Celebrating 55 Years of Dr. Jane Goodall in Tanzania

Hannah Champion

14 Jul 2015

Ground Breaking Research

When many think of Tanzania they envisage the sweeping plains of the Serengeti National Park, the Big Five and of course, Mount Kilimanjaro. All of these are principal elements of any first trip to Tanzania. However, did you know that Tanzania is one of the best places in the world to see chimpanzees in the wild and is home to some of the most ground-breaking primate research ever?

Today marks the 55th anniversary of Dr. Jane Goodall arriving in Tanzania to launch her pioneering research into wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park. This park is home to habituated chimpanzees where Jane’s work still continues to this day. Her research into chimpanzee personalities and behaviours was the first of its kind and didn’t follow the standard scientific rules of animal observation. Jane took the time to analyse, in-depth, the family dynamics of the chimpanzees in Gombe and began to understand their social hierarchies and personality traits. This led to her forming a bond with her favourite chimpanzee David Greybeard (the first chimpanzee in Gombe to trust her when she arrived). 

Thanks to Jane and her team we are now lucky enough to understand these creatures more than we could ever have imagined and her conservation and research continues to advance.

In addition to Gombe, Mahale Mountains National Park is home to around 1000 chimpanzees and actually has the highest density of primates of any park in Africa! Its rugged, forest landscape is very different to that of the ‘Lion King’ image of other parks in Tanzania but within it lies a magical experience for any wildlife enthusiast. Chimpanzees are cheeky, inquisitive creatures and due to the Mahale chimpanzees being habituated to humans they are happy to be observed at close range. Treks to see the chimps can be somewhat strenuous, depending on where the animals decide to reside that day, but the hike is well worth it and the small group sizes make for an interesting and intimate experience!

If you want to pair your trip to Mahale and Gombe with a wild game experience, head to Kavati National Park. This is a really great place to see elephants, lions and leopards while still being in a relatively untouched part of the country. This means you get top quality wildlife encounters without the high numbers of tourists.

Please get in touch with our Tanzania destination specialist for more information.

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