While in Nelspruit for the weekend, we took the opportunity to visit the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden, 14km south of Nelspruit. It’s a sanctuary where rescued chimpanzees from all over Africa are brought to be saved and taken care of. We got a guided tour where we were introduced to the different characters and their stories. Some of them had been beaten badly and malnourished when in a circus, some had been taught to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and some had been left to die after their parents had been killed by poachers. Joao, who is almost 70 years old, spent some years alone next to a baboon cage, so today he understands not only chimpanzee, but also baboon, portuguese, english and afrikaans. There are many chimps in acute need of being rescued, but it is very expensive and only the transport to Nelspruit costs about 4000€. By taking the 14€ tour we made a small contribution to the survival of the sanctuary while getting an opportunity to meet with Jessica, little Tamu, stone-throwing Cozy and their very entertaining friends.
To all of you going to Nelspruit for shopping every once in a while, the place is very close to Nels and easy to find, just follow the R40 road going south towards Barberton for about 12km until you see a sign to the left saying Chimp Eden, then follow the road for another 4km – and you have arrived. There are tours every day at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00 – provided that it is not raining.