungwe forest national park is a top destination for chimpanzee safaris in Rwanda and so is Kibale national park in Uganda. The two national parks have the highest chimpanzee density in their regions not to mention the best of its kind

Best time for tracking in each park

The best time to go chimpanzee trekking is during the drier seasons June to October and December to February. This is because during the dry season the chimpanzee trekking trails are drier and easy to trek. April to May and September to November usually are wet seasons but ideal if one wants to avoid crowds.

Time spent with the chimps

Chimpanzee trekkers at Nyungwe national park are allowed one-hour intimate time to interact with the chimps in their natural setting. This is thus similar to Kibale national park where visitors have rewarded a one-hour lifetime experience with a chimpanzee troop.

Maximum number of visitors allowed to trek

The maximum number of people who are allowed to trek chimpanzees at Nyungwe national park is eight members which are similar to that of Kibale national park. This is so because there is a need to minimize behavioral interference between humans and the chimpanzees.

Age accepted to trek chimpanzees

The minimum age of visitors who are allowed to engage in trekking chimpanzees at Nyungwe forest national park is 15 years. This is because any person below 15 years is considered a child thus may not be fit enough to trek the chimpanzees. In both national parks, the minimum age of visitors to trek chimpanzees is 15 years.