Gombe National Park Tanzania
Gombe National Park Tanzania
Covering an area of 52 km2, Gombe Stream National Park is home to the world’s most famous chimpanzees and it is arguably one of the world’s best places for chimpanzee encounter. Gombe is renowned worldwide as a place where Dr. Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioural research conducted on chimpanzee populations. Goodall has taught the world more about chimpanzees than anyone else in the world. Setting herself apart from other wildlife researchers led her to develop a close bond with the chimpanzees and to become, to this day, the only human ever accepted into chimpanzee society.
Goodall’s dream to study our closest relatives began in 1960 when he founded a chimpanzee behavioural research program in Gombe Forest Reserve that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The Kasakela Chimpanzee community featured in several books and documentaries lives in Gombe National Park and was a subject of Goodall’s pioneering work. Jane became widely known because of a film, Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees, which came out in 1965 and was produced by National Geographic. For more than 40 years, Gombe has been dedicated to the protection, development, and understanding of chimpanzees, making it the best destination for Tanzania chimpanzee safaris.
Gombe Stream is increasingly becoming a popular Tanzania Wildlife safari destination. The steep valleys of the park and its mountainous peaks dressed with different types of vegetation have gathered a variety of wildlife species. Gombe stream’s main attraction is apparently the chimpanzees. Other primates to see in the park include the blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and baboons. The park is also home to 200+ bird species including the iconic African fish eagles and peter’s twinspots. There are also 11 species of snakes, occasional hippos and bush pigs. The estimated total butterfly of Gombe is 400-500 species.
Location of Gombe National Park
Gombe Park is located 20 km north of Kigoma town in western Tanzania between an altitude of 2,516 feet and 5,269 feet above the sea level. The park is spectacularly positioned on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika and extending a mere 52 km2 towards its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo. This entangled world of tall trees and alpine bamboo morphed into a glorious tropical rainforest hides humbly in the shadows of the Mahale Mountains.
History of Gombe National Park
The nature value of Gombe was noticed in 1943 when it was designated as a game reserve. Gombe gained its popularity after the pioneering research activities of Dr Jane Goodall in 1960. Conservation status was upgraded to that of a National Park in 1968 and opened for tourism in 1978 after chimpanzee habituated to the human visitor.
Tanzania Safari Attractions in Gombe National Park Tanzania
1) Animals in Gombe National Park
The little Gombe Park has abundant and diverse wildlife. At least 35 species of mammals have been identified. Gombe chimpanzee is the favourite among travellers during their Tanzania wildlife tours in the park. There are also other notable primates in the National Park such as olive baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, and bush babies. Besides primates, other residents in Gombe National Park include bush pigs and occasional hippos. Carnivores are a rarity in the forest which makes it an ideal destination for walking safaris in Tanzania.
Jane Goodall chimpanzee research at Gombe
The wild chimpanzees at Tanzania’s Gombe National Park are at the heart of Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research. Goodall is best known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life. She began studying the Kasakela chimpanzee community in Gombe National Park in 1960. Without collegiate training directing her research, Goodall observed things that strict scientific doctrines may have overlooked. Instead of numbering the chimpanzees she observed, she gave them names such as Fifi and David Greybeard. Numbering was a nearly universal practice at the time. She also observed them have unique and individual personalities, an unconventional idea at the time.
Goodall found that “it isn’t only human beings who have personality, who are capable of rational thought and emotions like joy and sorrow.” She also observed behaviours such as hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and even tickling, what we consider “human” actions. Goodall insists that these gestures are evidence of “the close, supportive, affectionate bonds that develop between family members and other individuals within a community, which can persist throughout a life span of more than 50 years.” These findings suggest that similarities between humans and chimpanzees exist in more than genes alone, and can be seen in emotion, intelligence, family and social relationships.
Goodall’s research at Gombe Stream is best known to the scientific community for challenging two long-standing beliefs of the day: that only humans could construct and use tools, and that chimpanzees were vegetarians. While observing one chimpanzee feeding at a termite mound, she watched him repeatedly place stalks of grass into termite holes, then remove them from the hole covered with clinging termites, effectively “fishing” for termites. The chimps would also take twigs from trees and strip off the leaves to make the twig more effective, a form of object modification that is the rudimentary beginnings of toolmaking.
