Rhymes of Wilderness

Gombe Stream National Park

Deep in the jungle, an eager whoop erupts, accompanied by a dozen additional voices, increasing in volume, pace, and pitch to a wild screeching crescendo. It’s the famed ‘pant-hoot’ call, a bonding rite in which participants can recognize one other by their unique vocal styles. This spine-chilling eruption is also an indication of near visual encounter with man’s closest genetic relative: the chimpanzee, to the human listener trekking through the ancient woodlands of Gombe Stream.

Gombe is Tanzania’s smallest national park, a vulnerable chimp habitat straddling the steep hills and river basins that enclose in the sandy northern side of Lake Tanganyika. Jane Goodall, who began a behavioural research program in 1960 that is now the world’s longest-running study of its type, made the park’s chimpanzees renowned.

Visitors may still observe the matriarch Fifi, the last living member of the original community, who was just three years old when Goodall first arrived in Gombe.

Chimpanzees and humans share 98 percent of their DNA, and no scientific knowledge is necessary to discern between the celebrity, powerbroker, and supporting characters’ distinct repertoires of pants, hoots, and screams. When you gaze into a chimp’s eyes, which are examining you in return, you could notice a glint of understanding – a glance of apparent recognition across the tiniest of species borders.

Primates are the most noticeable among Gombe’s other animals. A group of beachcomber olive baboons has been studied since the 1960s, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys, the latter of which is routinely persecuted by chimps, adhere to the forest canopy.

From the renowned fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that bounce tamely around the visitors’ center, the park’s 200-odd bird species vary from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twin spots.

After nightfall, the lanterns of hundreds of little wooden boats bobbing on the lake like a vast metropolis add to the magnificent night sky.

Gombe Stream National Park is located in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s smallest park, at 52 square kilometers (20 square miles),

Location: 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Kigoma, Tanzania, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Location Map

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Tanzania #Unforgettable

These are the timeless sights and sounds of the Serengeti, and on Rhymes of Wilderness safari tours, they signal the start of each thrilling day. A safari features the continent’s finest guides, who expertly reveal your destination’s countless wonders.

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