. Gombe Stream National Park is one of only two places in Tanzania where tourists can enjoy chimpanzee trekking tours; where they explore the unique behaviors and lifestyle of the endangered chimpanzees in their natural environment, besides the Mahale Mountains National Park.
Gombe Stream National Park is the smallest National Park in Tanzania located in the country’s western region in Kigoma. Along the hills of the Eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, the park covers an area of 35 square kilometers; but despite its small size, Gombe Stream is one of Tanzania’s most famous national parks. Established in 1968, the park is popularly known as the site where Jane Goodall launched her behavioral research on the endangered common chimpanzee populations and other primates. Gombe Stream National Park is one of only two places in Tanzania where tourists can enjoy chimpanzee trekking tours; where they explore the unique behaviors and lifestyle of the endangered chimpanzees in their natural environment, besides the Mahale Mountains National Park.
For over 50 years, Jane Goodall committed her resources to the study of primate behavior – premiering the Kasekela chimp group as the first habituated chimp group in Gombe Stream National Park. The Kasekela chimpanzee community is so popular that it has even appeared in several wildlife books and documentaries. Moreover, Gombe Stream National Park is home to two other habituated chimpanzee groups; in general, the park is currently home to over 150 habituated chimpanzees open to tourists for trekking. As a result, this makes Gombe Stream National Park a popular Tanzania safari destination.
Aside from chimpanzees, the park is also home to several baboon and monkey species including blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, red colobus, and red-tailed monkeys, among others. Reachable only by boat, the remote Gombe Stream National Park is endowed with an impressive diversity of habitats ranging from lush tropical rainforest, grassland, woodland, and steep valleys. As a result, the park is home to several other wildlife including bushpigs, African leopards, hippos, reptiles, and over 200 recorded bird species; enough to give you an ideal Tanzania wildlife safari experience while visiting the country.
Located in the capital of Kigoma – Kigoma, Gombe Stream National Park is quite remote and can only be reached by boat from the capital. The most convenient way to access the park is by air and depending on your schedule, you may choose to take a domestic flight to Kigoma airport (TKQ) and then hire a private motorboat to Gombe. The boat ride is about an hour long. Your tour operator can help you arrange for your domestic flight and transfers to the park. International tourists can fly to Tanzania either through Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha or Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam – the country’s major international airport. You may also take a public motor boat or ‘lake taxi’ from Kigoma to the park. This journey takes around four hours.
Besides chimpanzees, monkeys, and baboons, Gombe Stream National Park provides a haven for a variety of wildlife: these include numerous reptile species such as pythons, geckos, and vipers can be seen on game viewing safaris in the park. More so, the park is home to a range of leopards and lions (though they are rarely seen), as well as bushpigs and hippos. When it comes to birdlife, Gombe Stream National Park offers thrilling African birding tours, especially for forest and water birds.
The park is home to over 200 recorded bird species; among which include, the African broadbill, Palm-nut vulture, Ross’ Turaco, Paradise fly-catcher, Double-toothed barbet, African fish eagle, Kenya Rufous sparrow, Livingstone’s Turaco, several migratory species. Gombe Stream National Park also boasts over 250 species of beautiful cichlids, and up to 500 species of butterflies; which offer breathtaking sights to tourists during guided nature walks in the park.
Chimpanzee trekking is the most sought-after Tanzania safari activity in Gombe Stream National Park. The park presents over 150 habituated chimpanzees which are all acclimated to human presence; thus, you will be able to spend time with them while observing their way of life and enjoy capturing memorable moments with Africa’s great apes. Though they share the human DNA, there are several parallels between people and chimpanzees; and as you observe them, you will be captivated by the different behaviors they have with humans, such as nurturing their offspring.
Chimpanzee trekking in Gombe is done on a guided woodland walk to see the unique apes, as well as up to 82 other animal species that live in the parks. While on the trek, chimpanzee sightings are not often guaranteed; yet, with skilled guides, the odds are in your favor. After you have discovered your chimpanzee troop, you will have up to an hour to watch and observe the troop’s behaviors and habits. To trek chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, one requires a chimp permit and a chimp permit for Gombe Stream National Park is $100.