In contrast to the peaceful and affectionate behaviours she observed, Goodall also found an aggressive side of chimpanzee nature at Gombe Stream. She discovered that chimps will systematically hunt and eat smaller primates such as colobus monkeys. Goodall watched a hunting group isolate a colobus monkey high in a tree, block all possible exits, then one chimpanzee climbed up and captured and killed the colobus. The others then each took parts of the carcass, sharing with other members of the troop in response to begging behaviours. The chimps at Gombe kill and eat as much as one-third of the colobus population in the park each year. This alone was a major scientific finding that challenged previous conceptions of chimpanzee diet and behaviour.
But perhaps more startling, and disturbing, was the tendency for aggression and violence within chimpanzee troops. Goodall observed dominant females deliberately killing the young of other females in the troop to maintain their dominance, sometimes going as far as cannibalism. She says of this revelation, “During the first ten years of the study I had believed that the Gombe chimpanzees were, for the most part, rather nicer than human beings. Then suddenly we found that chimpanzees could be brutal—that they, like us, had a darker side to their nature.” She described the 1974–1978 Gombe Chimpanzee War in her memoir manner.
Gombe Chimpanzee War
The Gombe Chimpanzee War was a violent conflict between two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania lasting from 1974 to 1978. The two groups were once unified in the Kasakela community. By 1974, researcher Jane Goodall noticed the community splintering.
Over a span of eight months, a large party of chimpanzees separated themselves into the southern area of Kasakela and were renamed the Kahama community. The separatists consisted of six adult males, three adult females and their young. The Kasakela was left with eight adult males, twelve adult females and their young. During the four-year conflict, all males of the Kahama community were killed, effectively disbanding the community. The victorious Kasakela then expanded into the further territory but were later repelled by another community of chimpanzees.
First blood was drawn by the Kasakela community on January 7, 1974, when a party of six adults Kasakela males consisting of Humphrey, Figan, Jomeo, Sherry, Evered, and Rodolf ambushed the isolated Kahama male, Godi, while he was feeding on a tree. This was the first time that any of the chimpanzees had been seen to deliberately kill a fellow male chimp. After they had slain Godi, the victorious chimps celebrated boisterously, throwing and dragging branches with hoots and screams.
After Godi fell, De was taken out next, and then Hue. Later on, came the elderly Goliath. Throughout the war, Goliath had been relatively friendly with the Kasakela neighbours when encounters occurred. However, his kindness was not reciprocated and he was killed. Only three Kahama males remained: Charlie, Sniff, and Willy Wally, who was crippled from polio. Without a chance to strike back, Charlie was killed next. After his death, Willy Wally disappeared and was never found. The last remaining Kahama male, the young Sniff, survived for over a year.
When Goodall reported on the events of the Gombe War, her account of a naturally occurring war between chimpanzees was not universally believed. At the time, scientific models of human and animal behaviour virtually never overlapped. Some scientists accused her of excessive anthropomorphism. Others suggested that her presence, and her practice of feeding the chimpanzees, had created violent conflict in a naturally peaceful society. However, later research using less intrusive methods confirmed that chimpanzee societies, in their natural state, wage war. A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology concluded that the Gombe War was most likely a consequence of a power struggle between three high-ranking males, which was exacerbated by an unusual scarcity of fertile females.
Red-tailed monkeys in Gombe Stream National Park
The red-tailed monkey, also known as the black-cheeked white-nosed monkey, red-tailed guenon, redtail monkey, or Schmidt’s guenon (Cercopithecus Ascanius) is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae.
The red-tailed monkey is named as it sounds, for its red colouration of the tail’s underside as well as the bi-colouration of the tail as the reddish colour increases from the base to the tip. There are other features characteristic to this mammal as well such as the white nose and cheeks in the midst of black or dark grey body fur. Red-tailed monkeys also have very large, elastic cheeks which are used in gathering food and storing it in their mouths for safety
Sizes of their bodies range between individuals as well as between the sexes as males are larger than the females. Body length ranges from 1 to 2 feet (12-24 inches), without the tail included, males being on the upper end of the scale and females being on the lower. Adult males also weigh between 7 and 10 pounds and females weigh slightly less between 6 and 8 pounds. The tail length can reach up to 35 inches long which can be twice the body length for some red-tailed monkeys. The tail helps the monkeys achieve balance.
