If you venture as far West as the Congolese border, Gombe Stream National Park is the most untouched and fantastic forest in Tanzania. Overlooking Lake Tanganyika, this national park offers some untamed wild woods inhabited by a variety of animals, most remarkably – chimpanzees. Famous primatologist Jane Goodall spent many years in these forests studying rare chimpanzees and documenting their life, and nowadays you can organize a photographic expedition of your own to see the primates in the wild. Note that all of them have names and can be individually introduced by experienced park guides.
Chimpanzees here live in a protected environment within the park boundaries, and only a limited number of viewers is allowed every day in order not to disturb them. You will find yourself in a whole new world of colors and sounds, and discover that our tree-dwelling relatives have their system of vocal signals to communicate and identify themselves, especially in the mating period. Chimpanzees have their own hierarchy among the forest families, with more powerful clans and less powerful members of the community. Spending your entire morning watching the chimpanzees in the wild is like getting a glimpse of a different universe… probably the one from ‘Planet of the Apes’. In one word – unforgettable.
Besides the chimpanzees who definitely are the main celebrities of the park, Gombe Strem is full of baboons, colobus monkeys, small antelopes, wild pigs and incredible tropical birdlife. The park hosts about 200 bird species, among them fish eagles and Peter’s twinspots, as well as some seasonal migratory birds.
Hiking and swimming are other types of activities you might indulge in after the journey to the Planet of the Apes. In the town of Kigoma you can watch the dhow builders at work during the day, and in the dark admire the lights of their lanterns in the waters of Lake Tanganyika.