Colobus Monkey Tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park : Colobus monkeys are one of the 13 species of primates in Rwanda, though the country is famously known for its mountain gorillas in the volcanoes national park. There are abundance of other primate species including colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, owl faced monkey, Dent’s monkey, blue and vervet monkey, olive baboons as well as the nocturnal potto and bush babies.
Because of the huge population of primates, Rwanda has become a famous primates destination receiving millions of tourists visiting the country on primate safaris. Colobus monkey tracking is one of the exciting primate safaris in Rwanda and is offered in Nyungwe Forest national park.
Nyungwe Forest national park is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa rich in biodiversity, the forests is also the Africa’s largest Afro-Montane forest , Nyungwe Forest national park is located southwest of Rwanda extending towards the border of Rwanda with Burundi in Rusizi district, to the south, the park is contiguous with the Kibira national park, Lake Kivu and Democratic republic of Congo.
Nyungwe Forest national park covers an area of 1,019 square kilometers comprising of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps and bogs creating a wonderful home to the huges population of primates. Nyungwe Forest national park is known as a primate haven in Rwanda hosting the highest population of chimpanzees in Rwanda and other primates including Ruwenzori colobus, colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, Golden Monkey, Hanlyn’s monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon and Grey cheeked mangabey.
Colobus monkeys in Nyungwe forest national park are recorded to be over 600 individuals including the largest group of Anglolan Colobus Monkeys in Africa, these monkeys are social creatures living in groups of about 350 – 400 individuals. Naturally colobus monkeys are more active than chimpanzees and in Nyungwe Forest national park there is a semi habituated group offering a more intriguing colobus experience.
Colobus Monkey tracking experience in Nyungwe Forest national park
Colobus monkey tracking in Nyungwe Forest national park is generally a short trek and easier when compared to chimpanzee tracking, visitors participating in this experience do not need porters and the hike takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.
Colobus monkey tracking starts with briefing at the park’s headquarters where you are briefed about the rules and regulations to follow while in the jungles of Nyungwe and in the presence of colobus monkeys. Colobus monkey tracking is don using several trails running through the park and with a help of a ranger you will be able to find these monkeys in their natural habitat.
Colobus monkey tracking is a beautiful and memorable wildlife adventure, as you approach a large group of these colobus monkeys who are very active and social and do play a lot, you will enjoy watching them swarming branches of a fruiting tree or lining up on the bark and branches of an entire lush green ground in black and white when they come down from the trees to eat some herbs and clay.
During Colobus monkey tracking adventure in Nyungwe Forest national park, you stand high chances of seeing other monkeys living in the forest such as the blue monkeys, mona monkey and Mangabey monkey. Other colobus monkeys are normally in smaller groups of a few individuals and probably join the large colobus monkeys purposely for protection from predators most especially chimpanzees.
You are allowed to spend one hour in the presence of the playful colobus monkeys while taking pictures and enjoying their playful nature.
Uwinka and Gisakura colobus monkeys groups
In Nyungwe Forest national park there are two groups of habituated colobus monkeys open for colobus monkey tours, according to the park rules and regulations you are allowed to spend one hour with the monkeys and it is possible to spend a full day if you are a photographer.
One of the 2 habituated groups is a super group of 500+ colobus monkeys and their territory is in Uwinka which is a location of the park’s visitors’ center or head office.
The second habituated colobus monkey group is a much smaller group of about 60 individuals and is located in Gisakura area. This group is the most visited for trekking trips because it is easier to find without much trekking and the monkeys of this group are always hanging out near the edge of the forest. Gisakuru is situated outside the park and this area is also the location for most lodgings offering accommodation to most of the tourists on a Rwanda safari to Nyungwe Forest national park such as Nyungwe Top View Hill Lodge, One&Only Nyungwe House and Gisakura Guesthouse among others.
Gisakuru colobus monkeys have 4 trekking schedules each day that is 08am, 10am, 1pm and 3pm. This group is the favorite gorilla group for you want to add colobus monkey tracking to chimpanzee tracking tour in Nyungwe Forest national park.
Uwinka Colobus monkeys are a superground and they tend to travel widely to look for enough food since it’s a larger group, sometimes when they encounter a chimpanzee group at Uwinka, they have to flee since chimpanzees feast on them for meat. The Uwinka Colobus monkeys often flee to further territories to escape the chimps.
The Uwinka Colobus group have one schedule in a day at 09 am because the experience can take a full day depending on where the monkeys would have traveled to, trekking the Uwinka Colobus group needs a day of its own.