Communication and vocalization
Red-tailed monkeys communicate using different methods which are characteristic of communicating specific behaviours or things. Physical and vocal communication is used between members of social groups of these monkeys to demonstrate social dominance, submissiveness, or greeting. Vocal communication is used between members of social groups of red-tailed monkeys in which the more submissive monkey will make a soft, oscillating call to its elder. Physical communication is exhibited in nose to nose greetings where two red-tailed guenons touch their noses together. This is a sign of affection and can be followed by playful behaviour. Visual communication is used as a sign of warning to others to stay away and as a defence against predators. Red-tailed monkeys practice staring or staring with their mouth open. When these monkeys implement staring, they lift their eyebrows to retract the skin on their forehead which makes the skin on the face expand backwards revealing the underneath of their eyelids. On the dark fur background, their eyelids can be seen very easily by others and understand it as a display that the red-tailed monkey is being threatened and the other species needs to stay away. Head-bobbing is another threat display in which the monkey moves its head up and down. These types of communication can be used separately or together depending on how threatened the monkey feels to its surroundings. Other types of communication are used such as chemical and olfactory communication; however, not much information is available on this type of communication.
Red-tailed monkeys are primarily fructivorous but are considered omnivorous because they will eat leaves, flowers, or insects in times where fruit is scarce. As they forage, these monkeys gather their findings in the expandable cheeks of their mouths. The pouches will hold a large amount of food where they can forage in one area and then carry their food away to another location where it is safe to consume without the threat of another stealing from them.
Red-tailed monkeys are social primates that form groups that can range in size from 7 to 30 individuals. The groups consist of one dominant male and females and their offspring, male or female juveniles. Groups generally stay together through all periods of the day and through life, except for males who reach maturity. These males will leave the group they were born into and go on to form all-male groups with other red-tailed monkey males or survive alone until they can replace the dominant male of a different social group. The females practice allomaternal care in which the various females in a group will help take care of their own young as well as the young of other females in the group. Often, the different social groups will congregate for support from each other when food is unlimited and in abundance.
Blue monkey in Gombe Stream National Park
The blue monkey or diademed monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) is a species of Old World native to Central and East Africa, ranging from the upper Congo River basin to East Africam Rift.
Despite its name, the blue monkey is not noticeably blue; it has little hair on its face, and this does sometimes give a blue appearance, but it never has the vivid blue appearance of a mandrill, for example. It is mainly olive or grey apart from the face (which is dark with a pale or yellowish patch on the forehead – the “diadem” from which the species derives its common name), the blackish cap, feet, and front legs, and the mantle, which is brown, olive, or grey depending on the subspecies. Typical sizes range from 50 to 65 cm in length, (not including the tail, which is almost as long as the rest of the animal), with females weighing a little over 4 kg and males up to 8 kg.
Cercopithecus mitis joins with the C. ascanius (red-tailed monkey) for extra protection. Their social system is mainly female because the males leave once they are mature. The males have little to no interaction with the young. C. mitis is very territorial, so the young males must leave quickly to help themselves become more successful. They challenge the dominant male of another family. If they defeat the dominant male, they take over the leadership of that family, and this offers a place to live, socialization, and food supplies for the young males.” C. mitis is said to be nomadic.
The blue monkeys live in female-philopatric social systems where females stay in their natal groups, while males disperse once they reach adulthood. As a result, blue monkey groups usually consist of one male with several females and infants, giving rise to matrilinear societies. Occasionally, solitary males are observed, which are probably transient, having left their natal group in search of a new group
In these female-bonded societies, only 5–15% of monkeys’ activity budget is occupied by social interactions and the most common social interactions within a group are grooming and playing. Relationships between group members vary: infants interact most frequently with their peers and adult or juvenile females and are rarely seen near adult males.
Alloparenting is common among blue monkeys. The most common infant handlers are juvenile females, and usually, one infant is carried by a number of alloparents. One hypothesis is that this allows the infant to learn to socialize at an early stage in life.
Interesting female-female relationships exist among blue monkeys. This relationship is believed to be shaped by their feeding ecology, which, in turn, is shaped by between-group and within-group competition. Blue monkey females exhibit strong, aggressive competition between groups and between other species because of their territorial character but milder though more frequent competition within groups. Though earlier beliefs were that blue monkeys are not territorial, more current extended research shows that earlier researchers misinterpreted the results because social interactions overall are infrequent. Moreover, overall agonism rates in blue monkeys are very low. Within-group conflicts are mild and infrequent because females distance themselves from one another and feed at different sites to avoid competition. Although blue monkeys were believed to be egalitarian, current extended research confirms that a linear dominance hierarchy occurs in female blue monkeys, which becomes more apparent when food resources are scarce.
