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Gombe Stream National Park

Established in 1968, the Gombe Stream National Park is a stunning thin strip of antique forest nestled amid the mountains and valleys that border the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

It is located in Kigoma District of Kigoma Region on the Western Tourism Circuit of Tanzania. The park is about 16 km (10 mi) north of Kigoma, which is the capital of the country’s westernmost region bearing the same name. The western circuit is seldom visited due to its remoteness, but visitors are rewarded with untouched wilderness and a secluded safari experience.

It is the smallest national park in the country and among the smallest on the continent, spanning an area of only 35 sq. km (13.5 sq. mi) of protected land along the mountainous terrain of the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Lake Tanganyika on the other hand is the second deepest lake in the world.


Kigoma District, Tanzania


Accessibility is quite difficulty and is only by boat within the park and by flight.

A direct flight from Dar to Kigoma takes about 2 hours and only chartered flights are available from Arusha.


Options are few, but there are a few facilities around Lake Tanganyika and the nearby district of Kigoma.

Best Period to Visit

The best period to visit is from June to September, during the dry season. Trekking as well as viewing of the chimpanzees is a lot easier during this season.

The Landscape Of Gombe Stream National Park

The landscape of Gombe Stream National Park is characterised by steep valleys and sharp sided ridges. The vegetation on the other hand is also diverse, ranging from grassland to woodland to tropical rainforest.

This diversity in vegetation is quite density for such a relatively small area.

 The park is most famous for being the area where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioural research on the common chimpanzee populations.

The Kasakela chimpanzee community, which is featured in several books and documentaries, is resident to the Gombe Stream National Park.

Chimpanzees Of Gombe Stream National Park

The chimpanzees are the major tourist attraction to the park which is dominated by a lot of stunning steep sided ridges and valleys. These primates abound, protected within the boundaries of The Gombe Stream National Park. The picturesque notable valleys, numbering 16, are home to some swift flowing stream that are perennial.

Interestingly, the majority of the mammals in this national park are primates and most of them are forest dwelling species.

The Gombe Chimpanzees are one of the most closely and continuously studied.  Jane Goodall began her studies of chimpanzees and other primates in this area. Her works and observations are well documented and have revealed a great deal of chimpanzee behaviours.

Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Research Programme

English primatologist and anthropologist, Dame Jane Morris Goodall was born on 3rd April 1934, in London, England. In 1960, at the tender age of 26, she first travelled to Tanzania.

She dedicated her life to the study of the family and social interactions of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, and she is regarded as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.

With the support of the celebrated anthropologist Louis Leakey, Goodall established a small research centre in Gombe with the aim of learning more about the behaviour of chimpanzees. There she spent months tracking the elusive chimpanzee troops and studying their daily habits until she was slowly accepted by one troop and was permitted some rare and intimate insights into the chimpanzee community.

Her studies unveiled a number of useful findings. For instance, notable among them is that chimpanzees are capable of making and using tools and that they have a highly complex social system. She also found out that these primates are omnivorous and not vegetarian, as it was widely known then.

Furthermore, she is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has won numerous accolades and authored several books and papers. Apart from the many honours, she is also at the centre of many documentaries and films.

Other Wildlife Of Gombe Stream National Park

In addition to chimpanzees, some primate species that are resident in Gombe Stream National Park include the red colobus, beachcomber olive baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, as well as the vervet monkeys.

The red-tailed monkeys and blue monkeys have also been known to crossbreed in this sanctuary.

Bushpigs, small antelopes and occasionally hippos, crocodiles and leopards can be spotted. It is interesting to note that there are no large predators in this park.

The park is also home to a number of snake species.

In addition, Gombe Stream National Park has over 200 bird species which are documented. There are also quite a number of butterfly species as well as unique forest flora.

Activities In Gombe Stream National Park

Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is undoubtedly the most popular activity in Gombe Stream National Park. It is a memorable undertaking that comes with important insights about these interesting primates.

These guided hikes done on foot in the remote forests which presents tourists with an opportunity to view and also observe the chimpanzees and other primates.


Guided hikes in the deep and stunning valleys and up the ridges, as well as in the forests are another activity that tourists can indulge in during the visit to the stunning animal sanctuary.

Lakeshore and Waterfall Treks

Tourists can undertake treks to the waterfalls within the park and along the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Tanganyika is Africa’s first and the world’s second deepest lake shared between Tanzania, Zambia Burundi and the Congo DR. It is a freshwater rift valley lake which is second only to Lake Baikal in depth on the global stage.

History Of Jane Goodall

Gombe Stream National Park visitor can also have an enriching experience of learning more about the Jane Goodall as well as her works.

Water Activities

Furthermore, Lake Tanganyika is a good spot for the snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The lake has an abundance of cichlids.

 Other water activities include kayaking and water skiing on the lake.


Birdwatching is also another activity that the bird lovers can get involved in.


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