Nyungwe safaris/ Primates – The forest has a total of 12 different primate species that represent approximately 25% of the total species on the African continent. This is a remarkable number which in the east African region can be compared only to Kibale forest national park. Most noteworthy,  majority of these primates are outlined as endangered on the red list of IUCN.

Chimpanzee Tracking in Nyungwe National Park

Nyungwe Chimp

The chimpanzee tracking adventure includes traversing through the vines and thorny bushes across the forest floor. Trekking along the muddy trails and before long you will find yourself in the middle of a group of chimpanzees. You will spend some time with the chimpanzees observing them as they go about their day to day activities.  You will see the youthful ones play and fight on the forest floor. Watch the mothers feed the young ones and others foliage on the forest vegetation. With none of them minding about the human presence around them. In case the trek has taken a longer time, it is likely that the chimps are already moving on after a relaxed morning. Squealing through the canopy on the higher terrain as they look for food.

The duration of completing a chimpanzee trek is very unpredictable. However the time ranges between 2 hours to 9 hours. More like searching for some gorilla families like Sabyinyo group in volcanoes park. . Despite all the hustle and early morning treks, meeting a group of chimpanzees and watching them feed, or swing on tree branches, make the whole struggle worth while.  

Setting eyes on these amazing apes in their natural habitat is a rare experiencing. Most noteworthy an extremely unforgettable that happens very rarely.

Other Primates in Nyungwe

Among the most common Nyungwe primates species in the park are the Rwenzori colobus monkeys which are more prevalent compared to the Angola colobus monkeys that are restricted mainly to the Albertine Rift. These Ruwenzori colobus monkeys are extremely acrobatic and great eaters of leaves. Because of their black color and snow white tails, the colobus monkeys can be easily distinguished from other primates. 

Colobus monkeys are known to be sociable, thus the ones  in Nyungwe are no exception. They live and move in troops of hundreds of members. There is a semi-habituated colobus monkey troop that is resident within Nyungwe comprising of 400 members. The group frequents the  campsite and is believed to be the largest of all arboreal primates on the African planet. However, a comparable number can be found among the golden monkeys in China. Majority of the other types of monkeys within Nyungwe forest are guenons.

Among the other primate species living within Nyungwe National Park are: types Olive baboon, L’Hoest’s monkey, Vervet monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Silver monkey, crowned monkey, golden monkey, Dent’s Mona monkey, Owl faced monkey and the red tailed monkey.

Nocturnal primates

Besides the chimpanzees and the other monkeys in this park, Nyungwe Park is habitat to 4 species of prosimian. These are  tiny nocturnal primates that are closely related to lemurs living in Madagascar. Nyungwe has 3 bush baby species or galago (troops of small, very lively wide – eyed eaters of insects) as well as the sloth – similar to the potto. Although they are many, it is rare that you will be able to see all the above mentioned primate species all at once.