Our guide to
Jane Goodall Experience
Jane Goodall is an internationally famous primate expert and environmentalist with a passion for exploring humanity, nature and a long term role in the preservation of wilderness habitat to protect chimpanzees in Tanzania in particular.
Tarzan and jungle stories of Africa were enchanting and inspirational to Jane as a little girl growing up in war scarred England in the 1940s. Years later, Jane found herself working in research and Tanzania getting close to the chimpanzees, studying their behaviours from tender hugs to ruthless killing. Jane was soon accepted by a local troop she spent every day with and realised that what she saw challeneged every perception about chimpanzees.
Not a primitive species with a simple existence at all, Chimanzees are highly intelligent, emotional creatures much like humans and live in complex social groups.
Working with National Geographic in 1965 on a documentary brought to life the reality of chimpanzees in the wild. Jane Goodall lived in Gombe basically full time until 1975 and during this time, Jane accumulated a wealth of data that is still crucial in today’s research and understanding of Chimpanzees.
These days, Jane travels the world having founded Jane Goodall Institutes in nine countries including Australia, Tanzania, the UK and USA.
With Jane, we support and promote the campaign to conserve wilderness where wildlife such as the chimpanzees reside. Afterall, chimpanzees are more like us than we can ever imagine. They have personalities, are capable of rational thought and emotions like sorrow and joy.
So it is an absolute pleasure and honour to be able to witness Chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Who knows just how long they will be on this earth so there is no time better than now.
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Where to Chimpanzee Trek
Jane’s work was focused in Gombe Stream National Park, one of the smallest parks in Tanzania just over 32 square kilometres. The landscape is distinguished by steep valleys and the forest vegetation varies from grasslands to tropical rainforest and alpine bamboo. It’s accessible by boat and the highlight is of course chimpanzee trekking. You will see other primate species like olive baboons, red colobus, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys. There are over 200 bird species, 11 species of snakes and the rare sighting occasionally of leopard and hippo. If you stay on Lake Tanganyika you are well positioned for the chimp trekking plus swimming and snorkelling in the lake with over 100 kinds of cichlid fish.
In addition to Gombe you have the Mahale National Park more difficult to reach yet hugely rewarding and a genuinely rewarding and powerful wildlife safari.
Chimpanzee Trek Uganda
Kibale Forest National Park in Western Uganda is home to the chimpanzees and contains a diversity of landscapes with lowland and montane forests. You can trek to see chimpanzees and 12 other primate species and this park has the highest concentration of these creatures in all of Africa.
Uganda Mangabey, red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey are here plus blue monkey and black and white colobus. Wildlife is rich with elephants, bushbucks, sitatungas, warthogs, buffalo, leopard, golden cats, servals, mongoose and on the odd occasion, lion.
Chimpanzee Trek Rwanda
Rwanda has the Nyungwe Forest National Park, home to chimpanzee with around 500 individuals. Two of the troops have been habituated and so trekking here is possible and hugely rewarding if you get close to them. One troop is in the main Nyungwe forest whislt the second troop is in Cyamudongo, a small forest patch east of Nyungwe forest proper – yet the troop can move at anytime based on weather and food patterns plus territory.
The beauty of Rwanda and indeed Uganda is you can gorilla trek and chimpanzee trek in the one holiday. It’s amazing to see the difference between the two primate species and you will come home truly inspired and touched by the opportunity to get close to our nearest relatives.
What to expect Chimpanzee trekking
Like a gorilla trek, chimpanzee trekking is an early start as you leave the warmth of your bed around 5am for a quick breakfast and head off with backpack for the starting point of the trek. Chimpanzees nest somewhere new each night so trackers head off early and ahead of you to find the troops and communicate with ranger guides.
You may walk for one to six hours in search of the troop and then it’s just an hour with them, observing closely how life unfolds each day for chimpanzees. You will see first hand what makes them our closest relative with 98.7% DNA shared. Listen to their communication which is deafening calls and screams, pant hoots and thunderous slapping of the trees. You often hear before you see these stunning primates.
Time with gorillas is often more calm and peaceful because they don’t move like Chimpanzees do. A Chimpanzee trek will see you following the troop through the tree canopy so sightings can be sporadic and rushed. It is still one of the most significantly humbling and rewarding wildlife experiences in Africa.
Chimpanzee Trek top tips
- You must be 16 years or above
- Average to good level of fitness is required
- Take your boots, long pants, light weight long sleeved shirt and rain jacket, it’s a forest after all
- Carry a good amount of water and some snacks because you may be hiking for a few hours
- Camera is essential and know your shutter speeds because Chimps move through tree canopy sometimes at lightening speed
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