Gombe Stream National Park
In excited whoop erupts from deep in the forest, boosted immediately by a dozen other voices, rising in volume and tempo and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo. It is the famous ‘pant-hoot’ call; a bonding ritual that allows the participants to identify each other through their individual vocal stylizations. To the human listener, walking through the ancient forests of Gombe Stream, this spin-chilling outburst is also an indicator of imminent visual contact with the man’s closest genetic relative: the chimpanzee.
Size: 52 sq km.
Location: 16 km north Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania.
Getting there: Kigoma is connected to Dar and Arusha by scheduled flights, to Dar and Mwanza by slow rail service, Dar and Mbeya by rough dirt roads, and to Mpulungu in Zambia by a weekly ferry. From Kigoma, local lake-taxis take up to three hours to reach Gombe, or motorboats can be chartered, taking less than one hour.
What to do: Chimpnazee trekking; hiking, swimming and snorkeling, visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I Presume “at Ujiji near Kigoma, and watch the renowned dhow builders at work.
When to go: The chimps don’t roam as far in the west season (February-June, November-mid December) so may be easier to find, better picture opportunities in the dry (July-October and late December).
Accommodation: 1 new luxury tented lodge, as well a self-catering hostel, guest house and campsites on the lakeshore.