Gombe is famous for some of the last remaining wild Chimpanzees in their most natural habitat. And it is equally famous for the long research of chimpanzees conducted by the pioneer Dr Jane Goodall. Her institute has been conducting an extensive 40-year plus research at the park. Situated along the shores of Lake Tanganyika this is the smallest of all the national parks in Tanzania, occupying only 52 sqkm of land. Gombe is probably the only place in the world where one can guarantee sightings of a habituated chimpanzee group.
The park consists of narrow hilly terrain, which starts climbing from the Lakeshore to the top of the rift escarpment. The park is transected by a series of streams, which carve steep valleys into the rift escarpment before flowing into the lake.
The dominant vegetation is thick brachystegia woodland that gives way to narrow belts of lush riparian forest along the river courses. Due to the rugged hilly terrain nature of the park most of the game viewing is done on foot with a professional guide or sometimes by boat.
Concentration of Game
Chimpanzees are definitely the main reason why people come to Gombe. There are however other interesting species of primates found at the park such as olive baboons, vervet, red tailed and red colobus monkeys.
Gombe is also rich with birdlife. Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the park. The most prominent include the palm-nut vultures and fish eagles that are found close to the lakeshore.
Best time to visit
Gombe is open for tourists throughout the year but the dry season from May to October is the best period to visit.
Chimpanzees being the priority for most visitors, mornings start with an early track up the hills to the places where the chimpanzees last nested. Depending on the time of the year, tracking chimpanzees can take anything from half an hour to 3 hours. And sometimes, especially during the rainy season, this tracking can be quite difficult due to the thick bush, rugged terrain and slippery paths.
Besides tracking chimpanzees and other primates in the park, one can also do some other worthwhile activities such as swimming, snorkeling, fishing, walking on the lakeshore, boating and visiting the nearby fishing village of Mwamgongo.
Gombe stream national park can only be accessed by boat from Kigoma or Mahale. Nowadays there are everyday flights between Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Kigoma. Once in Kigoma, Gombe is only an hour by boat.
Gombe being a relatively small park even a day trip from Kigoma would have sufficed. However due to the nature of the species and the difficulty at times to track them together with the remoteness and expensiveness of visiting this park, we suggest at least 2 nights for optimum viewing.
Our Recommendations on Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe is a haven for chimpanzee enthusiasts. The chimps at the park are probably as famous as Dr Jane Goodall herself. Besides this Gombe also offers a completely different taste to your Tanzania Safari. If you can spare a few extra days and can afford it then Gombe will prove to be a worthwhile add on to your safari experience.
We would suggest you start with your normal northern or southern safari then come down to Kigoma and Gombe before ending with Zanzibar. This would work out well logistically.
Customized Itineraries are also available upon request.
Please contact us for a perfect, well-organized and affordable tour of this beautiful park.