The mating system is polygynous, with a corresponding sexual dimorphism in size, as the males are the substantially larger sex. Females normally give birth every two years, during the onset of the warm, rainy season; gestation is around five months, and the infants are born with fur and with their eyes open. Group sizes range from 10 to 40, containing only a single adult male. It is often found in groups with other species of monkeys such as the red-tailed monkey and various red colobus monkeys.
- mitis males mate with more than one female, but the females only mate with one male. The female attracts males to copulate with her through body language. They breed throughout the year. “The groups can have up to 40 members and the females usually help to care for all of the young, not just their own
2) Gombe Stream Research Center
Goodall lived at Gombe almost full-time for fifteen years and the long-term data she accumulated is still of value to scientists today. In 1967, the Gombe Stream Research Center was established to coordinate ongoing chimpanzee research in the park. Run mostly by a team of trained Tanzanians, the GSRC is the longest-running field study of an animal species in their natural surroundings, now over 40 years.
This long-term data has provided scientists with insight into chimpanzee demographic patterns, male politics, hunting, culture and mother-infant relationships over multiple generations—rare and valuable data. The ongoing research is also providing information on the current threats to chimpanzees, such as disease, poaching and habitat disturbance, which affect other species at Gombe as well.
The research of Goodall has also drastically changed ethological thinking and how behavioural studies are conducted. Where once talk of animal emotion was dismissed as anthropomorphism, her observations of animals in their natural habitat show that societies, behaviour, and relationships between animals are quite complex. Her research of chimpanzee habitat (food and special) requirements also aid in improved design for new protected areas. The GSRC also conducts research on the baboon population, led by the Jane Goodall Center for Primate Studies. Research from the GSRC has resulted in 35 PhD theses, over 400 papers and 30 books.
3) Birds in Gombe National Park
Gombe is also home to numerous birds. The variety of birdlife here makes Gombe national park one of the favourite destinations for Tanzania birding safaris. Over 200 bird species exist in the park. The lakeshore is also a wonderful place to see the fish eagles as well as the palm nut vultures hovering on the palm trees. The Peter’s twinspot, a generally hard to pin down forest bird, is easily domesticated and normally seen around the camp. From November up to April, you will be rewarded with views of various Migratory birds. Other notable birds in the park include Livingstone’s turaco, tropical boubou, Common Paradise flycatcher, Rufous sparrow, African broadbill, Black swaw-wing, Crowned eagle, Double-toothed Barbet, Golden-rumped tinker bird, Livingstone’s turaco, Red-capped robin-chat, Red-chested Cuckoo, Ross’s turaco, Rufous sparrow
African Fish Eagle in Gombe National Park
Locally known as Furukombe in the Swahili language, the African fish eagle is a fairly large eagle and found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This species of eagle resembles the bald eagle in appearance and occur where there are large bodies of open water and with plenty of fish. Though it resembles the bald eagle, each species occurs on different continents, with the bald eagle being resident in North America.
As a result of its large range, it is known in many other languages. Examples of names include visarend in Afrikaans, nkwazi in Chewa, aigle pêcheur in French, hungwe in Shona, inkwazi in isiZulu, and ‘ntšhu’ (pronounced “ntjhu”) in Northern Sotho. It is also a National bird of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Sudan.
The African fish eagle is a large bird, and the female, at 3.2–3.6 kg is larger than the male, at 2.0–2.5 kg. This is typical sexual dimorphism in birds of prey. Males usually have wingspans around 2 m, while females have wingspans of 2.4 m. The body length is 63–75 cm. The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body with a white head like the bald eagle and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of African fish eagles are snow white, with the exception of the featherless face, which is yellow. The eyes are dark brown in color.
The hook-shaped beak, ideal for a carnivorous lifestyle, is yellow with a black tip. The plumage of the juvenile is brown in color, and the eyes are paler compared to the adult. The feet have rough soles and are equipped with powerful talons to enable the eagle to grasp slippery aquatic prey. While this species mainly subsists on fish, it is opportunistic and may take a wider variety of prey such as waterbirds. Its distinctive cry is, for many, evocative of the spirit or essence of Africa. The call, shriller when uttered by males, is a weee-ah, hyo-hyo or a heee-ah, heeah-heeah.
The African Fish Eagle has two distinct calls. In-flight or perched, the sound is something like the American Bald Eagle. When near the nest its call is more of a ‘quock’ sound – the female is a little shriller and less mellow than the male. So well known and clear is the call of this bird that it is often known as ‘the voice of Africa’. The African Fish Eagle is usually seen in pairs inside and outside the breeding season, even sharing kills made by either of them. They spend more time perched than flying, and usually settle for the day by 10 am, having made their kill, although they will kill at any time of the day.
