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Gombe National Park

Gombe National Park, renowned for its pioneering chimpanzee research and stunning natural beauty. Further, it offers visitors a unique and intimate wildlife experience. Nestled along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, this small but remarkable park is a must-visit destination. And this is for anyone interested in primates, conservation, and the splendor of Tanzania’s landscapes.

Background: Gombe National Park, established in 1968, is one of Tanzania‘s most famous national parks. And it was largely due to the work of Dr. Jane Goodall. It was here, in 1960, that Goodall began her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees, fundamentally changing our understanding of primates and their behavior. The park spans approximately 56 square kilometers, making it one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania. Despite its size, Gombe’s significance in primate research and conservation is immense.

Location Gombe National Park 

Gombe National Park is located in western Tanzania, along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, near the town of Kigoma. The park is characterized by steep valleys, dense forests, and streams that flow into the lake. Its compact size allows for an intimate exploration of its diverse habitats, from the lake’s edge to the forested slopes.

Gombe National Park - Umarella Voyage Safaris
Chimpanzees in Gombe National Park

Wildlife: While Gombe is most famous for its chimpanzees, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, including:

  • Primates: Besides chimpanzees, other primates in the park include olive baboons, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys.


  • Mammals: The park supports various mammals, such as bushbucks, and there have been occasional sightings of leopards.


  • Birds: Gombe is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 200 bird species recorded. Notable birds include fish eagles, palm-nut vultures, and the iconic African crowned eagle.

Activities in Gombe National Park

Visitors to Gombe National Park can engage in several exciting activities:

  1. Chimpanzee Tracking: The park’s primary attraction is the opportunity to track and observe the habituated chimpanzee groups. Guided treks through the forest provide close encounters with these fascinating primates.
  2. Guided Nature Walks: Explore the park’s diverse habitats on foot, discovering its flora and fauna, and enjoying the serene natural environment.
  3. Bird Watching: With its rich avian diversity, Gombe offers excellent birdwatching opportunities. Visitors can spot a variety of bird species in the forest and along the lakeshore.
  4. Hiking and Scenic Trails: The park features several trails that lead to scenic viewpoints and waterfalls, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and Lake Tanganyika.
  5. Lake Activities: The crystal-clear waters of Lake Tanganyika provide opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach.

How to Reach Gombe National Park:

  • By Air: The nearest airport is Kigoma Airport, which receives flights from Dar es Salaam and other major cities in Tanzania. From Kigoma, the park is accessible by boat.
  • By Boat: The most common way to reach Gombe is by boat from Kigoma. The boat journey along Lake Tanganyika takes about 1 to 2 hours, offering scenic views along the way.
  • By Road and Boat: Visitors can also reach Kigoma by road from other parts of Tanzania, followed by a boat trip to the park.

Best Time to Visit:

Gombe National Park is visited year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to October. During this period, the trails are less muddy, and wildlife, particularly chimpanzees, is easier to spot as they venture closer to the lake in search of food and water. The dry season also offers the best conditions for hiking and other outdoor activities.

In conclusion, Gombe National Park provides a unique and enriching experience for visitors looking to connect with nature and wildlife. From the pioneering chimpanzee research of Jane Goodall to the stunning landscapes of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe offers an unforgettable adventure. Plan your visit to Gombe National Park and immerse yourself in the wonders of one of Tanzania’s most iconic conservation areas.

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