• Photo: MattiaATH / Shutterstock

Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains National Parks

If your heart is set on tracking our nearest animal relatives—the intriguing, beguiling, and oh-so-human chimpanzees—then take the time and effort to get to one or both of these rarely visited but dramatically beautiful parks. You'll meet very few other visitors, and very few other people on earth will share your experience.

The best time to see chimps is the last two months of the dry season, September and October, when they come out of the forest and move lower down the slopes—sometimes even to the beach.

Don't go trekking if you have a cold, flu, or any other infectious diseases. Chimps are highly susceptible to human diseases, and you certainly wouldn't wish to reduce the chimp population even further.

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