Gombe Street View

Take a Tour of Gombe National Park in Tanzania


Did you know that when Dr. Jane first came to Gombe National Park to observe chimpanzees, her mother, Vanne, was with her?

At first, the chimpanzees fled whenever they saw Jane. But she persisted, watching from a distance with binoculars, and gradually the chimpanzees allowed her closer. One day in November 1960 she saw chimpanzees David Greybeard and Goliath strip leaves off twigs to make tools for fishing termites out of a termite mound. Up until this time, scientists thought humans were the only species to make tools, but here was evidence to the contrary!

One key to success for Dr. Jane, while she was at Gombe, was her ability to be a keen observer. Although most people will not have the opportunity to observe wild chimpanzees, students need to be sharp observers because careful observations are the foundation of scientific inquiry – what we observe determines the questions we ask.

Activity: Become an Observer

Gombe Street View

Image of one of Jane’s early field notes from Gombe. (c) 2010 Jane Goodall Institute: Lessons for Hope – Content. All Rights Reserved.

– Examine a stainless steel spoon and describe the difference in the reflections of the inner and outer side of the curved surfaces. Did you notice this before?

– Select an object and describe it using as many of your senses as possible and then share your description of it and see if another person can guess what it is. Be sure not to mention the name of your object in the description.

– Find and carefully observe a natural object in your environment from at least three different perspectives (e.g. up close,  a few feet away, etc.) Write down three observations from each perspective and hypotheses for what you see. Discuss how the observations were affected by perspective and how the explanation changed with the addition of information.

– Now that you’ve practiced your observation skills, what are some of the things you notice about Dr. Jane’s Gombe home?

Check your observations about Dr. Jane's Gombe home.

  • The house has electricity provided by small solar panels installed on the roof. They provide enough energy for highly efficient LED lights and some charging tasks. Although, Dr. Jane still prefers the warm golden light of candles to the bright harsh electric lights. Can you see some of the candles?

  • Other scientists will stay there when they're doing research, but there are many residents besides humans. At any time one might find 10-20 geckos hunting on the walls and ceiling, several species of Skinks and the occasional snake can be spotted as well. At night, bushbabies can be heard calling back and forth above the house.

  • The corrugated metal keeps out the rain but would be incredibly hot under the African sun and unbearably loud when it rains. To solve these issues, Dr. Jane has always had her metal roof covered with grass thatching, a traditional roof material used throughout Africa. If you look up towards the ceiling, you can see the inside of the metal roof.


Over 100 chimpanzees live in Gombe, in three separate social groups or communities.

Google the chimpanzee climbing a tree

Google the chimpanzee climbing a tree – Google Street View Image

Thanks to National Geographic and other television specials about Jane, Jane’s books about the Gombe chimpanzees, and countless writings about her life and work, Gombe’s chimpanzees are known the world over. The most familiar to the public are the “F” family, a family line headed by the old matriarch Flo, who upon her death was the subject of an obituary in the Sunday Times.

In more recent years the world has come to know a pair who may be unique in the natural world – the chimpanzee twins Golden and Glitter. Twin chimpanzees generally don’t survive in the wild, but Golden & Glitter had the advantage of a doting older sister, Gaia, who helped her mother Gremlin raise the two girls.

– The twins are all grown up, see 2-year-old Gossamer riding on mom Glitter’s back.
What Makes a Chimpanzee Special? – Disneynature CHIMPANZEE Activity
Which Tool Works Best? – Disneynature CHIMPANZEE Activity
– Can you recognize the different chimpanzees in Google Street View?

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Chimpanzees are currently found in 21 African countries—from the west coast of the continent to as far east as western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Gombe is the smallest national park in Tanzania, but it hosts a wide array of wildlife such as: olive baboons, red-tailed moneys, vervet monkeys, over 200 bird species, bushpigs and the occasional hippopotamus and leopard. Running along the shores of Lake Tanganyika the park has three main habitat types: grassland, alpine bamboo and tropical rainforest. Use Google Street View to tour an upper ridge grassland with Miombo Woodlands within the park.

Jane’s Peak is one of Dr. Jane’s most special places at Gombe. This is where she watched David Greybeard make and use tools for the first time. She returns every time she visits.

Now you can tour the Peak and see the amazing views of Gombe and Lake Tanganyika as if you too were sitting on top of Jane’s Peak.


Image of A-Record from 1966

(c) 2010 Jane Goodall Institute: Lessons for Hope – Content. All Rights Reserved.

The Gombe Stream Research Center was founded in 1965 to support Dr. Jane’s chimpanzee research and it acts as a living laboratory. Home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees, Gombe’s chimpanzees are followed daily by JGI’s staff of Tanzanian researchers; their field notes further our understanding of chimpanzee diet, range use, intergroup aggression, health, and other areas of interest. The Center also hosts a regular stream of visiting researchers who conduct both basic and applied research, exploring areas such as relationships between fathers and offspring or female social status and range use.

These checksheets are still used as part of the research program at Gombe, which is the world’s longest-running study of great apes.



Gombe National Park might be far away, but you can use Google Street View to explore your community. When you move on to Step 2: Observe, the first activity is to observe the community around you, but what if you can’t get outside to walk around? Street View can be a great way to bring the outside in!

  • Go to google.com/maps and type in a starting address or location.
  • Click on the picture that appears beneath the address to enter Street View. Or you can also click on the yellow pegman in the lower right corner and drag and drop him on the map.
  • Look at the area with your observer’s hat on:
    • What do you see?
    • Is it what you expected? If not, how does it look different through this lens?
    • Can you tell what season it is?
    • Are there people or animals in your streetview?
    • What nature do you see in your Street View?

And if you and your learners are able to go outside, discuss the comparisons between what you see in reality versus on the screen.

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