Chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania offers a wildlife experience. Unlike safaris where you’re confined to a vehicle trekking allows you to intimately engage with these primates, in their natural environment. It’s an adventure that grants travelers the opportunity to observe and learn from our living relatives in the wild creating a deep and lasting impact.
With 2,500 chimpanzees, which accounts for 75% of Tanzanias total chimpanzee population, Mahale Mountains National Park and Gombe Stream National Park stand out as premier destinations for chimp trekking. These parks provide a chance to explore the heart of chimpanzee society.
Top Destinations For Chimpanzee Trekking in Tanzania
Mahale Mountains National Park
Mahale Mountains National Park is a true primate paradise covering an area of around 1,613 kilometers. It is internationally renowned for harboring one of the populations of chimpanzees estimated to be around 1,000 individuals. These chimps are divided into groups with one group called the “M Group” accustomed to human presence for tourism and research purposes.
Trekking through this park not allows for close encounters with our primate cousins but also takes you on an enthralling journey, into the wilderness.The Parks elevation varies from 800, to 2,460 meters above sea level, which results in a range of plant life including forests, bamboo groves and open woodlands. You can also spot over 355 species of birds and various other animals like warthogs, bushbucks and bushpigs within the park.
Embarking on a trek through the rainforest trails of the Mahale Mountains to encounter chimpanzees is an experience. As you navigate through the forest it’s highly likely that you’ll come across fascinating wildlife as well. Different species of monkeys vibrant bird populations and beautiful butterflies.
Accompanied by expert trackers and park rangers you will be guided to areas where chimpanzees were recently seen. Once you find a group of chimps you’ll have the chance to observe their activities up from grooming each other to playful interactions and searching for food. This opportunity allows for observation and learning about the social dynamics and behaviors exhibited by these captivating creatures.
Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe Stream National Park may be smaller in size with 52 kilometers but it holds great significance for chimp trekking. This park gained recognition due to the pioneering research conducted by British primatologist Jane Goodall who commenced her work here back in 1960. Presently Gombe is home, to around 100 to 150 chimpanzees.
Apart, from chimpanzees Gombe is also home to than 200 bird species and over 25 species of mammals such as baboons, vervet monkeys, bush pigs and leopards. This diverse wildlife adds to the biodiversity that visitors can experience when exploring the park.
Chimpanzee Trekking; Conservation and Regulations
The presence of the chimpanzee trekking industry plays a role in conserving these endangered species. The funds generated from park fees and treks contribute to conservation initiatives. These efforts focus on protecting their habitats from loss and combating poaching activities.
To ensure tourism practices and safeguard the well being of chimpanzees there are regulations in place. Visitors are allowed one hour of viewing per day with a maximum limit of six individuals per group during chimp visits. Additionally trekkers must maintain a distance of 10 meters from the chimpanzees at all times. To protect the chimps from illness transmission individuals with colds or contagious diseases are strictly prohibited from participating in treks.
It’s important to note that the positive impact extends beyond benefiting animals and ecosystems. In 2018 Tanzanias tourism sector contributed a $2.5 billion to the countrys GDP while creating, over 1.6 million jobs.
Therefore when visitors opt for chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania they actively support an industry that plays a role, in boosting the countrys economy and safeguarding its valuable wildlife.