Travel

Come chimp tracking in Africa with us



Covering an area of 623 square miles and known for its lush forests, pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning mountain scenery, Mahale Mountains National Park is only accessible by boat or plane, which makes the journey to this breathtaking place an adventure in itself!

 

The park is home to an estimated 1,000 chimpanzees, which are habituated to human presence, meaning that you can observe them up-close in their natural habitat without disturbing their natural behavior. Chimps are our closest cousins with whom we share some 98% of our DNA. They are intelligent, social, and complex animals with a wide range of behaviors and emotions.

 

Chimpanzees are found in the wild in tropical forests and woodlands in central and western Africa. They live in large groups led by a dominant male, known as the alpha male, and females with their offspring. The group size can vary from as few as 15 to over 100 individuals.

 

Like us, chimps are omnivores and their diet consists of fruits, leaves, seeds, insects, and sometimes small mammals such as monkeys or rodents. They have been recorded using tools to obtain certain foods, such as using sticks to extract termites from their nests or using stones to crack open nuts.

 

Chimpanzees are known for their complex social structure and behavior, using grooming and playing to develop hierarchies, and communicating with each other through a variety of vocalizations, gestures, and facial expressions. They form strong bonds with their family members and other members of their group and often engage in reconciliatory behavior after conflicts.

 

They have also been observed exhibiting extremely aggressive and sometimes physically violent behavior towards members of their own group or towards individuals of other groups, hitting or biting them while screaming loudly and pant-hooting. 

 

Chimp tracking experiences in Mahale Mountains National Park require you to set out early in the morning with your guide to find the chimps. The trek through the forest can be challenging, but the scenery is stunning, and the experience is well worth the effort. Your guide will lead you through the forest, pointing out other wildlife and plants along the way, until you reach the chimps. 

 

You will hear them before you see them. They can be heard from a distance, and the sounds they make will become louder and more intense as you get closer. When you finally catch a glimpse of them, you will be amazed by their intelligence, curiosity, and human-like actions.

 

The number of chimp tracking permits issued each day is limited so that the number of visitors the chimps receive is properly regulated. You’ll have the chance to spend a few hours with them, observing them at close quarters and following them on foot as they move through the forest.

 

The trek back to your lodge can be just as challenging as the trek in, but you will be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Tanganyika and the surrounding mountains.

 

Chimpanzees are under threat in the wild all over their range countries thanks to habitat loss, poaching and disease. Conservation efforts to protect them include the creation of protected areas such as Mahale Mountains National Park. It’s therefore a real privilege to be able to see them in their natural habitat.

 

Of course, Mahale Mountains National Park is not just about chimpanzees. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, leopards, and a rich diversity of birdlife. The park also has several hiking trails that lead to stunning viewpoints, waterfalls, and hidden beaches. The park’s remoteness, combined with the stunning scenery and incredible wildlife, makes for a truly unforgettable travel experience.



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