Chimpanzee Travels: On and off the Road in Africa

Overview

A lifelong fascination with primates led Dale Peterson to Africa, which he crisscrossed in hope of sighting chimpanzees in the wild. As with any adventure worth retelling, however, Peterson's detours are as notable as his destinations. With the good-natured fatalism of the tested traveler, Peterson tells of trains and riverboats, opportunists and ecotourists, rain forests and shantytowns as he conveys the pitfalls of going forth on a budget as tiny as the continent is vast. Along the way, we also meet Jane ...

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Overview

A lifelong fascination with primates led Dale Peterson to Africa, which he crisscrossed in hope of sighting chimpanzees in the wild. As with any adventure worth retelling, however, Peterson's detours are as notable as his destinations. With the good-natured fatalism of the tested traveler, Peterson tells of trains and riverboats, opportunists and ecotourists, rain forests and shantytowns as he conveys the pitfalls of going forth on a budget as tiny as the continent is vast. Along the way, we also meet Jane Goodall and several other renowned primate researchers and caretakers. This is travel writing with a purpose, an account that inspires both admiration and concern for Africa's people, places, and natural diversity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1990 and 1991, the author made extended trips to Africa in search of chimpanzees to study. Peterson, coauthor with Jane Goodall of Visions of Caliban, covered nine countries, using local transportation to reach remote places. He found chimps in reserves, zoos, private homes and rehabilitation camps. This exhilarating account of his travels describes the Ndoki Forest Reserve in northern Congo republic as ``Paradise.'' Traveling there with a Bantu guide and four marijuana-smoking pygmies, he encountered gorillas, giant forest hogs and chimpanzees. He went to the Baboon Islands of Gambia to observe research animals brought there for rehabilitation. At the Lop-Okanda Forest Reserve in Gabon, the animals are protected from hunters, but permits have been issued for logging. Peterson writes as well about fellow travelers-bored European tourists, Peace Corps workers, researchers-in this absorbing adventure-nature story. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Peterson, coauthor with Jane Goodall of Visions of Caliban (LJ 2/1/93) and author of The Deluge and The Ark (LJ 2/1/89), weaves a story of his African excursions that will make readers feel like they've been on safari. In this delightful book, Peterson recaps his journeys to find and photograph what is believed to be our closest primate relative. Readers will be amazed at his perseverance in locating the famed Gombe research center, where he met Goodall. Along with well-respected personages such as Goodall and primatologist Amy Vedderm, you'll meet such eccentric primates as Cephas and Polly Boom. You'll also experience the sights, sounds, and sensations of being in a totally foreign environment. Highly recommended where travelogs are popular.-Edell Marie Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., Wis.
Lisa Orzepowski
Peterson, temporarily exhausted with all subjects relating to what he knows best, takes off to Africa for reinvigoration by studying chimps à la Goodall. He embarks on a journey with limited supplies, limited funds, and unlimited expectations. On a continent as expansive as Africa, Peterson does not intend to run into the same characters twice; unfortunately, recurring nemeses seem to taunt him (such as the infamous journalist who always seems to make it to his destinations a couple of days before Peterson does, the nonchalant punk who travels solo and on the sly, and the numerous swindling taxi drivers). From malaria-infested waters and jungles to desert wastelands, Peterson explores the real Africa, while meeting and greeting many chimps, chimp experts, and the occasional Conoco oiler. This book is a journal of his adventures, filled with head-on humor, frustration, and grit. The salient prose and excellent descriptions are as enjoyable as his trip--then again, due to some traveling pitfalls, maybe even more so.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201407372
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Pages: 277
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Dale Peterson is also the author of Chimpanzee Travels: On and Off the Road in Africa, Storyville, USA (both Georgia), and The Deluge and the Ark: A Journey into Primate Worlds. He is co-author, with Richard Wrangham, of Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence. He teaches at Tufts University.

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Table of Contents

1. Chimps, Cows, & Cockroaches 1
2. A Tourist in Zambia 12
3. The Liemba 34
4. Kigoma Interlude 52
5. Photographing Gombe 65
6. The Road to Bujumbura 84
7. Peace in the Hills 92
8. Madness in the City 107
9. Yahoo in Uganda 112
10. Genius in the Jungle 134
11. Technology and the Ape 153
12. Leaders and Heroes 187
13. Snippets 219
14. An American Meal 240
15. Paradise 244
Acknowledgments 275
Bibliography 278
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