It is most frequently seen sitting high in a tall tree from where it has a good view of the stretch of river, lakeshore or coastline, which is its territory. Near a lake with an abundant food supply, a pair may require less than a square mile of water to find enough food, whereas next to a small river, they may require a stretch of 15 miles or more. Some tend to move around to avoid the wettest weather, whereas others stay where they are all year round.
Although, as its name suggests, it feeds extensively on fish, in some areas it preys on flamingoes and other water birds. It is also known to eat carrion and is classified as a kleptoparasite (it steals prey from other birds). Goliath Herons are known to lose a percentage of their catch to Fish Eagles. Their main diet is fish, sometimes dead, but mostly caught live. Catfish and lungfish are caught most frequently. Larger prey is eaten on the ground next to the water.
4) Vegetation in Gombe National Park
Gombe is the small remnant of natural forest. The folded mountain terrain creates a diversity of plant communities. Uncommon things about Gombe is the wide assortment of habitat type that it contains determined by altitude, drainage, and rainfall. Gombe is located at a meeting point of west African forest, east African woodland and Grassland. Evergreen and deciduous exists within a scenic mosaic that includes a mixed woodland, Miombo, and grassland which make Gombe a great destination for visitors to do short and long forest walks and long walks while on their tours in Tanzania.
The Vegetation of Gombe is of five major types: evergreen forest with moderate to dense shrub layer in the valley bottoms, semi-deciduous forest covering the slopes of the ridges that separate valleys, drier areas of the valleys and parts of the lower slopes by lakeshore, open and dense Miombo woodland with a grass but no shrub layer the higher elevation slopes, grassland with scattered trees covering the crest and peaks of lower and upper slopes and ridges. Walk leisurely and silently through the evergreen forest you grasp the complexity of this vast vegetation shielding forest dwellers from climatic extremes.
5) Spectacular mountains peaks in Gombe National Park
Gombe is a place of great scenic beauty that any traveller on Tanzania tours would wish to see. There are magnificent views of the mountains of the Rift escarpment falling westwards into the Lake. The undulating terrain, valley, and mosaic forest, woodland and grassland providing visitors with a varied and attractive landscape. The peak together with the rolling hills provides a superb panoramic view.
Jane Goodall’s peak is the very best vantage point for Tanzania chimpanzee trekking safaris. From the Peak, you will be able to look southward over the home valley, and also, if you walk just a few yards to the north, you could look down into the basin of Lower Kasakela Valley, a thick, almost circular pocket of forest. To the north, another open ridge offered a good view over the upper reaches of the narrow, steep-sided Linda Valley. The expansive view of the Lake Tanganyika from Jane’s peak is close to none of the scenery you’ve ever seen.
6) Kakombe and Mkenke waterfall in Gombe National Park
Besides the incredible Tanzania wildlife safari experience, you can head out to the Kakombe trail and Mkenke valley and explore the gorgeous natural Kakombe and Mkenke waterfalls. Experience amazing mists dropping over and naturally calms you after a deep mountain climbing- a must-see to fuel your day.
7) Lake Tanganyika in Gombe National Park
The name “Tanganyika” apparently refers to “the great lake spreading out like a plain”, or “plain-like lake”. Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is the second-oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second-largest by volume (holds 18% of the world’s fresh water), and the second-deepest (1447m), in all cases after Lake Baika in Siberia. It is the world’s longest freshwater lake, shared between four countries of Tanzania, the DR Congo Burundi, and Zambia, with Tanzania (46%) and DRC (40%) possessing the majority of the lake. It drains into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
Gombe lakeshore represents one of the few protecting Lake Tanganyika’s biodiversities. Lakeshore provides breeding grounds and habitat for various life stages of commercially important fish species including juvenile dagaa and Migebuka. It is the primary habitat for the ornamental cichlids. More than 300 fish species have been identified of which 172 are cichlid, most found nowhere else. It also hosts many endemic species of reptiles, non-cichlids fish and invertebrates including snails, crabs, snake, and animals such as jellyfish and sponges.
The first known Westerners to find the lake were the British explorers John Speke and Richard Burton in 1858. They located it while searching for the source of the Nile River (the world’s longest river). Speke continued and found the actual source, Lake Victoria. Later David Livingstone passed by the lake. He noted the name “Liemba” for its southern part, a word probably from the Fipa language, and in 1927 this was chosen as the new name for the conquered German First World War ship Graf von Götzen which is still serving the lake up to the present time.
