Travel to Gombe Stream

The smallest game park in Tanzania, Gombe Stream National Park is located on the shores of crystal clear Lake Tanganyika, on the western border with neighboring Congo.

The park is best known for Dr. Jane Goodall, who spent many years in these primeval forests studying chimpanzee behavior.


  • Area 35 km2
  • Inhabitants 0
  • dry season May to October
  • green season November to April

About Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park is a rugged place with lush forests and a beautiful view of Lake Tanganyika. Observing the chimpanzee families that live protected here is an incredible experience.

Landscape of Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park is a thin strip of ancient forest in a mountainous area with steep valleys right on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The park can only be reached by boat.

Gombe Stream National Park is very similar in landscape to Mahale Mountains National Park and is dominated by many steep ridges and valleys. You can only view the chimpanzees on foot.

The scenery of Gombe Stream National Park is breathtaking with fast flowing streams in most of the 16 major valleys all year round.

The adjacent crystal clear Lake Tanganyika is the second oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second largest by volume and the second deepest, in all cases after Lake Baikal in Siberia. It is the world’s longest freshwater lake.

The lake is shared by four countries: Tanzania, Congo (DRC), Burundi and Zambia, with Tanzania (46%) and Congo (40%) owning most of the lake.

Lake Tanganyika flows into the Congo River system and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.

Climate & season

The climate in Gombe Stream National Park is pleasantly warm all year round, with temperatures around 26 degrees. The nights are around 22 degrees. The higher areas are slightly cooler.

May
At the end of the green season, it still rains occasionally in this month.

June to September
Most days are sunny and clear. Rain is rare. The afternoon temperatures are around 26 degrees. It is wonderful to swim in the lake to cool off.

October
It’s the end of the dry season. Occasionally there is a shower. The weather is still good. With a maximum of around 27 degrees during the day and around 23 degrees at night.

November to April
The humidity is high and it can feel very hot. The afternoon temperatures are slightly cooler than in the dry season, usually around 25 degrees and at night 22 degrees. It will rain almost every afternoon, often with thunder, but rarely all day long. The most rain falls in April.

Interesting facts

1. Gombe Stream National Park is located in the Kigoma district, 16 km north of Kigoma town.

2. The park has been a national reserve since 1943 and officially became a national park in 1968.

3. The park was made famous by Dr. Jane Goodall, who at the age of 26, without formal training, began her research into the behavior and social life of chimpanzees – genetically similar to humans.

4. Instead of numbering the chimpanzees she observed, Jane Goodall gave them names like Fifi and David Greybeard, noting that they had unique and individual personalities, an unconventional idea at the time.

5. The Kasekela chimpanzee group studied by Jane Goodall became so famous that it also featured in several books and documentaries.

6. Jane Goodall’s findings suggest that similarities between humans and chimpanzees exist in more than genes alone, for example in emotion, intelligence, and family and social relationships.

7. Jane Goodall lived in Gombe for almost 15 years. In 1967, the Gombe Stream Research Center was established to coordinate ongoing chimpanzee research. Now run by Tanzanians themselves.

Activities

When the daytime expedition to see the chimpanzees is over, you can walk and swim here beautifully.

Under supervision, you will go deep into the forest to observe and sit with the unusual primates in the morning. A highlight of your trip to Tanzania!

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Video

Explore Gombe Stream National Park, with Jane Goodall

Chimpanzee safari

Gombe Stream National Park is, at 35 km2, the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks.

It is home to more than 150 chimpanzees, who are now used to human visitors. The chimpanzee families have become famous through the pioneering work of Dr. Jane Goodall. Its behavioral research program is now the longest-running study of its kind in the world.

In addition to chimpanzee tracking, you can visit Jane’s old chimpanzee feeding station, Jane’s Peak lookout, and Kakombe waterfall. It is also possible to walk along the shore of the lake.

The minimum age to participate in chimpanzee tours is 15 years old. Chimpanzee viewing is limited to a maximum of 6 people per group and for 1 hour at a time.

Water and culture

In addition to visiting the chimpanzees, Gombe Stream National Park also offers kayaking, swimming and fishing. It is also possible to spot wildlife from Lake Tanganyika with a real boat safari.

Visit a neighboring fishing village, Mwamgongo, for a cultural tour. With the guide you will learn everything about their fishing, embroidery, boat making and visit the chief’s palace. The traditional local Ha dance should of course not be missed.

Birds and forest

Accompanied by an expert guide, you will learn everything about the flora and fauna in Gombe Stream National Park on this walk.

Dr. Livingstone Museum

The small museum opened in 1934 in Ujiji (Kigoma) about, among other things, the slave trade, religious missions and the life of Dr. Livingstone, also contains a memorial to David Livingstone, the famous missionary and explorer who crossed Africa from west to east and the first white man to see Victoria Falls and discover several large Central African lakes. He advocated trade and religious missions and the abolition of the slave trade.

In 1869, Henry Morton Stanley was sent by the New York Herald to find David Livingstone, who had been out of touch for several years. In the Tanzanian town of Ujiji, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, they found each other on November 10, 1971 with the famous words: “Dr. Livingstone, I assume?”. To which Livingstone replied “Yes” and “I’m thankful to be here to welcome you”.

Ujiji is a historic city in the Kigoma region. Originally an Arab trading post in the mid-nineteenth century and under the authority of the Sultanate of Zanzibar. It is the oldest city in Western Tanzania.

Animals in the environment

Apart from chimpanzee viewing, many other monkey species live in the tropical forests of Gombe Stream.

Common animals include: vervet and colobus monkeys, baboons, bush pigs and small antelopes, and a wide variety of tropical birds.

Click here for the wildlife overview

Dieren overzicht Gombe Stream National Park

  • Antelope
  • Baboon
  • Bush pig
  • Chimpanzee
  • Diverse bird species
  • Hippo
  • Leopard
  • Mangoose
  • Monkey species
  • Porcupine
  • Red Colobus monkey
  • Vervet monkey

Imagining yourself in Gombe Stream National Park yet?

Have a look at other example trips – like e.g. ‘The footsteps of Jane Goodall’ – that can be fully adapted to your wishes or contact us directly!!

example trips trip advice

Accommodations in Gombe Stream National Park

Beautifully situated, pristine and overlooking Lake Tanganyika.

Famous, breathtaking and close to the chimpanzees.

Kigoma Hilltop Hotel

Gombe Stream National Park, West Tanzania
Luxury hotel
€ 45 to € 85 pppn (lodging & breakfast)

Mbali Mbali Gombe Lodge

Gombe Stream National Park, West Tanzania
Tented lodge, All Inclusive
€ 575 to € 770 pppn (all inclusive)