Tanzania Wildlife Safari and Chimpanzee Trekking Dispatch
January 10, 2017 – The CHIMPANZEES!!
Dispatch by Nancy Souza
The day was here – and the time was near to do what we had come here to do – track wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat - and the camp was filled with such excitement!!! There is a rich, proud history of chimpanzee observation here in Mahale that includes ground-breaking chimp research, and we were briefed on all the ways to protect THEM from US… including wearing protective masks and gear as our "trackers" would be cutting new paths while our "guides" move us safely in the direction of the "M community" of chimps that live in this Mahale Lakefront area.
We got word around 8:45 AM that the chimps had been located so we jumped on the boat that would take us to the launching place closest to their current location. All we had to hope was that they stayed close enough for us to reach them within the three hour period that we are appropriated to visit with them (byTanzanian Park Service regulation). The rules are strict about visitation so as to cause the least disruption to the chimpanzee "unit groups."
We broke our party of eight into two groups and off we went (Oliver and Sabine from Germany joined me and Mom, and Phil from Australia joined Donna and the girls). So when they said we would "sweat" we had no idea they meant "drenched!" HA! I was so proud of my mom as we climbed very steep mountainous terrain following the sounds and signals from the guides ahead. All of it was worth the effort as we experienced a day of observation and learning that was truly thrilling. The pictures will tell some of that story!!!
Needless to say a shower never felt so good upon our return to camp and we enjoyed so much the reminiscing and reflection on a day with such beautiful animals – our closest living relations! Lunch, an afternoon of rest, high tea, and happy hour all preceeded dinner at 8:00 PM and a welcomed head on the pillow by 10:00 PM with great anticipation for our second and final day in search of our chimp friends in this mind-blowing area!