Tanzania Safari Activities in Gombe National Park Tanzania
Gombe National Park is a place where tourists can capture lots of memorable experiences while on Tanzania safaris. The park offers a superb Tanzania chimpanzee tour. Visitors will also get a spectacular view of the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika and exploring dense tropical rainforest. You can take a trail for a deep forest hike with great chances of bird watching, butterfly identification, and sightseeing at Jane’s peak, mountain hiking to the waterfalls. Furthermore, the Lake offers an expansive area for sport fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. All the activities are done after paying a park entrance fee which is $100 per person per day.
1) Chimpanzee Tracking in Gombe National Park
Tanzania chimpanzee tracking safaris is the premier activity at this park. The matriarch Fifi, the last remaining member of the first community, which was just 3 years old when Jane Goodall first came to Gombe, is up to today still seen by visitors. Visitors are limited to one hour with each group of chimps, but you are allowed to go and find another group after your hour is up for no extra cost. Chimpanzee communities in the park include the Kasakela, Kahama Kalande, and Mitumba. However, visitors eager to get as close to the chimps as Goodall does should know that it is not safe for strangers to approach the apes without a trained guide. A guide costs US$23.60 per group. Children under age 15 are not permitted to enter the forest, although they can stay at the resthouse. This activity is conducted from 0630 – 1830 hrs.
2) Hiking and nature walks in Gombe National Park
Short walks can be done along the shores of Lake Tanganyika or to Kakombe and Mkenke Waterfalls. There are magnificent views of the mountains of the Rift escarpment falling westwards into the lake. The undulating terrain, valleys, and the mosaic forest, woodland and grassland provide visitors with a varied attractive landscape for a hiking tour in Tanzania.
3) Birding in Gombe National Park
Gombe is a paradise for bird lovers and attracts many ornithologists. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded and many more are yet to be discovered. The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.
4) Kayaking in Gombe National Park
Kayaking is one of the watersports activities conducted in Gombe National Park. A small narrowboat which is propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle. This activity is done when the lake weather is calm. Four hours of paddling out offer a great way to explore part of stunning Lake Tanganyika.
5) Sport Fishing in Gombe National Park
This activity is done for pleasure is also known as a catch and release, it is done when the Lake weather is Calm. The crew is experienced at all disciplines of fishing. Well-equipped sports fishing boats and informed crews will ensure your absolute enjoyment out on Lake Tanganyika water.
6) Snorkelling and diving in Gombe National Park
Gombe National Park has a tranquil beach. Water sport activities such as snorkelling and diving will add values to your Tanzania tour to the park. Lake Tanganyika offers a whole other world to explore under the water. Gombe is a remarkable place for snorkelling and diving. Shielded by hills, the waters here are calm, clear and rich with colourful life that leaves a lasting impression. This activity is conducted for 3hours within the lake.
7) Cultural tourism at Mwamgongo village
Mwamgongo Village is located adjacent to Gombe National Park. The village formed a women’s cultural group. Visitors are invited to experience authentic hospitality, learn about traditional dances and local art and craft. They produce pottery, fabrics, grass hats, mats and baskets using traditional techniques and local materials.
8) Boat cruise in Gombe National Park
Tourists hire a tourist boat and just move about in Lake Tanganyika to view its tourist attractions and leisure taking activities. A boat cruise is an amazing experience—you can choose a luxury boat or an ordinary speedboat, depending on your budget—for it allows you to feel Lake Tanganyika’s breeze while savouring a view of the Great Rift Valley escarpment.
Tanzania Safari Accommodation in Gombe National Park Tanzania
Gombe National Park offers high earned and budgeted tourists as it encompasses an array of places to stay. Ranging from rest house, public /special campsite, and Bandas.
1) Gombe Forest Lodge
Gombe’s only private lodge has a shady, waterside location with just seven tents that offer a certain class and sophistication in the jungle. The tents are luxurious without being ostentatious, and staff do their best to meet your needs during your stay.
