Have you ever dreamed of going on safari to chat with the chimpanzees or mingling with the monkeys? Tanzania might not be the first place to cross your mind when considering vacation destinations, but the many national parks that host guided tours through the heart of where these animals call home just might prove to be the vacation you’ve always dreamed of.
Kigoma, the largest city in this region, is one of the most interesting cities in all of Tanzania. The breathtaking Congo Mountains can be viewed in the distance. This Tanzanian port city is located on Lake Tanganyika and is considered the place be if you’re looking to safari.
Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains National Parks offer tours that allow guests to see buffaloes, chimps, zebras, and lions up close in their natural habitat. Gombe Stream Park is located a little more than six miles from Kigoma. Gombe is considered to be the smallest park within Tanzania; however, it allows for much closer “contact” with these amazing animals that you may not ever see elsewhere. And if you love monkeys, this is the place to be. There is a wide variety of species of chimps and monkeys alike, such as baboons and colobuses, and vervet monkeys. The documentary, The Vervet Forest (2016), illustrates how vervets interact, and is a great way to introduce children to these animals before your vacation. After spending time with the animals, there will be plenty of time to stroll the shore of Lake Tanganyika as well.
The National Park at Mahale Mountains also has various species of chimps; in fact, it is said that there is nowhere else in the world that is home to such a variety. Also, this is one of the only places in the world where these animals share their home with lions, and harmoniously. Visitors love watching the animals engaging each other in their native environment.
After your safari, you can visit nearby Ujiji, an area in which caravans transited historically. Now it is a simple fishing town; however, the historical architecture is some of the finest preserved in the country and the humble locals enjoy sharing their heritage with visitors.