The best place in the world to see chimpanzees in the wild is the remote Mahale Mountains of Tanzania, forest-clad peaks rising to 2,438m from the deep turquoise waters of Lake Tanganyika, just south of Jane Goodall’s Gombe Preserve. This 1,613 km² park is one the most remote and most beautiful of all Tanzania’s national parks and it is also one of the hardest to get to.
The sun rises over the lake and sets behind the steep rise of mountains, extending up to 2,438 m at Nkungwe Peak, and, as there are no roads in the park, all the trails that lead through its glades and distances are only open to those who will walk them. Numerous pathways and tracks allow visitors to enjoy truly beautiful forest walks and the chance of encountering some of the many different inhabitants of the lowland forests and higher brachystesia woodlands and savannahs.
The highlight of your experience here will no doubt be with the chimpanzees. Every day you have the opportunity to track them in the stunning tropical rainforest with skilled guides and trackers. Once found, you have the honor of observing their daily life – grooming, wrestling, bickering, foraging… mothers playing with babies… babies playing with other babies… it is endlessly entertaining. After days of “chimping”, you have the opportunity to fish, snorkel, swim and canoe.
Besides the chimps, leopard, lion, kudu, eland, buffalo, roan and sable antelope, olive baboons, red colobus and white spot nose mangabeys and a host of other game wander through this reserve.
Dominated by the brooding presence of Nkungwe Mountain with vegetation ranging through almost the entire gamut of African botany, this is one of Africa’s most intriguing parks.