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Rwanda Nyungwe national park chimp treks

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We are spending 3 nights in Nyungwe as part of a 10 day trip to Rwanda before going to Tamzania. Has anyone any experience of the park, length and difficulty of the treks and type of treks available. We are staying at Forest lodge.

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    Chimp treks described from a previous report...

    Morning Chimp Trek to Uwinka to see the Mayebe group:
    This group is also referred to as the “close group” because it is close to the ranger station or the “big group” because it has about 65 members.

    Depart ORTPN Guesthouse at 5:00 am and arrive at the ranger station at 5:45 am. After another 5 minutes of driving a young woman from the Netherlands and I headed out with our guide, Isaiah, for an easy 45 minute walk to the chimps. We were urged to move quickly to reach the chimps while they were still feeding in the trees and we obliged, so our heart rates were up and we were short of breath by the time we arrived.

    Four chimps out of the 65-member troop were continually visible in the trees above us and we viewed them with our naked eye and binoculars and took pictures (yielding about 5 keeper shots) for an hour, as they ate contentedly.

    We were wrapping up our successful viewing and the chimps started moving off when the dominant male of the group became angry and began flailing branches wildly. We were told he could tell time and he knew our hour was up (seriously). It was his way of letting us know he had had enough of our presence below.

    The rate of success seeing this group is about 50% because the forest is so large, therefore we were quite lucky.

    Morning Chimp Trek to see the Cyamudongo Group:
    Depart ORTPN Guesthouse at 4:30 am and drive 1 hour and 15 minutes on really bumpy roads for the last half of the trip that produced one black backed jackal sighting. This chimp group is also known as the “far group” or the “small group” because it has 28 chimps. To avoid such a very early departure and to further enjoy the local surroundings, accommodations for chimp trackers are in the planning stages at Cyamudongo.

    The odds of seeing this group are about 95% because this forest is much smaller.

    I asked to have a porter and I got a walking stick. We hiked through extremely difficult terrain in the forest for 2 hours and 15 minutes, during which we had two glimpses of a few of the chimps on the ground and several views of mountain monkeys and mona monkeys in the trees, plus some birds, listed below. The chimps had immediately come out of the trees that morning and were on the move, making it a challenge to locate and follow them.

    Eventually, the trackers determined that the chimps would be crossing the road to reach some favorite fruit trees on the other side. Watching them cross the road was going to be my best shot at chimp viewing that day.

    The dirt road was undergoing an upgrade thanks to tourism dollars and many of the local residents were employed to work on the road with shovels and picks. The trackers feared that the chimps might be spooked by the construction activity and alter their route, so about 100 workers were asked to halt. They willingly obliged and then the waiting game began.

    The residents all stood at the roadside, leaning against their shovels or picks, looking at me. I stood along the roadside looking at where the trackers thought the chimps would pass. And the trackers fanned out and gave hand signals to each other and my Guide Daniel to indicate when and where the crossing might take place and where I should direct my gaze.

    I would have been very uncomfortable to be the sole source of the work stoppage if I had not been informed that the community viewed the chimps (and the foreigners like me who came to see them) in a positive light.

    After about 15 minutes of waiting and not working on the road, one chimp scampered across, then he was followed by a few more, including a mother with an infant hugging her belly. They flew across the open road and I got to see seven chimps in the open, thanks to the persistence and expertise of my guide and trackers. Road construction resumed.

    As we drove out, the residents working on the road smiled or waved and we returned the warm farewells.

    ---------

    Other treks are bird walks, hiking, hike to a waterfall (contained in the linked report), Blue Monkey treks, Gray Cheeked Mangabey treks, and Colobus Monkey treks, which it is noted for. (contained in the linked report)

    http://www.fodors.com/community/africa-the-middle-east/have-orthotics-will-track12-assorted-primate-treks-in-a-3-week-safari.cfm

    Glad to see you are spending so much time in Rwanda. You'll have a great time there and you've got a wonderful combo.

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    Many thanks. We are so looking forward to our days in Rwanda and then the 14 days in Tanzania. It's our first safari in East Africa having frequently travelled to SA, Botswana and Zimbabwe ( our favorite so far). Our one big trip to Africa 10 years ago has turned into an annual event although not always of the duration and expense of this one. What is it about Africa that captures so many of our hearts. Thanks again.

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