Chimpanzees in Congo
Chimpanzees in Congo are one of the top primate species that are searched for in the wilderness by travelers as they enjoy their Congo Safari Tours. The biggest tourist attraction of the Eastern part of the Democratic republic of Congo is the mountain gorillas which are only found here in the Virunga National park, in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park and in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park. The mountain gorilla species has a few individuals of about 1000 left in the entire world so much of the tourist traffic of the area is interested in the mountain gorilla trek. However, the Virunga national park also has a hidden gem of a family of chimpanzees that can be visited better yet even habituated as they are still going through this.
The Chimpanzees of Virunga national park are found in the Rumangabo sector in the Mahura forest. These can be visited by the clients who have booked their stay at either Mikeno lodge, the luxury lodge of Virunga or Bukima tented camp which is more midrange. The activity of visiting the chimpanzees offered in Virunga national park as per now is habituation not trekking where the rangers set out as early as 4:30 am in search of these primates and the guests set out for the visit at 6:00 am meeting the rangers at the point where the chimpanzees have been found. The spots for habituating the chimpanzees are few only 4 people are allowed to take on this activity per day and the permit goes for 100 USD per person. On finding the chimpanzees, you also spend a maximum of one hour enjoying their company studying them and taking photographs however these primates are quite active and always jumping around unlike the mountain gorillas that settle in one place and can get good photos so it is advisable to just enjoy the moment than struggling to get the perfect photo as one hour can rush by when you have not had the chance to do either.
The Chimpanzee is a very close relative of the human species sharing up to 98% of the same DNA but this primate is up to five times stronger than the human. It is believed it would take about five men to wrestle down a fully grown male chimpanzee so it is better to stay in their good books while on the tour by following guidelines from the rangers who will be with you on the trek.
As of 1st july 2019, the Virunga national park has been offering the chimpanzee habituation experience for its guests where you are able to join the team that is currently studying the one family that is still thriving in the Mahura forest. This part of the park was previously shut down as the rebel troops had taken over the area and there couldn’t be any tourism activity in the area and also the constant wars and fights that even claimed some of the chimpanzees’ lives and displaced others as they destroyed the habitat led to the decline of tourism in the area. It is of recent after the area has been sensitized and is regaining stability that it has been encouraged for tourists to visit.
There are a few packages offered by the Virunga national park that include the chimpanzee habituation of the Mahura forest family that is the Great ape package that is a 5 day package, the Virunga expedition package that is an 11 day offer, quite catchy, Rutshuru package that is a 10 days package which can all be booked through Explore Rwanda tours for that ideal experience that you will leave to tell.
We have been booking tours to Virunga for a long time now and you are assured of value for your money when you reach us to make your booking.