In search of chimpanzees

A once-in-a-lifetime adventure at the world-renowned Gombe Stream Research Center, Tanzania, and gorilla reserve in Rwanda


Primates and Paleoanthropology

Travel to Tanzania and Rwanda in search of our primate cousins. Hosted by Ian Gilby, PhD

June 8–20, 2018

Expedition higlights

  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a chimpanzee research scientist at the Gombe research area, made famous by Dr. Jane Goodall
  • Three days of trekking through the forest in search of chimpanzees, with myriad birds, red colobus monkeys, and baboons along the way
  • Enjoy evening sundowners on the shore of Lake Tanganyika
  • Luxury stay at Ngorongoro Crater to see the “Big 5”
  • Visit to Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world
  • Spend a day trekking to see mountain gorillas and endangered golden monkeys the following day
  • Meet with mountain gorilla researchers from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
  • Carefully curated trip featuring excellent arrangements and transport by a long-time African travel expert

Primates and Paleoanthropology Expedition

Are you ready for a real adventure—not just a view of wild animals from a platform or Land Rover? Then this is the trip for you!

Follow long-time chimpanzee researcher Ian Gilby through the forest at arguably the world’s most famous chimpanzee research site—the Gombe Stream Research Center, founded by Jane Goodall in 1965.

Gilby is a Research Affiliate with the Institute of Human Origins and the Codirector of the Gombe chimpanzee database, which contains detailed daily observations collected at Gombe over the last 55 years, and continuing today.

By trekking through the forest and observing this iconic chimpanzee population, you will learn from Dr. Gilby the life stories of individual chimpanzees and how their personalities affect their social relationships, how and why they cooperate, and how environmental challenges are changing their lives. While at Gombe, you will also have the opportunity to hear from researchers studying other primates, including baboons and red colobus monkeys.

Chimpanzee in Gombe - Photo credit Ian Gilby
Ian Gilby in the field

For the second half of the trip, you will stay at the edge the Ngorongoro Crater for the quintessential African animal experience, and then Olduvai Gorge, an area essential to understanding how our genus, Homo, evolved.

Finally, trek into the forests of Rwanda to observe wild mountain gorillas and golden monkeys and meet with gorilla researchers working at Karisoke, the site made famous by the pioneering work of Dian Fossey.

Contact Julie Russ to reserve your spot today!

Julie Russ, Assistant Director (link sends e-mail)
Office 480.727.6571


  • Accommodations, transport, and meals as specified in the itinerary  
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers
  • Local safari manager accompanying group in Tanzania
  • Drivers and guides in Rwanda 
  • Water, soft drinks, juices, and beers in camps (liquor, wine extra)
  • East African Flying Doctor Society membership
  • Charter flights and scheduled flights as shown


  • International airfare
  • Cost of obtaining passport or visa, excess baggage charges 
  • Meals, wine, liquor unless specified in the itinerary  
  • Expenses such phone, internet, fax, room service, etc.
  • Travel insurance and any items not specified under inclusions 
  • Gratuities


$14,295.00* per person
sharing Gombe Forest Lodge at Gombe,
includes $1,500 per person for Rwanda Gorilla permit
(additional $1,480.00 supplement for a single room)


$12,795.00* per person
sharing TANAPA Rest House at Gombe,
includes $1,500 per person for Rwanda Gorilla permit
(additional $940.00 supplement for a single room)

Pricing is based on a minimum of 8 guests. More confirmed guests will reduce the price per person. The group is capped at 18 people, plus Dr. Gilby and a guide. The Gombe Forest Lodge holds a maximum of 14 people at first-come, first-served availability. The last four travelers will be accommodated at the TANAPA Rest House unless the lower-priced accommodations are preferred. See the detailed Itinerary for more information.

*Charitable Donation

In addition to the cost of travel, the ASU Institute of Human Origins requests a charitable donation of $2,500 per person (under 18 years of age excluded, traveling with family). Your gift will help to fund student scholarships, field and laboratory research, and operations of the institute.

*Cost is based on current exchange rates. Single traveler supplement is required. Your gift of $2,500 per person will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for a New American University, a separate nonprofit organization that exists to support ASU. Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Please consult with your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions (IFAS 30002491). See FAQ page for Deposit and Cancellation information.


Itinerary overview

June 8 to June 20, 2018

June 8
Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport
Arusha Coffee Lodge

June 9
Private air charter to Kigoma, boat transfer to Gombe National Park
Gombe Forest Lodge or TANAPA Rest House

June 10
Visit to historic feeding station, waterfall, Jane’s Peak, chimp trekking
Gombe Forest Lodge or TANAPA Rest House

June 11
Chimp trekking
Gombe Forest Lodge or TANAPA Rest House


June 12
Chimp trekking, birdwatching, and monkey watching
Gombe Forest Lodge or TANAPA Rest House

June 13
Boat to Kigoma, air charter to Manyara Airstrip
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

June 14
Full day Ngorongoro Crater tour
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

June 15
Olduvai Gorge tour
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

June 16
Road transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport, Air to Nairobi
Karen Blixen Coffee Gardens


June 17
Air to Kigali, Rwanda, road transfer to Musanze
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

June 18
Gorilla trekking, visit to Iby Iwacu Cultural Village
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

June 19
Golden monkey trekking, visit to Karisoke Research Center
Road transfer to Kigali Serena Hotel

June 20
Air to Nairobi, dayroom Eka Hotel, evening departure flight