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Gombe National Park

Gombe National Park

Covering an area of only 56 km, Gombe National Park 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 shores of Lake Tanganyika. Chimpanzees share about 98% of human DNA. And no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants. The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates.

Gombe National Park’s most attractions are its famous primate inhabitants and it’s connection to Jane Goodall. First researched in the 60’s by Jane Goodall, Gombe is a haven for chimpanzee lovers. Many of Gombe’s chimpanzees are well habituated inside the park. Though it is a little difficult but the experience is so tempting. If you head out early in the morning. Sightings are nearly guaranteed and incredible.

In addition to the main attractions, the chimpanzees, the park is also home to a troop of habituated olive baboon. That can usually be found on the lakeshore. The mammals found here are forest species mostly primates including; baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys and red colobus monkeys.

The park also harbours diverse colourful bird species like the African broadbill, Black saw-wing, Double-toothed barbet, Kenya rufous sparrow, crowned eagle, African Paradise Flycatcher, Livingstone’s turaco, Red-capped robin-chat, Red-chested cuckoo, Peter’s twinspot, African fish eagle, Ross’s turaco, Palm-nut vulture, Yellow-rumped tinkerbird among others.

Gombe National Park comprises a narrow strip of mountainous country bounded in the east by the crest of the Great Rift Valley escarpment and in the west by Lake Tanganyika. The World’s longest and second deepest lake at 1,400 meters deep.

Gombe Stream, like its sister game park of Mahale Mountains to the south, is a park without roads. Where you can experience nature on foot accompanied by the park guide. The park’s vegetation varies from the evergreen forests of tall trees to open woodlands and grasslands.


Activities in Gombe National Park

Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee Trekking is the most sought-after Tanzania safari activity in Gombe National Park. The park has over 150 habituated chimpanzees that are all used to human presence. Therefore, you will be able to spend time with them while observing their ways of life and take memorable moments with these great primates. 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.

While on the trek, chimpanzee sightings are not often guaranteed, therefore, spotting them is by chance. After you have discovered your chimpanzee troop, you will have up to an hour to watch and observe the troop’s behaviors and habits. Take as many memorable pictures as possible to help you keep memories.



With over 200 recorded species, Gombe National Park is extremely abundant in birds. It boasts a variety of water birds, forest birds and savannah birds among others. And depending on the time of year, especially from November to April, you may see several migratory birds that generally migrate from Europe at the beginning of the rainy season. Bird species to expect during your Tanzania birding safari in Gombe include; the trumpeter hornbill, Russ’ Turaco, palm nut vulture, African fish eagles and sunbirds among others.


Diving and Snorkeling

Travelers on Tanzania safaris to Gombe National Park can also enjoy snorkeling and diving adventures on Lake Tanganyika. The lake is located west of Gombe National Park and it is an excellent location for diving and snorkeling. Lake Tanganyika’s water maintains a constant 250C and visibility may reach as deep as 20 meters in the dry season. However, it’s crucial to know that there are possible crocodiles, hippos and Bilharzia in specific regions of the lake therefore working with a local expert is necessary. Tourists can also enjoy other activities such as waterboarding, water skiing, besides snorkeling and diving.


Guided Nature Walk

Guided Nature walks are conducted in the morning. Visitors may go deep into the forest to get up close and personal with the park’s magnificent landscape and also wildlife including monkeys, baboons and birds among others.

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.


When to visit

The best time to visit Gombe National Park is during the dry season from June to September. Trekking through the forest is much easier at this time of year and the likelihood of seeing the chimpanzees increases.


How to get to Gombe National Park

By Road, You will need about 2 to 3 days to travel from Arusha to Kigoma and thereafter from Kigoma to Gombe National Park, you will use a speed boat which takes about 4 to 5 hours.

By Air, A flight to Kigoma and then a boat to the park is the quickest way to access Gombe National Park.


Gombe Entry Gates

Gombe National Park has only one entry gate and it is known as;

Kigoma Gate


Accommodations in Gombe National Park

Gombe National Park has various accommodations and they include;

Luxury Accommodations

Mbali Mbali Gombe Lodge

Lake Shore Lodge