If you've ever wondered why people love primate safaris, watch top chimpanzee trekking guide, Mwiga Mambo in this video as he tells his story of a very clever female chimp at Greystoke Mahale.
Guides like Mwiga are the reason our travelers come home from Africa inspired not only by the wildlife, but by the people who reveal it to them. Mwiga has spent much of his life in the forests of Mahale and is the camp's resident chimpanzee expert, following in the steps of his uncle, Kasakampe, who worked for the original Japanese research team from Kyoto University in the 1960's.
When you visit Mahale, your specialized chimpanzee trekking guide will take you on a two to three hour walk into the forest in search of the chimpanzees. While much of the walking follows forest trails, you should be prepared for the occasional scramble through foliage when you are chimpanzee trekking. Once you've located them, you'll enjoy an hour observing their interactions and antics, all the while wearing a face mask to prevent transmitting human diseases to the chimpanzees.
Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest protected area for wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, and the Japanese research project that began in 1965 is the second longest continuous field study of chimpanzees in the world. Thus, the habituated chimpanzees at Mahale are used to the presence of humans, and will go about their business while ignoring you, sometimes in very close proximity. The guides and trackers, too, are very familiar with the animals' individual temperaments based on years of observation, as you can tell when you watch Mwiga tell his story about this charming "towel thief," a companion video to "the romantic chimp" video.
"They think, they watch, and then they learn." -Mwiga Mambo