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Gombe National Parks




About Gombe National Park

About 16km north of kigoma town, in the north – western part of Tanzania, lies  the Gombe stream National park.This is the smallest park in Tanzania. It is only 52 sq km in area, and was established in 1968.


The park consists of a narrow mountainous strip of country stretching for some 16km along the eastern shore of lake Tanganyika  and running inland about  5 Km to the peaks of the mountain range forming the rift escarpment. These mountains rise steeply from the lake ( 681 m) to heights of about 1524m.

Many steep -sided valleys and ravines  intersect the mountains, a number of  which support permanent treams.
The thick gallery forests of the valley and lower  slopes give place to more open deciduous woodland on the upper slopes and many of the peaks and ridges are covered with grass.The main purpose of the Gombe stream national park is to “Conserve and protect the Gombe ecosystem including its world famous population of Chimpanzees, Associated habitats and Biodiversity.

The beach zone is about 16km along the park’s lakeshore; it has a width of 90 meters and covers an area of approximately 141 hectares. And lastly, there is the lake zone which stretches for about a kilometer into the lake. This protects biodiversity in the shallow, oxygenated waters along the lakeshore. Visitors to the area use it for access to the park, camp fire, sunbathing and for swimming.


The Gombe stream national park is within the rift valley. To the north, it is bordered by the mwamgongo village while to the south is the kazinga village. To the west is lake Tanganyika.Gombe national park is world famous for well studied chimpanzees. These primates have been studied ever  since 1960 todate.There are therefore many books and hundreds of scientific papers about these animals.

The subspecies found in this park is pan troglodytes schweinfurthii. This chimpanzee is classified by IUCN as endangered. The other parks with national park which has an introduced population of west African  chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus.
Gombe streams national park has an additional ( Apart form chimpanzees) seven primate species that include the following:-
Olive baboon ( papio Anubis)
Blue monkey ( cercopithecus mitis doggetti)
Red tailed monkey ( Cercopithecus mitis ascanius)

Vervet monkey ( Vercopithecus aethiops)

Located along the Albertine arm of the Great Rift valley, Gombe is a place of great scenic beauty. There are magnificent views of the mountains of the rift escarpment falling westward into the lake. The undulating terrain and mosaic of forrest, woodland and grassland provide visitors with varied and attractive vistas. The kakombe and mkenke riverine waterfalls are spectacular.


Kigoma is also historical town, affording visitors to see other places of interest, such as the place where Dr. David Livingstone and Henry Stanley met at ujiji, while searching  for the source of the River Nile.


It was here where Stanley left an imprint on 10th November 1871, with his famous words “ Dr. Livingstone, I Presume”.

On transit to Gombe streams national park, Visitors can be accommodated in a number of good hotels, guest houses and lodges in kigoma town, such as the railway hotel, lake view hotel, community centers etc.
On getting there, rumps have been constructed to fascilitate easy off- loading from the boats to the beaches. This enables visitors to access tourist attractions and at the same time reduce gully erosion.


Within the park, a network of trails exists and more would be constructed to meet visitor’s demand. The management of the park takes serious measures to ensure the security of visitors and staff, whether they are in a tented camp, campsite, rest house, hostel, office or chimps tracking.

Despite its small size, Gombe stream National park has thrilling moments. It is hoped that with all necessary facilities in place, your visit to this paradise will be rewarding.

Rules of viewing the Chimpanzees

-Viewing must remain with and obey the TANAPA guide at all time whilst in the forest
- Viewers should maintain a distance of at least 10 metres from the chimpanzees at all times

- Do not use a camera flash when taking pictures of the chimpanzees. Visitors must  switch these off before commencing  to track the chimpanzees.
- Viewers must walk approximately 250 meters away from the chimps eating.
-Never leave personal belongings on the ground or where they may be accessible to chimps as they can transmit disease.

- It is not permitted to track the chimps if you are sick or have an infectious disease. This places the chimpanzees at major risk from disease transmission.
-No person under the age of 12 is permitted to track the chimps. Young people have a higher susceptibility to disease, many of which  can affect the chimpanzees.
-Do not defecate in the forest. If it is unavoidable, move 250 metres away from the chimps and completely bury all faeces and toilet paper in a deep hole.

Other rules



-Researchers only will maintain a distance of at least 7.5 metres from the chimpanzees
-The forest environment is fragile and vulnerable to disturbance, consequently there should be no cutting of vegetable off the trails; trail width is limited to 1 metre.
-A trowel must be carried at all times by TANAPA guides for use in the event of emergency defecation.
-No cutting of native vegetation for fuel wood or construction .
-No planting of exotic species in the park
-No collection of biological material in the park
-No collection of cultural or religious artifacts in the park
-No fire lighting except on beaches or in designated kitchen areas