Tanzania is among the few places you can see the Eastern Chimpanzee scientifically known as (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Tanzania is one of the best destinations to enjoy a Chimpanzee Trekking Safari on the African continent.
Though chimpanzees are commonly referred to as ‘common’ and they are the most plentiful among the great apes, they are also an endangered species. The country once had an estimated population of 10,000 chimpanzees living within and around Mahale, and more than 100 chimps living in Gombe. However over the past couple of years these have greatly reduced in numbers to just a couple of hundreds and this decline is said to be caused by loss of their natural habitat as well as hunting.
Chimpanzees Man’s closest Living Relative
Studies show that Chimpanzees share between 95 to 98% of similar DNA with man, which means that they are very similar to man in very many ways. For instance, they use communication means similar to those of man such as touching hands, kissing, tickling as well as embracing.
They stay in family groups as well as develop lasting bonds especially between children and their mothers. In their first year-of-life, the infants are in regular physical-contact with their mothers, moving on the back of their mothers, and then at two years, they start moving by themselves although they remain dependant of their mothers until they are six (6) years old. In case of death of a mother, her young is normally adopted by her sisters or brothers, or even by a group member who is not related.
Jane Goodall’s pioneering studies on Chimpanzees
Back in 1960 in the month of July, a young academically unqualified English-woman by the name Jane Goodall arrived at Gombe Stream to commence what has become the longest-running as well as most innovative wild animal study in the world.
its very hard to summarize her ground-breaking research in a couple of sentences; however, the most noteworthy of her observations were behavior modes believed to distinguish the Homo sapiens from the other different living creatures such as inter-community warfare; using of twigs to collect ants plus termites from their burrows; cannibalism and methodical hunting of other types of primates.
Where to See / Track Chimpanzees in Tanzania
There are two major national parks in the country where you can see chimpanzees and these are: Gombe National Park has three chimpanzee communities with the Kasekela being the largest (its on this community that Goodall’s conducted her studies). This park is more accessible with more reasonably priced facilities for budget travellers.
The second place to see Chimpanzees in Tanzania is Mahale Mountains National Park which has 15 communities with the Mimikere community (comprised of 100 chimpanzees being the commonly encountered by tourists). This park offers better facilities for luxury tourists, as well as a more comprehensive wilderness experience.
When is the best for chimpanzee tracking?
Chimpanzee tracking is considered to be an all year round activity, however during the late dry season from July up to October, the chimps prefer to stay on the lower accessible forest slopes and also the steep slopes are less challenging to traverse.