Gombe Stream National Park is Tanzania’s smallest national park is also one of its most famous, due to the chimpanzee research project initiated there by Jane Goodall in 1960 – now the world’s longest-running study of an individual wild animal population. Gombe Stream packs a fair altitudinal range in its 52 sq km, rising from the 773m shore of Lake Tanganyika to above 1,550m on the Rift Valley escarpment.
Gombe is an oblong strip of rugged, mountainous terrain dominated by many steep-sided ridges and valleys. This is somewhere you’re going to be on your feet if you’re there to see the chimpanzees and you need to be prepared for some steep and reasonably arduous walking. The scenery in Gombe is stunning, with most of the 16 major valleys containing swift streams that flow all year. The streams provide the larger mammals with drinking water, which is of great importance during dry months because some of the local fauna do not frequent the lake shore.
The activities that are mostly done are Chimpanzee trekking, hiking, swimming and snorkeling and also the visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma, and watch the renowned dhow builders at work.
Kigoma is connected to Dar and Arusha by scheduled flights, to Dar and Mwanza by a slow rail service, to Mwanza, Dar and Mbeya by rough dirt roads, and to Mpulungu in Zambia by a weekly ferry.
From Kigoma, local lake-taxis take up to three hours to reach Gombe, or motorboats can be chartered, taking less than one hour.
There is one luxury tented lodge, as well a self-catering hostel, guest house and campsites on the lakeshore.