Gombe Stream National Park – Tanzania

Gombe Stream National Park – Tanzania Chimpanzee Tracking Experience

Gombe Stream National park is the smallest national park in Tanzania with an area of 35 square kilometers of protected land. It lies on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika 16km North of Kigoma District. The vegetation of Gombe is comprised of grassland, woodland, and tropical rainforest.

The main attraction of Gombe is habituated chimpanzees. These are well known because of the research carried out by Jane Goodall.
Jane Goodall arrived at the reserve in 1960 with the aim of finding out more about the way of life of chimpanzees. This research project is one of the longest-running studies of any wildlife population.

The park is also home to other primates like the olive baboon, red colobus monkey, and about 200 bird species.

Things to do in Gombe Stream National Park.

1. Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is the most popular activity in Gombe Stream National Park. It involves following forest trails in search of a habituated chimp family.

Other primates such as vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, plant species, and birds can be seen while trekking.

When the chimps are discovered, you are permitted to spend an hour with them in their natural habitat. During this time, you will be able to learn more about their habits and behaviors, as well as observe them as they go about their daily activities such as feeding and hunting. Sightings are almost guaranteed if you go out early in the morning.

2. Bird watching

Gombe National Park is a birding haven. It is home to more than 200 different kinds of birds, including aquatic, migratory, and woodland species. This is due to the presence of tropical rainforests and waterbodies that house a variety of species. This makes it an excellent birding destination.

Bird watching in the park is best done early in the morning as birds awaken from their nests and late in the evening as they return to their nests.

Here are some of the interesting bird species you will see on your visit to Gombe Stream National Park.

 Peter’s twinspot  Livingstone’s turaco  Paradise flycatcher
 Rufous sparrow  Tropical   Double-toothed barbet
 African broadbill  Red-capped robin chat  

3. Visit the Gombe Stream Research Centre


The Gombe Stream Research Centre was founded in 1967 to oversee chimp research in the park. Jane Goodall began this research in 1960.

The study is the world’s longest-running field study of animal species in their natural environment. It also sheds light on chimp demographic patterns, behavior, and threats.

Visits to the Center are made to learn more about Jane Goodall’s discoveries. It is also used to learn facts about chimpanzees, including information on their demographics, hunting, culture, and others.

The research examines risks to chimpanzees like sickness, poaching, and habitat destruction. These may also affect other species in Gombe.

Other activities available in Gombe Stream National Park include hiking to Jane’s Peak and the Kakombe Waterfall, as well as visiting nearby fishing villages. You can also go snorkeling in Lake Tanganyika’s warm waters to see the colorful cichlid fish.

Best Time to Visit Gombe

The best time to track chimps is during the dry months (June to October) when chimps gather on the escarpment’s lower slopes.

Hiking through the woods is much easier when the trails are firm and dry. If you enjoy bird watching, the best time to visit is from December to March. This is when migratory species are all over and resident birds display their colorful breeding feathers.

Where to Stay in Gombe N.P

Gombe Stream National Park
Chimpanzee tracking in Tanzania

Mbali Mbali Gombe is the only place within the park that offers accommodation. Aside from that, there are no hotel or camping options in the park’s vicinity. The nearest accommodations outside of the park are at least two hours away in the city of Kigoma.

Getting there The park can only be reached by boat from Kigoma. You can either hire a speedboat which takes about two hours or take a local “lake taxi” which takes about four hours.

Kigoma can be accessed by scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam and Arusha, a slow rail service from Dar and Mwanza, dirt roads from Mwanza, Dar, and Mbeya, and a weekly ferry from Mpulungu in Zambia.