Gombe is one of the Tanzania’s smallest park (52 sq km) and is home of the world famous chimp reserve Gombe, designated as a game reserve in 1943, was upgraded into a national park status in 1968. The park is located 16 km north of Kigoma town on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania. It covers an area of 56 square kilometers and is a fragile habitat for chimpanzee. Gombe gained its popularity after the research of Dr Jane Goodall which isbelieved to be the longest running study of primates in the world.
Chimpanzees eat plants and meat, they are omnivores, eating forest fruits and ants, termites and small animals, and occasionally other smaller monkeys. They hang around in groups of around 50, and smaller sub gangs of 7or 8 chimps. They use a complex language of sounds, the calls of the chimps are always in the air of the Gombe reserve, so you can be in the presence of the great monkey even if you don’t have a chance to see a wild chimp up close.
Finding the chimps is largely a matter of luck as they can theoretically be anywhere from the top of the 8000 ft. mountains to the lakeshore at 2500 ft. However, the trackers at the camp know the animals well and are nearly always in touch with their movements from day to day.
The length of walk can vary enormously – they are sometimes literally at the back of the camp and other days they are nowhere to be seen – but on average you should expect to walk for at least 2-3 hours.
How to get there
By boat: Board public boat (up to four hours) or motor boat (two hours).
To get to Kigoma:
By air: scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam and Mwanza cities or from Arusha by chartered flights.
By rail: from Dar es Salaam or by ferry from Mpulungu in Zambia.
By road: from Dar es Salaam, Arusha or Mwanza.
Best time to visit
Chimpanzee can be trekked throughout the year. However, for plants/insects and better chimpanzee spotting, the best time is during wet season (November to mid-May) and for the best photo taking (May to October