deluxe safari tented bandas with corrugated roofs, which extend over raised private wooden decks, shaded by huge old mango trees overlooking the fabulous cream shores of Lake Tanganyika
Inside a permanent, open-sided timbered Mbali Mbali structure, heavy canvas provides mosquito-proof living space with roll-up canvas doors and unzipping window meshes to make the most of every fresh breath of air and natural light. With flush toilets and showers in adjoining sections, each room has twin or double sized wooden four-poster beds with well-founded mattress bases, contrasting crisp linens, lamps on a small table and on the decked floor, cupboard, Colonial-style dressing desk, and chair: all locally crafted. There is 24-hour electricity and hot water. On your balcony in paradise, there is also a small table and safari chairs to enable you to relax and enjoy the amazing sunsets over the lake. The canvas rooms are set widely apart for total isolation on the woodland strip between the coast and the mountain. The staff is conscientious, friendly and imaginative. The dwellings are clean and welcoming. Linens are unforgettably scented with the evocative spice island cinnamon. A small reception lodge built on stilts on the beach contains a bar, lounge, library, dining mess, jetty leading to the lake, and there
Dining At Gombe Forest Lodge
Food at Gombe Forest Lodge is a delight, featuring traditional Tanzanian cuisine such as fluffy white cassava, boiled or crisply chipped, and meat or chicken stew with coconut and plantain bananas. Dinners are largely based on the varied daily catch of fresh fish, delicious tilapia, and rich Nile perch (Sangara), roasted or fried, or dried small sardine-like Dagaa boiled in delicious sauces of red/green pepper, onion, and tomato. Vegetarian and other special diets can be arranged by prior notice.
There is a modest wine list and beers, spirits, juices. Beverages such as Tanzanian teas and coffees are readily available. Meals at the camp revolve around the half-day Gombe Forest Lodge chimpanzee safari
2) Gombe Lodge
With exclusive tented accommodation for just 14 guests, this authentic safari camp is set on the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, which renowned for its chimpanzees. Suitable for fitter travellers who want an off-beat safari experience and enjoy hiking, Gombe Lodge is still packed with mod cons, like Internet access, power points, and fully-equipped en suite bathrooms.
Accommodation consists of comfortable and spacious Tarzan-style walk-in tents on timber platforms elevated from the forest floor and under the shade of huge mango trees. With a distinctly African style, each room has a private deck with locally-crafted furniture that includes a coffee table and chairs overlooking the captivating forest terrain. Rooms are equipped with double or twin 4-poster, netted beds and power points for charging electrical equipment while en suite bathrooms have flush toilets and hot showers.
Gombe Lodge has a combined lounge and dining area built above the forest floor that offers spectacular views of the dhow-dotted lake and jungle-covered mountains. Relax on sun loungers on the lake’s white-sand shore with a favourite from the lodge library. Snorkelling equipment is available for those keen to explore a dazzling array of life below the water’s surface. Or you can enjoy serene walks to two tumbling waterfalls – Mkenke and Kakombe – within the park’s borders and cultural tours to the fishing village of Kigoma.
The camp’s facilities are suitable for children 12 years or older but those under 15 are not permitted on walking safaris.
The camp’s dining area is built on a wooden platform with an extended outside deck shaded by the forest and just a couple of steps from the shore. Breakfast includes cereals and fruit as well as a la carte ‘full English’ options. Late-morning snacks are packed for walking safaris while lunches and dinners are 3-course, set-menu offerings comprising seafood, pastas, meat dishes, and international cuisine. Romantic barbecues on the lakeside are an unforgettable way to watch the sunset and look for shooting stars.
3) Kasekela Luxury Campsite
Kasekela luxury campsite nestles in a perfect place to immense warm breeze of the world’s longest freshwater Lake Tanganyika. Located on the shore Lake Tanganyika in the stunning natural environment of Gombe National Park that supports a magnificent diversity of wildlife, each tent at Kasekela features either one king-size bed or a double bed. While staying at this camp, you will enjoy splashes of the Great Rift Valley Lake coupled with relaxing rhythmic sounds.
You can also capture the gorgeous moment of the day conquering the night as you listen to diverse songs of Tropical forest and aquatic birds as well as screams of chimpanzees. Its camping capacity accommodates 8people of all cadres at the same time.
4) Gombe Bandas
Gombe Bandas is a government-owned, self-catering low-budget rest house accommodation in Gombe Stream National Park, suitable for backpackers and other highly motivated, non-frill adventurers on a primate vacation in Tanzania who do not mind making all their own arrangements from hostel rooming pre-booking, food catering, transport including boat, road and air travel, park fees, insurance for a hostel environment that does have any support structure during emergencies, etc. bringing in pressure and uncertainty of travels in this remote part of Africa.
Accommodation At Gombe Bandas
In the Tanzania National Park Authority owned Gombe Bandas, there are 8 very basic small rooms with a single or twin bed, bedside table, and there are common sitting and dining areas as well as shared toilets and showers.
