Monday, December 30, 2013


NEW YORK, New York (12/2013) Steppes Discovery, a division of Steppes Travel devoted to ethical wildlife travel, announces The Bonobo Great Ape Expedition, a two-week journey beginning August 17, 2014, into the heart of the Congo in search of our closest living, rarely seen relative. Sharing 98.4 – 98.6% of human genes, the Bonobo is even closer to us than the Chimpanzee.

Leading the tour will be renowned primatologists Sally Coxe and Michael Huxley, known locally as Mama and Papa Bonobo for co-founding the Bonobo Conservation Initiative charity (BCI). Rates start at $13,762 per person, excluding international flights, based on a group of 6, and a portion will directly benefit their efforts.  A Steppes specialist will accompany the group to ensure the trip runs as smoothly as possible as travelers are taken by bush plane and by pirogue along the Congo, the world’s deepest river.

This is not a journey for the faint of heart.  Travelers must be fit and unfussy – the Congo Basin which the endangered Bonobos inhabit, is the second largest rainforest (after the Amazon) on the planet and a somewhat demanding terrain. “We are very proud that  Steppes is the only tour operator in the world to offer this amazing experience, one that took our company 15 years to put together to ensure unrivaled adventure and the extraordinary pleasure of not only encountering our Ape ancestors but helping in their survival,” said Steppes’ Managing Director, Justin Wateridge.

The Bonobo is known as the Peacenik of the Animal Kingdom or the Make Love Not War primate: it lives in large communities (up to 120) and resolves conflicts through sex. It is believed that when the Congo River formed two million years ago, it split what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo into two parts. The Chimps went north of the river and became increasingly aggressive because food was scarce. The Bonobos stayed south of the river, where food was always plentiful, so they became harmonious. They are frugivores (fruit-eaters), but they also eat shoots and leaves, and, on occasion, small monkeys.

What distinguishes Bonobos from other primates is their social behavior. They are swingers:  highly acrobatic, they have more frequent sex (age and gender don’t matter though mother/adult son sex is taboo) than other primates and, like humans, they don’t have sex just to procreate but for pleasure, bonding and tension-release. It’s a matriarchal society, compassionate and egalitarian.

For bookings, more information or a detailed itinerary contact:

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