With over 200 recorded species, Gombe Stream National Park is extremely abundant in birds; boasting a variety of water birds, forest birds, savannah birds, etc. And depending on the time of year, especially from November to April, you may several migratory birds that generally migrate from Europe at the beginning of the rainy season. Bird species to expect during Tanzania birding safaris in Gombe include the trumpeter hornbill, palm nut vulture, Russ’ Turaco, African fish eagles, and sunbirds, among others.
Travelers on Tanzania safaris to Gombe Stream National Park can also enjoy snorkeling and diving adventures on Lake Tanganyika. Located west of Gombe Stream National Park, Lake Tanganyika is an excellent location for diving and snorkeling; the lake’s water maintains a constant 25 degrees Celsius all year, and visibility may reach as deep as 20 meters in the dry season. Cichlids in the lake are brilliant and colorful and because most diving takes place along the shore, it is ideal for both beginning and intermediate divers. However, it’s crucial to know that there are possible crocodiles, hippos, and Bilharzia in specific regions of the lake; so, working with a local expert is necessary. Tourists can also enjoy other activities such as waterboarding, water skiing, etc. besides snorkeling and diving.
Another exciting tourist activity to enjoy while on a safari to Gombe Stream National Park is a guided nature walk. Conducted in the morning, visitors may go deep into the forest to get up close and personal with the park’s magnificent landscape, and wildlife including monkeys, baboons, and birds, among others on guided nature walks.
Furthermore, take to the Goodall Foundation station, where you will be given a tour of the former’s study facility on common chimpanzees and other primates; to appreciate her outstanding studies on primate chimpanzee behavior and especially her contribution towards chimpanzee conservation efforts that she began several years ago.
Guided sport fishing adventures in Gombe Stream National Park are done on the massive Lake Tanganyika, and while on fishing tours in the park, the park mandates that anybody interested in participating get a fishing permit. You will be delighted to catch a variety of fish, particularly tilapia and if you want, get an opportunity to prepare the fish you caught and feast on it.
While Gombe Stream National Park is available to tourists all year, the ideal months to visit the legendary Tanzania chimpanzee trekking destination; are during the dry season from June to October and December through February. This is perfect for chimpanzee trekking. Around this time, the primates are visible since the forest trails are accessible and easy to navigate, compared to during the rainy season when they are muddy and treacherous. The rainy season in Gombe Stream National Park occurs from March to May and in November.
Gombe Stream National Park offers various accommodation facilities to travelers on Tanzania safaris, ranging from luxury to midrange to budget safari lodges and camps. Top accommodations in Gombe Stream National Park include;
Set on an isolated outcrop on acres of beautiful gardens overlooking Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma Hilltop Hotel is the ideal hideaway for those seeking luxury and leisure; while visiting Gombe Stream National Park. Located just 15 minutes from Kigoma Airport, the hotel is conveniently accessible for all travelers. The hotel consists of 30 en-suite cottages; each with a balcony that offers a view of Lake Tanganyika. The hotel also provides long-term stay packages for volunteers and NGO aid workers. Guests at the hotel can enjoy several water activities such as; jet skiing, water skiing, diving, and snorkeling to admire the vast diversity of fish in the lake. There are fishing trips and boat safaris available, as well as a gym, tennis court, pool table, darts board, and table tennis at Kigoma Hilltop Hotel.
Located on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, Mbali Mbali Gombe Resort is an elite lodge with 7 deluxe safari tented bandas with canvas roofs that stretch over raised private wooden decks. The bandas are all en-suite, overlooking Lake Tanganyika’s magnificent shoreline. Each room contains twin or double-sized hardwood four-poster beds with comfortable mattresses, clean linens, lamps on a small table and the decked floor, a cabinet, and a Colonial-style dressing desk and chair; all locally manufactured. There is power and hot water available 24 hours a day at Mbali Mbali Gombe Lodge.
Sunset Vista Hotel is located in Kigoma, less than 1 km from Kigoma Train Station and about 29 kilometers from Gombe Stream National Park. The lodge has 35 en-suite rooms with baths and showers. There is a complimentary wireless Internet connection to keep you connected, as well as satellite TV to keep you entertained. Phones with free local calls are supplied at the hotel as a convenience, and housekeeping is performed daily. There is a garden, free private parking, a communal lounge, a bar, and a restaurant.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
White Water Rafting