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Gombe Stream National Park

Primate's Playground
Where it began – focus on chimpanzee tracking and some other primate species are present.
TripAdvisor 4.8/5 from 330 reviewsSafariPlace 4.8/5 from 330 reviews

This is what safari is all about – endless plains, endless animals and the famous migration.

Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika.

The terrain of Gombe Stream National Park is distinguished by steep valleys with forest vegetation ranging from grassland to alpine bamboo to tropical rainforest. This was the setting for the ground breaking research of Jane Goodall. With the support of renowned anthropologist Louis Leakey, Goodall set up a small research station in Gombe Stream National Park in hopes of learning more about the behaviour of our closest relative: the chimpanzee .In Gombe, she spent months tracking the elusive chimpanzee troops, particularly the Kasakela chimpanzee community, and observing their daily habits until she was slowly accepted by one troop and was allowed rare and intimate glimpses into chimpanzee society. Today Goodall uses the publicity from her research to advocate for chimpanzee welfare, the conservation of biodiversity, and general stewardship of the Earth. However, The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe, is still regularly seen by visitors.

Indeed, walking through the ancient forests of Gombe Stream Nationall Park, contact with your closest animal relative (the chimpanzee) is heralded by the ‘pant-hoot’ call that starts with one and then reigns in up to a dozen chimps calls, rising in volume, tempo, and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo.

However, Gombe Stream’s high levels of diversity, other than chimps, make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

A nice ornithological experience can be had as well with the park’s over 200 bird species ranging from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.

After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city… a majestic sight that just about sums up the amazing Gombe Stream national Park.

However, the biodiversity of Gombe Stream National Park is primarily threatened by human encroachment as regional populations and farmlands grow. This makes the importance of income from safari tourism ever more important and also helps to provide infrastructure and space to the on-going research into our closest relatives that live in Gombe Stream National Park. The famous research carried out in Gombe led Jane Goodall to found the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, as well as the youth-focused environmental group Roots & Shoots in 1991 which now has over 800 groups in nearly 90 countries around the world. The research conducted by Goodall at Gombe Stream is of great value both to the scientific community and to the park itself. At the time she began her research, Gombe Stream was only a game reserve, and her ground breaking research encouraged support for making the reserve into a national park. The large amounts of publicity her findings received have also brought international attention to Tanzania. Tourism and financial support from donors has benefited not only the park, but the people and conservation efforts of Tanzania as a whole

Our Top Tips For Gombe Stream National Park

A chance to come face to face with chimps, one of Africa’s big apes, including the last surviving member of Jane Goodall’s troop.

Pristine forest at the shore of Lake Tanganyika.

Watching wildlife on a hike is a nice change from vehicle safaris

Visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma.

Swim and snorkel in Lake Tanganyika with almost 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fish

Safari Team Rating of Gombe Stream National Park
  • Remoteness 35% 35%
  • Family 75% 75%
  • Animal Viewing 75% 75%
  • Landscape 80% 80%
  • Flora 85% 85%
  • Birding 75% 75%

Safaris In Gombe Stream National Park

Hotels & Lodges in Gombe Stream National Park

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LUXURY CAMPS

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Activities In Gombe Stream National Park

WATERSPORTS

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HIKING

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CHIMPANZEE TREKKING

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Photos of Safari In Gombe Stream National Park

Wildlife In Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park Flora & Fauna

The main attraction in Gombe Stream National Park is its population of habituated chimps. There are about 100 chimps in the small park. Your guide will take you, on foot, along the forest trails to find them. Once found, you can observe them for one hour. If you are lucky, they’ll be feeding in the canopy, but often they are on the move and you will have to walk through the undergrowth at a remarkable speed to follow them. But they are a sight to behold.

Aside from the chimps, other primates are often encountered. A troop of olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

For ornithologists and keen bird watchers, Gombe Stream National Park has about 200 bird species listed. Most of them are forest birds, which are quite difficult to spot. Particularly since walking in the forest unguided is not allowed and the guided walks are focused on chimpanzees. The lake shore is a good place to see fish eagles and palmnut vultures perched on the palm trees. Peter’s twinspot, a normally elusive forest bird, is quite tame and easily spotted in the camp. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

However, the biodiversity of Gombe Stream National Park is primarily threatened by human encroachment as regional populations and farmlands grow. This makes the importance of income from safari tourism ever more important and also helps to provide infrastructure and space to the ongoing research into our closest relatives that live in Gombe Stream National Park. The famous research carried out in Gombe led Jane Goodall to found the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, as well as the youth-focused environmental group Roots & Shoots in 1991 which now has over 800 groups in nearly 90 countries around the world. The research conducted by Goodall at Gombe Stream is of great value both to the scientific community and to the park itself. At the time she began her research, Gombe Stream was only a game reserve, and her ground breaking research encouraged support for making the reserve into a national park. The large amounts of publicity her findings received have also brought international attention to Tanzania. Tourism and financial support from donors has benefited not only the park, but the people and conservation efforts of Tanzania as a whole.

Gombe Stream National Park Vegetation

MIOMBO

RAINFOREST

Map Of Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park Location & Map

Gombe Stream National Park is located in the Western Kigoma Region of Tanzania 20 km North of Kigoma City. Established in 1968, Gombe is the smallest national park in Tanzania, with only 52 square kilometers of forest running along the hills of the Eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika.

Gombe Stream National Park is not the easiest or cheapest place to get to. The only way to get there is by boat from Kigoma town. Depending on your itinerary, you might book your international flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha town or Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam. In most cases your tour operator will pick you up from the airport or, if not, you can take a taxi. Your tour operator will also book your ongoing domestic flight to Kigoma Airport (TKQ) and will charter a private motorboat to Gombe. The boat trip takes less than an hour.

Kigoma is also connected to Dar and Mwanza by a slow rail service, to Mwanza, Dar and Mbeya by rough dirt roads, and to Mpulungu in Zambia by a weekly ferry. From Kigoma itself, local lake-taxis take up to three hours to reach Gombe, or motorboats can be chartered, taking less than one hour.

The best time of year for getting to Gombe Stream National Park is between February and June, and November to mid-December when as the famous chimps do not roam as far in the wet season. In the wet season it might take 3 or 4 hours to locate the chimps. However, there are better photographic opportunities in the dry season between July and October and in late December.

Gombe Stream National Park Map

Fast Facts On Gombe Stream National Park

Total Land Area

52 sq km About the same size as Bermuda

Elevation above sea level

750-1480 m

About 300 stacked giraffes

Nearest Major City & Airport

KIGOMA
About 20 km East

When To Visit Gombe Stream National Park

Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Jun

Jul    Aug    Sept    Oct   Nov    Dec

View Other Western Circuit Safari Parks

Gombe Stream National Park

Kitulo Plateau National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park

Katavi National Park

Rubundo Island National Park

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