Most famous great ape, which lives in the rainforest of Africa
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The chimpanzee is an animal that appeals to the imagination. This great ape is less popular than the mountain gorilla, but that is not doing this majestic animal right. An encounter with a troop of chimpanzees on a chimpanzee safari in Africa is more than impressive. And you quickly notice why this animal resembles a human the most.
The chimpanzee has no less than 98% of our DNA. Which seems almost unimaginable when you see the animal. And this great ape is almost as big as humans, but a lot lighter, hairier and slightly less intelligent. You can see them in the wild in various places in Africa.
But for animals, they are extremely smart. For example, they are known to use simple tools; with branches they fish for termites. Recently, they have also been seen breaking the shells of turtles by throwing them hard against trees. Behaviour seen in very few animals.
Chimpanzees live in groups in the rainforests of Africa. You can be lucky and encounter these animals in the wild, although the chances are slim. But there are also special treks to chimpanzees, just like mountain gorillas. Where you go out with a guide to look for these animals.
Special excursions are organised, where you go in search of the animals with a guide. These can be intensive trips, where you have to walk for hours through the rainforest. And sometimes climbing. And then suddenly you hear something. Or do you see a headline that looks curiously at you.
The guides know where the animals were last seen. With any luck they are still resting and still at the same spot. Sometimes you have to look further, which is a special experience. You will notice just how good the guides are at tracking. From which I learnt a lot.
Usually you only stay with the animals for a limited time. This is to not disturb them too much in their daily life. You will automatically notice that the animals know you are there. But also that they don't care much about you. And just go on with their business. Like picking fleas from each other, playing and foraging for food.
An encounter with these animals is an experience that you will not soon forget. And you will see for yourself how unprecedentedly human these animals are.