Gombe National Park

Gombe National Park is a small park on Lake Tanganyika in which to live one of the greatest emotions: the clouse encounter with our closest genetic relatives, the chimpanzees. The park is a narrow strip of land close to the eastern escarpment of the Rift Valley. From its peaks flow rushing streams that flow into Lake Tanganyika.

The park is known worldwide as the research center where Jane Goodall dedicated her life to the study of chimpanzees.

There are about 100 individuals in the park, living in three communities, the largest of which is the one studied by Jane Goodall, the Kasekela community, composed of about 45 chimpanzees.

Walking tracking with the guide allows close encounters with eight different species of primates in the dense forest. Primates are not bothered by people and let themselves be approached. It is very easy to encounter the chimpanzees, but it cannot be guaranteed: the park is not a zoo.

The best season for sightings is the rainy season, but in March and April the trails are impassable.

The Gombe is accessible only by boat.

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  • 1 day to visit the park, accessible by boat from Kigoma in 2 hours and a half
  • it covers an area of 56 km²
  • altitude 773 – 1.500 mt

  • accomodation in Kigoma or in the park

points of interest

Jane’s Peak is Jane Goodall’s favorite viewpoint , where she first observed chimpanzees in their behavior
the Kakombe Waterfalls are 20-meter waterfalls, where chimpanzees have been seen dancing, a ritual that expresses their sense of fear towards the power of nature
Gombe Stream Research Centeris the research center of Gombe National Park, founded in 1965

Jane Goodall is the famous scientist who initiated chimpanzee studies.

Young English girl in Kenya for a holiday, in 1957, Jane contacted paleontologist Louis Leakey, who studied chimpanzees to understand the evolution of man, becoming passionate enough to join his research group. Back in England, Jane graduated in ethology and founded the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania, where she remained for more than 40 years.

In 1977, Jane Goodall founded the Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation in California in support of her research, from which she still conducts activities in favor of environmental conservation and biodiversity. The institute has among its aims scientific research aimed not at the use of primates as test subject, but to protect and increase the territory at their disposal.

Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to spreading her plans to protect chimpanzees, increasingly at risk of extinction, having gone from a million specimens to less than 200,000 in a hundred years. The main cause is deforestation which, in addition to destroying the habitat of primates, makes it possible to reach their territories for hunting and trade in live animals. The research centre also deals with the recovery of illegally detained animals.

Seeing chimpanzees in the wild is one of the most exciting experiences, because they are the primates closest to man, from the genetic point of view and from the social and intellectual point of view.

Genetically, humans and chimpanzees are very close together, with 98.3% identical DNA. The chimpanzees are 60-80 cm tall, weigh around the 50 kg but have a strength from 5 to 7 times greater than that of the man. As they get older, they lose their hair on their head and the skin color of their face darkens.

Usually the female gives birth to only one cub, which remains with the mother for several years; the cohabitation of siblings of different ages generates family ties that last in adulthood.

Chimpanzees are the only animals that use branches or stones as tools, for example to extract food or to break shells.

The penetrating gaze and the ability to interact must not make tourists forget that it is a wild species, that deserves respect and that can always be dangerous in case of inadequate behavior.

During the tracking of the chimpanzees it is possible to see also other primates, such as eastern red colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon.

Behavior rules for tracking chimpanzees


  • Wear a surgical mask (tracking is strictly forbidden in case of symptoms of viral infection).
  • Do not give chimpanzees any kind of objects that can transmit diseases.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 10 meters from the chimpanzees and do not approach in groups of more than 6 people.
  • Do not drink or eat within 250 meters of chimpanzees.



In Tanzania only here • Afep Pigeon
Other bird species • Blue-spotted Wood-dove • African Green-pigeon• White-browed Coucal⚑ • Livingstone’s Turaco• Ross’s Turaco• White-winged Tern⚑ • African Fish-eaglea⚑ • Tawny Eagle • Crowned Eagle⚑ • Palm-nut Vulture • Half-collared Kingfisher • Giant Kingfisher• Pied Kingfisher • Blue-breasted Kingfisher • Woodland Kingfisher⚑ • Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird• Double-toothed Barbet⚑ • African Broadbill• Tropical Boubou• White-browed Robin-chat• Red-capped Robin-chat⚑ • Collared Sunbird• Red-chested Sunbird • Baglafecht Weaver• Spectacled Weaver⚑ • Red-throated Twinspot • Kenya Sparrow • African Pied Wagtailand several other 
Tanzania endemic
Near endemic
Africa endemic
*Image by Margo Tanenbaum

Tanganika lake

The exceptional biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika makes it an extremely valuable aquatic ecosystem, for the local economy and for fans of snorkeling and diving. In the lake there are at least 1,500 species of fish, including about 600 endemic species, including 245 species of cichlids with bright colors and various shapes, so beautiful to be the most popular ornamental aquarium fish. The lake has a depth of 1,436 meters, but most cichlids live in the shallow and transparent waters close to bright beaches..


Snorkeling and birdwatching on the boat

Are you interested in Gombe National Park? Contact us!

To find information on parks fees, already included in the price of our safaris, go to Park FeesThe parks taxation system in Tanzania is the necessary contribution to the conservation of an uncontaminated and wild natural heritage, of inestimable environmental value.

For general information about all parks in Tanzania and about this park – when to go, where is it, nearby destinations – go to Parks