Gombe is the smallest national park in Tanzania
Gombe Stream National Park is located in western Kigoma Region, Tanzania, 20 km north of Kigoma. Established in 1968, Gombe is the smallest national park in Tanzania, with only 52 sq km of forest running along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. It is located only 100km north of Mahale Mountains National Park and is accessible only by boat. The terrain is distinguished by steep valleys, and the forest vegetation ranges from grassland to alpine bamboo to tropical rainforest. Gombe Stream is best known as the place where Jane Goodall did her pioneering studies on chimpanzees, beginning in the 1960s and continuing until this day. It's one of the two places in Tanzania for a chimpanzee safari. The chimps don't roam as far in the wet summer season so amy be easier to find on walks and hikes through the forest. It might be better to visit between February and June, or during November and December when there is a higher likelihood of being able to observe the chimps while they are less active. There are no guarantees, but most guests allow 2 days for a chimpanzee safari.
There are plenty of baboons around, but the focal point of Gombe are the chimps. It’s reconciling their interests with those of tourism that has occupied the founder of the reserve, Jane Goodall, for 25 years. Here, in the 1960’s, Goodall carried out major research conclusively the unique relationship between man and chimpanzee, as we share 95% of our genes with them (some people may share more than others!) and they have similar hearing, smells and other senses to humans.
You need to pay $100 a day just to come (entrance fee), whether you see the chimps or not, so be prepared; you may be disappointed. Some of the chimpanzees in the main study community are actually quite aggressive to strangers, so it can be dangerous. Care has to be taken not to pass on diseases to the chimps, as humans and chimps immunity systems are so similar that we can catch their diseases and they ours.
Best known for its habituated chimpanzee population, Gombe Stream National Park provides visitors with a unique opportunit to witness these incredible primates (sharing 98% of our human DNA) in their natural habitat, being conserved and protected to sustain their fragile existence. After the invaluable work of Jane Goodall, who dedicated her life to the conservation of the Gombe Stream chimps from the 1960s, wildlife programmes have broadcast from within the park, frequently featuring one of the families that can be visited in the park today. Besides chimpanzees, primates inhabiting Gombe Stream include beachcomber olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys and vervet monkeys.The park is also home to over 200 bird species, as well as providing a home to a vast number of bushpigs. There are 11 species of snakes, and also a number of hippos and leopards, as well as bushbuck, Palm-nut vultures and Fish eagles. Truly biodiverse, Gombe Stream is an undiscovered paradise where visitors can trek into the forest to observe chimpanzees, or swim and snorkel in Lake Tanganyika with almost 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fish. Gombe Stream is the perfect place for a walking safari, allowing guests to cool off along the way with a dip in one of the many streams that dissect the park.
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