Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Tanzania.
Did you know that you can trek chimpanzees in Tanzania?
Most people know Tanzania for only game drives, balloon safaris and also vibrant culture expeditions. It is surprising to find out that a small area in Tanzania has rain forests at the shores of Lake Tanganyika where chimpanzees call home. These chimps were habituated in the 1960s by Japanese researchers.
Tanzania is well known for having diverse wildlife due to a variety of conservation areas both big and small. Game drives and bird watching are the order of the day here in Tanzania plus visiting beautiful beaches in Zanzibar Island, but also chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania is possible.
Chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania can be done in Mahale national park located at the shores of Lake Tanganyika and Gombe stream national park with over 800 chimpanzees and about 100 habituated. The two national parks neighbour each other; Gombe national park is located north of Mahale Mountains.
Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale and Gombe stream National parks.
Like any other chimpanzee destination, chimp trekking activity starts with a briefing where a visitor receives information or guidelines to help him or her take on the activity cautiously. The park ranger very armed to protect visitors from wildlife attack and well equipped with knowledge of the area and our beautiful cousins at large guides visitors through the forest.
Trekking takes about 3 hours and this depends on the speed of the trekkers and the location of chimpanzees. Visitors are required to be physically fit because the experience involves a bit of hiking and the trails can sometimes be slippery.
The experience in western Tanzania rewards you with unaffordable memories where you watch these primates play, feed, search for food and groom their young ones. Sight other attractions like tree species, waterfalls among others but the amazing moment when chimps move from one tree to another while echoing.
Best time to go for chimp trekking in Tanzania.
Mahale is the main national park where you can get in touch with these chimpanzees for the trekking adventure; visitors are therefore advised to take on their safari from June to October. This is the dry season and the activity seems to be easier as the trails are dry, good weather and the skies are clear and perfect for photography. Also, the chimps tend to stay in big groups, and even closer to the shores than in wet seasons.
Also, in the low season which is in November to March where the chimp trekking permits seem to be at a low price compared to a high season. But remember that, African weather is unpredictable so you are emphasised to carry your jackets, raincoat in case of rains.
How to access Mahale and Gombe stream national parks for chimpanzee trekking?
These two national parks can be accessed by road, air and road. But the easiest is by air where scheduled flights are always available from Arusha and Dar-es-Salam to Kigoma airstrip and this is normally in the dry season.
By road, the roads are too rough mostly in the rainy season and this is because of the remoteness of the area. Therefore, to travel from Arusha to Kigoma, you spend at list 3 days on the way.
By boat, there are speed boats which can take about 4-6 hours from Kigoma to Mahale National park and to Gombe stream national park.
You are advised to use air transport since it’s the easiest and less time taken while on your safari for chimp trekking in Tanzania.