Come and meet our primate cousins while on holiday in South Africa. Visit the Chimp Eden near Nelspruit and encounter one of the rarest creatures in the world. This is one of the easiest ways to see Chimpanzees in a semi-wild habitat.
The Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Eden
Many people have seen Chimpanzees on Television, but few have the chance to see them in real life. The Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Eden in South Africa is where the program Escape to Chimp Eden, shown on Animal Planet is filmed. You can visit the sanctuary and see these Chimps for yourself.
The sanctuary is perhaps the easiest way to see Chimpanzees outside of a zoo. There are daily guided tours offered three times a day at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00. Two of these tours coincide with feeding time and you can watch the animals forage for food and treats. A visit to this sanctuary is one of the best ways to see Chimpanzees behaving naturally.
About the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Eden
The Chimpanzee Eden was founded by renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr Jane Goodall. It is situated in the Umhloti Nature Reserve just outside of Nelspruit, making it ideal to combine with a safari into the southern regions of the Kruger National Park. It is the only Chimpanzee sanctuary within South Africa, as they are not a native species. Why create the sanctuary here then?
The sanctuary was founded as a home for rescued and orphaned Chimpanzees. Many of its residents are the survivors of poachers for the bush meat and exotic pet trades. It was felt that creating a haven in South Africa was ideal as the Chimps are extremely endangered in their natural habitat. They may be extinct in the wild within the next decade. By moving them to another country it is hoped that they will survive.
At the Chimp Eden the Chimps can live in a risk free environment. It is also hoped that they can act as ambassadors for the conservation of their species. By making them more accessible to tourists it is hoped that they can help promote conservation. The Chimps behaviour is also studied and researchers continue the work that Jane Goodall began in the 1960s at Gombe in Tanzania.
Delight in watching the playful antics of the Chimpanzees
The Chimp Eden provides one of the best opportunities to see the Chimps in semi-wild surroundings. It's the next best thing to paying hundreds of dollars and trekking into the forests of Congo and Tanzania to see them. The Chimps are kept in vast enclosures that closely resemble their natural habitat.
There are several viewing platforms that overlook the forest and the Chimps foraging areas. These allow the visitors to watch the Chimps and see their natural behaviour. Chimps are extremely playful and guests are always intrigued by their antics.
How to Get There
Directions - Take the R22 from Johannesburg and the N4 from Pretoria towards Witbank. Continue through Witbank and Middelburg to Nelspruit. In Nelspruit, turn right at the third robot and take the R40 to Barberton, approximately 12km turn left at the '4x4 Land Rover Experience'. You have now entered Umhloti Nature Reserve - follow the road for approximately 4km and you will arrive at Umhloti Lodge, 3½ hours drive from Johannesburg.