Dining At Gombe Bandas
Food at Gombe Bandas can be a problem for inexperienced trekkers on their tour in Tanzania. There is a canteen that serves low-cost ethnic dishes at set times, but snacks are not available and it may be advisable to bring your own staples and use the self-catering facilities, which are simple but requires further cleaning. Possible canteen dishes include rice (wali), and rice bread, spicy samosas, maize porridge (ugali), and ndidzi-nyama (plantain with meat relish). Most usual vegetable relishes served with nsima, or maize pearls, are fried okra and boiled cassava, gourd or spinach. Chickpeas and tomatoes are sometimes available subject to local harvest. Coastal dishes with curry or coconut milk are also prominent in the varied but unique culinary repertoire. It is necessary to exercise caution in purchasing ready-made food from unknown cooks geared towards the local palates when you travel in Africa since preparation is not always as hygienic and fastidious for your untamed intestines and stomach as one could wish. For example, salads may be washed in lake water or meat and fish exposed to flies at local canteens. AfricanMecca’s safest recommendation is to purchase firm, fresh fruit, wash and peel it, and to drink mineral water, bottled beers, and soft drinks.
5) GombeTented Camp
Gombe Luxury Tented Camp is located near the Mitumba stream at the northern end of Gombe Stream National Park. The location of the camp is exceptional, placed right on the lakeshore with an extensive private beach. All the tents are designed and constructed under big shady trees with gorgeous views that make the most of what this unique beachfront forest location.
Gombe Stream Tented Camp is situated near the Mitumba stream at the northern end of Gombe Stream National Park. It is right on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and the small airport at Kigoma, 16 kilometres north of the camp, makes it easy to reach by scheduled flight.
Despite being the smallest park in Tanzania at just 52 square kilometres, Gombe Stream National Park has much to offer its visitors as you will find out!
The tents are made of heavy-duty canvas material with plenty of space to move around in. Each tent has roll-up tent flaps with gauze windows and is built on raised wooden platforms, adequately spaced to allow you privacy whilst offering great views. Each tent has private facilities and hot water showers – very welcome after a long day’s game-driving! Decorated in African style with locally produced furniture, you’re sure to have the ‘Out of Africa’ experience here.
The reception area has a small library, information centre, and a shop. A bar and lounge area are also available for a welcome sundowner while you look out over Lake Tanganyika to the Congo Mountains.
6) Jane Goodall rest house
The Cage, or as it is now known the Jane Goodall Rest House, was technically the third place that Jane Goodall lived-in after she started at Gombe in July 1960. Between 1966 and 1971 they moved to a prefabricated aluminium hut on the beach, which had on one side and open verandah protected with a strong wireframe in which their son Grub could play in safety. At first, The Cage was thatched with grass, to protect from strong sunlight and noisy rain on the roof, with glass windows. Jane and Hugo used it whenever they were in Gombe between about 1967 and 1971, where it was also convenient for their son to play safely on the beach while they were among the chimpanzees in the forest. After that, the Cage was used for graduate students to live-in.
After that, the Cage was taken-over by National Parks.TANAPA used it initially as accommodation for guests or Senior Park officers until GONAPA management built their own staff quarters at Kasekela. Since that time it has been used as accommodation for tourists and film-crews.
7) Kasekela public campsite
Public camping is provided. Tourists can either use their own camping gears or park can provide camping gear. Water, electricity, and toilet facilities are provided.
Getting to Gombe National Park
Drive, schedule or charter a flight from Dar Es Salaam, Mwanza or Arusha or take a slow or fast train from Dar Es Salaam or ferry along the shore of Lake Tanganyika from Burundi or Zambia to Kigoma. To reach Gombe you must travel by boat from Kigoma. Depending on your budget, there’s an option of a speed boat, which takes much less time- or passenger’s boat, which takes longer about 4 hrs. A boat ride is an amazing trip.
Kigoma is connected to Dar and Arusha by scheduled flights, to Dar and Mwanza by slow rail service, to Mwanza, Dar, and Mbeya by rough dirt roads, and to Mpulungu in Zambia by a weekly ferry. From Kigoma, local lake-taxis take up to three hours to reach Gombe, or motorboats can be chartered, taking less than one hour.
scheduled flights connect Kigoma to Dar and Arusha, and Dar es Salaam is connected to Mwanza by unhurried rail service, there are dirty rough roads connecting to Mbeya, Mwanza, and Dar es Salaam, and then a weekly ferry to Mpulungu found in Zambia.
There are local taxis that will take you from Kigoma to Gombe – a 3 hours drive, or opt to use the motorboats which will take less than an hour.