Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world.
Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots and screams that define the celebrities, the powerbrokers, and the supporting characters.
About Gombe Stream National Park.
Size: 52 sq km (20 sq miles), Tanzania’s smallest park.
Location: 16 km (10 miles) north of Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania.
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. Chimpanzee trekking; hiking, swimming and snorkeling; visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma.
When to go.
The chimps don’t roam as far in the wet season (February-June, November-mid December) so may be easier to find; better picture opportunities in the dry (July-October and late December