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Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Nyungwe Forest National Park 

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is a newly introduced primate experience in Nyungwe Forest National Park of Rwanda offering visitors a chance to spend more than one hour interacting with a semi-habituated group of chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

About Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Forest National Park is the most famous chimpanzee destination in Rwanda as well as Africa stretching 394 square miles in Southwestern region of Rwanda.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is dominated by one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, the park is rich in biodiversity and spectacularly beautiful. This mountainous region is teaming with wildlife including a small population of chimpanzees as well as 12 other species of primate including the chimpanzees, black , white colobus monkeys,  golden monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkey, owl-faced monkey, crowned monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, velvet monkey, olive baboon, and Angolan Colobus monkeys and the L’Hoest’s monkey endemic to the Albertine Rift. 

There are 75 recorded species of mammals in Nyungwe such as the cerval cat, mongoose, congo clalwless otter and leopard among others. Many of these mammals tend to be shy so sightings are luck of the draw. The forest is also a birder’s paradise with 322 bird species include Red-Collared Babbler and 29 other Albertine Rift Endemic species. 

Nyungwe Forest National Park is a paradise for botanists with 1,068 plant species and 140 orchids. 

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

Chimpanzee habituation refers to the process through which wild chimpanzees are trained and studied to become accustomed to human presence in their natural environment through continuous and prolonged visits which are led by experienced researchers and park guides/wardens. 

To declare a chimpanzee group fully habituated and accustomed to people in their natural environment, it can take up to two years. Wild chimpanzees will flee or tree humans with suspension. 

Unlike chimpanzee trekking experience where travelers encounter an already habituated chimpanzee family. On chimpanzee habituation experience, visitors track a semi- habituated chimpanzee family and join researchers and scientists and take part in the process of habituating a particular chimpanzee family. 

Chimpanzee habituation experience is more demanding than chimpanzee trekking and visitors get a chance to 4 hours of interacting with the chimpanzees at a safe distance. 

On the chimpanzee habituation experience, visitors must get up before dawn to meet the guides and head into the forests of Nyungwe and search for the chimpanzees before they leave their nests. When you locate the semi-habituated chimpanzee group, you will observe them as they wake up and prepare for the day’s activities such as feeding, resting, caring for their young, protecting their territories and finally building their nests on top of trees. In deeper details, you will learn about different traits of the individual chimpanzees, their physical characteristics and personalities. 

Visitors have a chance to take good photos and follow chimpanzees throughout the day. 

The chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Nyungwe, Rwanda concludes when the chimpanzees retire to their nests for the night. 

Since this experience lasts all day, lunch is usually provided along the trek. 

Chimpanzee Habituation Permits

To take park in chimpanzee habituation experience in Nyungwe Forest National Park, all visitors are required to have a Chimpanzee Habituation permit which costs as follows 

Travellers (Categories) Chimpanzee permits trekking fees in USD (per person/per trek)
Rwandan / EAC citizens
USD 25
A foreign resident in Rwanda/EA
USD 75
International visitors
USD 150

These permits are charged basing on the status of the tourist that is Rwandan or East Africa Community Citizens, Foreign residents and International Visitors. 

The best time to go for chimpanzee habituation experience in Nyungwe Forest National Park is during the dry season running from Late June through early September, the dry season coincides with the high season in Nyungwe which why you need to book for your safari as early as possible. 

Nyungwe Forest National Park is dominated by a rain forest receiving daily down pours, however they normally arrive in the afternoon leaving plenty of time for morning hiking and an outdoor lunch. The wet season in Nyungwe Forest National Park is from March to May. 

Nyungwe Forest National Park is situated approximately 225 kilometers (140 miles) approximately four to five hours of driving from Kigali City by driving. You can hire a vehicle or take a bus from Kigali’s Central bus station to the park, for visitors interested in a more private experience, as Hope Africa Tours our packages included private transportation in a private safari vehicle. 

Alternatively, you can fly from Kigali International Airport into Kamembe Airport, then connect to the park which is a drive of a half – hour drive to the western edge of the park.  

There are several accommodation options in Nyungwe Forest National Park ranging from budget, midrange to luxury. These include 

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