Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe Stream National Park is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks just 52 sq km (20 sq miles) of forest running along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The environment is distinguished by steep valleys, and the forest vegetation which ranges from grassland to alpine bamboo to tropical rainforest. The National park is located sixteen kilometers north of Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania near the Burundi.
The park is a small green island engulfed by fields, farms and villages. Despite its small size, the park is one of the best places in the world to see wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The Chimpanzees are known to be related to the human beings and are said to share about ninety eight percent of their genes with the humans.
The park is a home to other animals such as the beachcomber olive baboons, colobus monkeys, giant kingfishers, bushpigs, trumpeter hornbills, and more than fifty other wild species.
For the lovers of birds there are also more than 200 species of birds that have been spotted ranging from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel like Peter’s twinspots. There are also eleven species of snakes, the leopards and hippopotamus that can be spotted occasionally.
The biodiversity of Gombe Stream National Park is mainly threatened by human encroachment. This is mostly due to the fact that not all stake holders are involved in the conservation. There is poor collaboration between government sectors, park management and rural communities
The communities are generally the ones that settle or lie between the protected areas thus hindering the movement of the animals. At the same time some communities will hunt the animals for bush meat or kill them when they approach their way or invade the gardens. Some communities will invade the habitats by clearing the forests for food production, thus putting the animals under limited resources.
How to Get to Gombe Stream National Park
To get to Gombe Stream National Park one can take scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam and Arusha to Kigoma or from Dar es Salaam and Mwanza to Kigoma by a rail service. Alternatively by dirt road from Dar es Salaam and Mbeya to Kigoma, then one can use the local lake taxis that can take approximately three hours to Gombe. Motorboats can also be hired that take less time(less than 1hour)
Best time to Visit
Chimpanzees do not roam far during the wet season so it is easier to spot them, that is between February to June and November to mid December. The best time to have pictures is on the dry season which lies between July to October and late December.
Where to Stay
There is a luxury tented lodge as well a self-catering hostel, guest houses and campsites on the lakeshore.
Park officials usually advise travelers to be aware of overnight facilities that are rugged and camping at the park is sometimes restricted in order to protect visitors from the danger posed by aggressive baboons.
Activities to be done
- Chimpanzee trekking
- Visit the site of Henry Stanley’s