Gombe the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks, is a fragile remnant of chimpanzee habitat, a thin strip of ancient forest set in mountains cut with steep valleys clinging to the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The chimps sip the streams tumbling into the lake while, at night the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats light the horizon like a sprawling city. You can meet the stars of the world’s most famous chimpanzee community, made famous by the pioneering  British researcher, Jane Goodall, whose years of constant obersavation since 1960 have made this the longest study of its kind.


Gombe is a place of personalities. Chimpanzees are as individually unique  as humans and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish the different characters in this cast – their repertoire of pants, hoots, grunts and screams defining the celebrities the powerbrokers, the supporting roles.


Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp’s eyes, assessing you in return. Sharing more than 95% of our genes, it’s a look of recognition from our closest animal relative.


The majority of the park’s mammals are primates – most of them forest species. Likely to be seen in addition to the famous chimpanzees, are the colourful red-tail and blue monkeys. Carnivores are a rarity in the forest, making Gombe a haven for walking safaris.


Size 52 sq km (about 32 sq miles), Tanzania’s smallest park.
Location 16 km (about 10 miles) north of Kigoma and the shore of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania.

Getting there

Drive, scheduled or charter flight from Dar or Arusha slow train for Dar or Mwanza or lake ferry from Burundi or Zambia to Kigoma then local or charter boat from Kigoma to Gombe (2-3hrs).
What to do Chimpanzee trekking; hiking, swimming/snorkelling; visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma and watch the renowned dhow builders at work.
Best Time The chimps don’t roam as far in the wet (February - June, November - Mid December) so may be easier to find; better picture opportunities in the dry (July - October and late December).


One hostel, 1 guest house and 2 camp sites, all self-catering.

Please Note

Strict rules are in place to safeguard you and the chimps. Allow at least 2 to 3 days to see them – this is not a zoo so there are no guarantees where and when they’ll be each day.

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