Covering 52 square kilometers, Gombe Stream is the smallest National Park in Tanzania. It is located about 16km north of Kigoma on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Western part of Tanzania and home to the World’s notable Chimp reserve.
Gombe Stream is home to abundant baboons, but its main highlight are the Chimpanzees. This reserve was established by Jane Goodall and it’s about twenty five years old.
In the 1960’s this great conservationist “Goodall” carried out major research about the relationship between man and the Chimpanzees. These primates are 95% related to humans, they have similar smells, hearing and other senses.
All visitors to the reserve for Chimpanzees are required to pay $100 USD each person per day. It is advised to be careful during the visit because most chimpanzees in the main study community are aggressive.
If you have any signs of infectious diseases don’t expect to be issued with the entry permission. This is because you may spread the diseases to these primates as their immunity system is similar to humans.
Another activity that impress primate lovers in Gombe stream is the Chimpanzee habituation excursion. This includes living in the middle of the dense jungles while following these primates such that they get used to human presence. It takes good time and with the habituation process, travelers are awarded more time to stay with the chimps than for Chimpanzee tracking.
Chimpanzees are usually smuggled into Eastern Europe, Mexico or South America for medical research although this isn’t supported by the Wildlife conservation organizations. The Goodall institute usually awards anyone who gives evidence of those who abuse the Chimp’s rights.
To give a brief description about chimpanzees, there are omnivores in nature and feed both on fresh and grass. They mostly eat ants, forest fruits, small animals and termites. Smaller monkeys are also act as their food. Chimpanzees usually live in groups that consist of fifty members and small sub gangs of about eight chimps.
These primates communicate by use of a complex language of sounds. While in the Jungle you can usually locate them by their voices.
Finding them is not an easy thing, they can be anywhere in the Jungle and usually hide once they detect presence of a stranger. Tracking for them is usually done with the help of park guides who are always in touch with their movements.
The time taken and distance moved while on the search for the chimpanzees usually depend on where they spent their last night. On average the walk can take like 2-3 hours.
While in Gombe you are not only limited to Chimpanzees, there are a lot of things to appreciate including the scenic views of Kakombe Waterfall.
How to get there.
From Kigoma, you can connect to Dar and Arusha by scheduled flights, then to Dar and Mbeya by rough dirt roads and to Dar and Mwanza by a slow rail service.
If not that, you can take local taxis up to Gombe from Kigomba and the Journey takes about three hours. Motorboats are also chartered and takes less than an hour.
What to do in the Park
This is the main activity for most visitors to Gombe Stream National Park. This excursion gives tourists an opportunity to get close to the Chimpanzees in the Jungles. While strolling in search for the chimps, you will see other primates like blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, baboons to name but a few.
Other than Chimp tacking, Gombe stream National Park is famous for game viewing. Tourists are enchanted by panoramic views of wild animals such as bush bucks, reed bucks, and bush pigs. The park also treats tourists with different species of plants.
Gombe stream National Park is recorded with a plethora of bird species including the migratory and residential birds. Some of these birds are fishing eagle, pied kingfisher, palmnut vulture, trumpeter hornbill and more.
Spot fishing is a must for visitors to Gombe stream national park. Once you buy your fishing permit, an experienced fishing guide is assigned to lead you throughout the excursion. While fishing, you are exposed to awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscapes and numerous Wildlife species including birds.
Guided Nature walks.
For best views of Gombe stream national park, guided nature walks are for you. It takes you to Goodall foundations feeding station, a place where Dr Goodall stayed when studying the behavior of Chimpanzees. It is also where Henry Stanley met with Dr Livingstone in 1871.
Other amazing activities to partake in Gombe stream are swimming and snorkeling at Lake Tanganyika. This Park is ideal to visit all year round, but the best time for Wildlife viewing is from June to October.