They are among our closest relatives, sharing over 98% of our DNA.  Living in family groups of 15 to 20, each chimpanzee group has a personality of its own and seeing them in the wild is everything from humorous to awe-inspiring. Opportunities for observing chimpanzees in the wild in Africa range from tracking unhabituated chimps in Nyungwe Forest or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, to visiting habituated and often long-studied groups in Kibale National Park in Uganda and the Mahale Mountains of western Tanzania. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds of seeing them are still good, especially with habituated groups. The odds are also good that you will see other primates during your hike, including the grey-cheeked managebey and the red-tailed or golden monkey (depending on where you are). In addition, while you explore deep into lush green forests, these treks are generally less strenuous than hiking to find mountain gorillas. You also have the option to visit one of several chimpanzee sanctuaries, including Ngamba Island in Uganda and Sweetwaters in Kenya.

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Marcia Gordon