The excited whoop erupted from the deep forest and boosted a dozen of voices that rose in the volume and Tempo and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo. This is the famous pant hoot call that bonds rituals that allows all the participants to identify each other through their individual vocal stylisation. Walking in the forests of Gombe Stream National Park, it shows a visual contact with man’s closest genetic relatives: the chimpanzees.
Smallest Park in Tanzania
This national park is the smallest of Tanzania’s parks. The chimpanzees call home this park and straddle along the steep slopes and the river valleys that live in the sandy northern shores of Lake Tanganyika. The chimpanzees of here are habituated to human visitors and were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall who founded a behavioural research program that stands as the longest running study of its kind in the world. There is also the matriarch fifi which is the last surviving member of the original community.
The chimpanzees also share 98% of their genes with the humans and there is no scientific expertise is required to differentiate between the repertoires of the plants, the hoots and the screams which define the celebrities, the supporting characters and the power brokers. You will also understand when you look into a chimp’s eyes as you assess your return. The most visible animals of this park are the primates including the olive baboons, red tailed and the red Columbus monkeys. The park has got 200 bird species that range from the iconic fish eagle to the Jewel like peter’s twin spots.
The park’s size is 52 sq km and its Tanzania’s smallest national park located 16km north of Kigoma on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania. Kigoma is connected to Dar es Salaam and Arusha by a scheduled flight, to Dar es Salaam and Mwanza by a rail service to mwanza, Dar Es Salaam and Mbeya by the rough dirt road and to Mpulungu in Zambia by the weekly ferry. And from Kigoma, the local taxes take up to three hours to reach Gombe or the motor boats that can be chartered which take less hours.
The national park has got many tourist activities which include; chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania, swimming, hiking as well as snorkelling. You will also get a chance to visit the site of Henry Stanley’d famous Dr Livingstone I Presume at the Ujiji near the Kigoma and view the renowned dhow builders at work. This national park can’t be visited in February- June, November mid-December which is a wet season. It can be visited during the dry season of July to October and the late December
Chimpanzee Tracking Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe is home to some of the Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a total population of 900 and these are habituated to human visitors by the Japanese research project that was founded in 1960s. Tracking of these chimps is a magical experience. Mahale is located in the western Tanzania to the southern part of Kigoma town, it is also bordering Lake Tanganyika which is the second deepest and less populated fresh water with over 1000 fish species.
The best time to visit the park is during the dry season of May to October, and in this period, the chimpanzees are likely to be seen in big numbers, the sun shine also illuminates the fish in the lake and the beach is so inviting to those interested in relaxation.