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tanzania chimpanzee safaris

4-day or 5-day Chimp Safaris in Tanzania in Gombe Stream National Park or Mahale Mountains National Park

Trekking to see Africa’s chimpanzees is an exhilarating experience! This great ape species is the closest living relative of humans and seeing them in their natural environment is both thrilling and fascinating.

Chimps occupy a wide range throughout Africa, but we rate Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains as two of the best places on the continent to see chimpanzees. The long-term presence of researchers has made the primates well-habituated to human presence, meaning you can spend time among them without disturbing them or changing their behavior.

Walk in the footsteps of famous primate researcher Jane Goodall within the Gombe National Park or in nearby Mahale Mountains National Park on one of these two chimpanzee safaris.

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Itinerary

Chimpanzee Trekking in Gombe National Park

In Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, chimps have been studied and habituated for more than a half-century. The dramatic setting provides the ideal location for viewing some of our closest living relatives and to learn about Goodall’s groundbreaking research into chimp behavior.

Day 1 – Arusha/Kigoma: Fly from Arusha by light aircraft to the bustling lakeside town of Kigoma in Western Tanzania. Upon landing, you’ll be transferred to the Kigoma Hilltop Hotel. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon swimming in the pool or taking in the views from the hillside. Dinner and overnight here. (D)

Set on a remote outcrop amongst acres of lush gardens overlooking Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma Hilltop Hotel is the ideal stopover point for safaris to the Western Parks. The hotel has recently been refurbished to complement our other properties and makes the perfect place of relaxation, with a wonderful inviting atmosphere and offers every modern comfort for the weary traveler. The hotel is the ideal venue to host intimate wedding ceremonies and very popular for conferencing and incentive groups. Combine work and pleasure in this tranquil setting, at the end of the day relax on your veranda overlooking the lake or cool off in the spectacular flower-shaped swimming pool. The hotel boasts two restaurants, serving dishes to suit everyone’s taste. Enjoy freshly caught Nile perch at the thatched open-deck poolside restaurant overlooking the lake with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, or an authentic Indian dish in the Sangara Restaurant. After a long day, sundowners are served around the fire with the dazzling night sky, which is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden fishing boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.

Day 2 – Gombe Stream National Park: Enjoy breakfast, then travel by boat to Gombe Stream National Park. Enjoy your first chimpanzee safari in Tanzania in steep hills and beautiful mountains. Tracking the chimps of Gombe is a magical experience. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest until you finally view these amazing creatures. Later, return to your camp to enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters of the lake, snorkeling, or simply relaxing on the beach. There are two spectacular waterfalls in the area, Kakombe, an easy half-hour walk, and Mkenke, a little further for the more adventurous. Meals and overnight at Gombe Forest Lodge. (B, L, D)

In the lush shade of ancient forest trees, just off the shores of Lake Tanganyika, lies the small yet intimate Gombe Forest Lodge. It may be the smallest of our lodges but offers complete privacy by catering for just 14 guests at a time. This is a lodge totally at ease with its surroundings with an absolutely delightful atmosphere. The cozy dining area, just a couple of steps off the beach, is built on a wooden platform with an extended outside deck shaded by the forest. A small library with a selection of books and novels are also available.

Day 3 – Gombe Stream National Park: Today you will enjoy the second day of chimp trekking. Spend your afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Gombe Forest Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Kigoma/Arusha: Have breakfast, then bid farewell to Mahale. Transfer by boat, then fly back to Arusha with picnic lunch. (B, L)

 

Chimpanzee Trekking in Mahale Mountains National Park

In Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains National Park, spectacular peaks rise from crystal clear Lake Tanganyika, creating one of the most dramatic nature settings anywhere. On the slopes, thick forests provide the perfect home for some of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees. Here you’ll spend your mornings tracking these fascinating creatures, watching their daily routines and comic antics. Your afternoons will be spent relaxing on the white sand beach or boating in Africa’s deepest and longest lake. All the while, you’ll see precious few other people as there are no roads leading to this remote wilderness, and it’s only accessible by boat.

Day 1 – Mahale Mountains National Park: Fly from Arusha by light aircraft to Mahale Mountains National Park. On this scenic trip, you’ll see the lovely plains and mountains of western Tanzania. Then, near the shores of Lake Tanganyika, you’ll land at the airstrip. Enjoy a boat transfer (there are no roads here) to Greystoke Camp, a luxury tented camp on the shores of the lake. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon swimming or boating. Overnight at Greystoke Camp. (L, D, Dr)

Lake Tanganyika lies on the western edge of Tanzania and is about as remote as you can get. Greystoke Camp’s six open-fronted bandas are set just on the forest line, looking out over the lake, with dressing rooms behind and upstairs chill-out decks; they are designed with flair, generosity, and passion for the most demanding of castaways. The bathrooms are set just behind, and accessible via a short wooden boardwalk. They all have flush toilets and powerful showers, with hot and cold water available on demand.

Day 2 – Mahale Mountains National Park: Enjoy one of two splendid days in Mahale. This pristine park is home to the largest concentration of wild chimps in Tanzania. Although wild, some groups have been habituated, giving visitors the chance to see them up close. You’ll spend your morning tracking some of the family groups here. At times, the terrain is steep and thick with brush and trees, but your hard work will be rewarded when you see our closest living relatives. Return to camp for lunch, then choose from swimming, boating, relaxing or fishing ($50 fishing license required) in the afternoon. Overnight at Greystoke Camp. (B, L, D, Dr)

Day 3 – Mahale Mountains National Park: Today, you will spend a second day chimp trekking in Mahale (subject to permit availability). If you don’t feel up to trekking, you can have the day at your leisure to relax by the lake. Overnight at Greystoke Camp. (B, L, D, Dr)

Day 4 – Mahale/Arusha: Have breakfast, then bid farewell to Mahale. Transfer by boat, then fly back to Arusha with a picnic lunch. (B, L)

With the 5-day stay, you will enjoy an additional day at Greystoke Mahale. Seven-night visits also available—call for pricing. Good sturdy but lightweight walking boots/shoes are recommended.

 

Interested in these chimpanzee trekking trips? Give us a call or drop us an email.

Quick Facts

Perfect for:

  • Perfect for Chimpanzee Trekking
  • Perfect for Active Travelers
  • Perfect for Adventure Seekers
  • Duration 4 - 5 days
  • Departures Departs Mondays and Thursdays
  • Accommodations Hotel, tented camp or luxury tented camp
  • Fitness Rating Moderate
  • Activities Chimp trekking, nature walks, swimming/boating, optional fishing
  • Safari Type Primates
  • Style Deluxe
  • Land-Only Price $$

*Pricing is per person and an estimate. Contact a Journey Specialist for a customized quote.
$ = <$5,000 | $$ = $5,000 – $9,999 | $$$ = $10,000 – $20,000 | $$$$ = >$20,000

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