From white sand beaches to tall green mountains, the landscape here varies like nowhere else and presents you the widest variety of vegetation and wildlife: colorful butterflies flutter around the forest and tropical birds fill the woods with their twittering. But most importantly, Mahale Mountains National Park hosts the largest in Tanzania population of wild primates: red colobus monkeys skipping up and down the jungle canopy, yellow baboons strolling like bosses among the trees, vervet monkeys munching on their food, and of course – chimpanzees. There is about 1,000 chimps living in Mahale Mountains National Park, and primatologists have been researching one particular group, the Mimikire clan, since the 1960s.
They are quite accustomed to people and do not mind groups of tourists watching them or taking photographs. However, for health reasons (chimps’ health, not yours) all the visitors are provided with sanitary masks to wear during the safari.
Depending on the season, locating the chimpanzees will be harder or easier, but the dry season (late August-October) their clans do not stray too far away from the lake and can be found within 30 minutes, whereas during the rainy season the safari might require a longer hike up into the woods. Seeing the chimpanzee family in the wild is like a getting a glimpse of a different universe. If you study them for a few days, you might start noticing how they have their own daily routine, how they take care of their young and how they actually identify other memebers of the community by voice.
Besides the primates, Mahale National Park is inhabited by over 200 species of tropical birds that add to the whole cacophony of sound the forest is drowning in.