Planet of the Apes
Our fascination with primates serves as a powerful reminder that chimpanzees and gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans. Encounters in the wild are all about the intimacy of the experience. The gorillas are all huge knuckles and hairy shoulders, the chimps are all antics and comical expressions. The opportunity to spend time with these incredible apes is one of the most exquisite wildlife encounters found anywhere on the planet!
Rwanda offers up one of the most exceptional primate experiences in Central Africa, but also offers a rare glimpse into a society that has overcome immense tragedy and has healed with tremendous dignity, resilience and optimism. The star attraction of course in this tiny landlocked country are the Mountain Gorillas made famous by Dian Fossey (Gorillas in the Mist). The verdant forests and jungles also offer up so much more: chimpanzees, colobus and Golden Monkeys all cavort beneath the canopies. For the “twitchers” out there, the vibrant birdlife (over 670 species recorded thus far) is a bird lover's heaven!
Tanzania – Nestled deep in the rift valley and in a remote and inaccessible area of Tanzania lies Mahale Mountains National Park, offering a refuge for thousands of chimpanzees. It is reportedly one of Tanzania's least visited parks. With no roads and small in comparison to other reserves, you could spend an eternity exploring this area. Greystoke Mahale Camp sits on the turquoise shores of Lake Tanganyika and in addition to the frequent sightings of chimpanzee there are also yellow baboon, red tailed savannah, Sykes monkeys and also colobus monkeys (both red and black & white). It is no wonder this small park has such a big reputation as being one of the finest primate Safari destinations in the world!
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In July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is today Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars. But with her unyielding patience and characteristic optimism, she won the trust of these initially shy creatures. The public was fascinated and remains so to this day. Today, Jane’s work revolves around inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment we all share. The Jane Goodall Institute works to protect the famous chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, which Jane started with a group of Tanzania students in 1991 is the Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program for young people from preschool through university with nearly 150,000 members in more than 120 countries.
Republic of the Congo (the safe one) - For the first time ever Uncharted guests can visit Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the remote north of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) - in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world's second largest expanse of tropical rainforest. Aside from a host of forest biodiversity, it holds Africa's densest population of western lowland gorillas and significant populations of forest elephant. It is also renowned as the richest forest block in central Africa for primates, with eleven diurnal species recorded and more than 100 mammal species (of which around 50 are classified as medium- or large-sized). Activities range from gorilla tracking (habituated groups), pirogue rides along lush river systems, game drives in the savannah, night drives, walks along lush forest streams and salines, and of course time spent at the productive forest bais. Be a primate pioneer and book now for May 2012.
Nothing, not even David Attenborough documentaries will prepare you for the moment you come face-to-face with a wild gorilla or chimpanzee for the first time. Witnessing these incredible primates in their natural environment will transport you to another planet - one you won't want to leave.
Amazing 'Uncharted' Ape Adventures
Sabyinyo Silverback is only minutes away from the headquarters of the Parc National des Volcans from where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla – perhaps one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences possibleLearn more »
The Virunga Lodge is in a spectacular location overlooking the Virunga volcanoes and shimmering lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. Set on a stunning hillside, the lodge has eight bandas with a panoramic view of the Virunga volcanoes and the lakes Ruhondo and Bulera.Learn more »
On a far-flung beach along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, below a huge story-book tropical forest, is the tiny sanctuary of Greystoke Mahale. The slopes of the Mahale Mountains rise behind camp, home to the worlds largest known population of chimpanzees. Learn more »