WESTERN CIRCUIT

GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK

Gombe Stream is best known for Jane Goodall's chimpanzee research done in Tanzania's smallest national park. Millennia ago, the highland forests of Zaire extended intoTanzania; the last remnants of this forest exist today only in Gombe and the Mahale Mountains Park. Although the park itself is a mixture of grass, woodlands and forest, it is predominantly a forest park and the majority of its mammals are primates.

There are only a few herbivores in Gombe due to the high rainfall, which has washed the soils clean of many nutrients that make the savannah grasses so nutritious. The most common of the animals that are found here include the bushbuck and bush pig, with an occasional sighting of the gray duiker. This lack of ground dwelling herbivores has ensured a corresponding lack of carnivores, making Gombe perfect for walking safaris.And when walking in Gombe, it is the primates that are the attraction. Years of observation by Jane Goodall and the researchers working with her have habituated the chimpanzees to humans, allowing close viewing and a unique insight into the habits of these highly intelligent primates.

Chimpanzees have been proven to develop very strong social bonds, with family groups living together, continuously grooming, playing and greeting each other. The relationship between mother and offspring has been shown to be particularly strong. Chimpanzees are mainly vegetarian, but they group together to hunt monkeys and bush pigs on occasion. They also show a tool using and making capability, using grass stalks as utensils to collect and eat ants and termites.

In addition to the famous chimpanzees, other primates commonly found in the forest are the fairly rare red Colobus monkey, the red-tail monkeys and the blue monkeys. Ornithologists will be rewarded with blue-breasted kingfishers, Ross's turaco, the African broadbill, trumpeter hornbill and the majestic crowned eagle. each other.