Gombe Stream Overview

Gombe Stream National Park, located in the western Kigoma Region of Tanzania, is one of the smallest yet most famous national parks in Africa. Established in 1968, it covers an area of just 52 square kilometers (about 20 square miles), nestled along the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Despite its modest size, Gombe Stream has gained international renown, primarily due to the groundbreaking research of Dr. Jane Goodall, who began her study of the park’s chimpanzee population in 1960.

This park is a primeval forest of towering trees, lush ferns, and dense undergrowth, providing an ideal habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife, including over 200 bird species, forest pigs, and various primates. Gombe Stream’s claim to fame, however, lies in its extraordinary population of chimpanzees. These primates are the main draw for visitors, offering a rare opportunity to observe chimpanzee behavior up close in the wild. Goodall’s research, which continues today under the Jane Goodall Institute, has vastly expanded our understanding of chimpanzees, highlighting their complex social structures, use of tools, and emotional lives.

Apart from chimpanzee tracking, visitors to Gombe Stream National Park can enjoy hiking, swimming, and snorkeling in the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest and second-deepest freshwater lake. The park’s network of trails offers scenic walks through the forest to spectacular waterfalls and viewpoints overlooking the lake.

Gombe Stream National Park serves as a critical sanctuary for conservation and research, offering insights into the behavior and ecology of chimpanzees and other forest inhabitants. It stands as a testament to the importance of protecting natural habitats and the incredible insights that can be gained from long-term wildlife study. For those interested in primatology, conservation, or simply experiencing the beauty of an untouched African forest, Gombe Stream offers an unparalleled adventure.

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Gombe Stream National Park Highlights


Gombe Stream National Park, nestled along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, is renowned for its population of wild chimpanzees. Made famous by the groundbreaking research of Dr. Jane Goodall, these chimpanzees are among the most studied primate populations in the world.

The park’s dense forests provide an ideal habitat for these intelligent and social creatures, allowing visitors a rare opportunity to observe them in their natural environment.

Chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park live in complex societies, exhibiting a wide range of behaviors, including hunting, tool use, and communication through vocalizations and gestures.

Guided chimpanzee trekking experiences offer visitors the chance to track these fascinating primates as they forage, play, and interact with one another in the forest.

Encounter with these iconic animals provides a profound insight into their intricate social structures, family dynamics, and conservation challenges they face in the wild.


Gombe Stream National Park teems with diverse wildlife beyond its renowned chimpanzee population. Here are ten popular species that enchant visitors:

Olive Baboon: Agile and social, olive baboons roam the park in troops, foraging for fruits and insects while displaying intricate social behaviors within their hierarchical groups.

Red-tailed Monkey: With vibrant russet fur and a long, distinctive tail, red-tailed monkeys swing through the forest canopy in search of fruits, leaves, and insects.

Blue Monkey: Named for its striking bluish-gray fur, the blue monkey is an arboreal species often seen foraging in the forest canopy for fruits, leaves, and insects.

Red Colobus Monkey: Endemic to the region, the red colobus monkey is an iconic species known for its vivid red coat and lively antics in the treetops.

Bushbuck: Preferring dense forest habitats, bushbucks are shy antelope species that graze on leaves, fruits, and grasses while cautiously navigating the park’s undergrowth.

Bush Pig: Nocturnal and solitary, bush pigs are rarely seen by visitors, but their distinctive grunting calls and tracks are evidence of their presence in the park’s woodlands.

Civet: Nocturnal and elusive, civets are small, cat-like mammals with distinctive facial markings. They feed on a variety of foods, including fruits, insects, and small vertebrates.

Genet: Slender and nocturnal, genets are agile climbers often spotted prowling through the trees in search of birds, rodents, insects, and fruits.

Monitor Lizard: With their long, slender bodies and forked tongues, monitor lizards are a common sight along the park’s waterways, where they hunt for fish, frogs, and small mammals.

African Fish Eagle: Majestic and iconic, the African fish eagle is a skilled predator of fish, often seen soaring above the park’s lakes and rivers in search of prey.

Engaging Gombe Stream

Gombe Stream National Park offers a unique opportunity to trek through lush forests in search of wild chimpanzees. Accompanied by experienced guides, visitors embark on guided hikes to observe these fascinating primates in their natural habitat.

As you traverse the park’s rugged terrain, keep an eye out for other wildlife species such as red colobus monkeys, baboons, and a variety of bird species.

Encounter with chimpanzees provides a rare glimpse into their social dynamics, behaviors, and daily lives, making it a truly unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike.

Explore the picturesque shores of Lake Tanganyika on a boat safari, offering a different perspective of Gombe Stream National Park’s diverse ecosystems. Glide across the crystal-clear waters, bordered by lush forests and dramatic cliffs, while spotting wildlife along the shoreline. Keep your camera ready to capture sightings of hippos, crocodiles, and colorful birdlife inhabiting the lake’s shores. Boat safaris provide a tranquil and immersive way to experience the park’s natural beauty while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Gombe Stream National Park Trails

Jane Goodall Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles (3.2 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Jane Goodall Trail offers an easy stroll through the forests of Gombe Stream National Park, retracing the footsteps of the renowned primatologist.

Hikers will explore lush vegetation and encounter chimpanzees and other primates in their natural habitat.

Enjoy the serene ambiance of the forest while learning about Goodall’s groundbreaking research and conservation efforts in the park, making this trail a memorable experience for wildlife enthusiasts.

Kakombe Waterfall Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (4.8 km) with an elevation gain of 656 feet (200 meters)

Description: The Kakombe Waterfall Trail leads hikers to the scenic Kakombe Waterfall, nestled amidst the forests of Gombe Stream National Park.

Trek through dense vegetation and rocky terrain, encountering diverse flora and fauna along the way.

Enjoy the refreshing spray of the waterfall and take in the tranquil beauty of the surroundings, making this trail a popular choice for nature lovers and photographers.

Palm Beach Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Palm Beach Trail offers a leisurely walk along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the longest freshwater lake in the world, within Gombe Stream National Park.

Hikers will stroll along sandy beaches, observing birds and enjoying panoramic views of the lake and surrounding landscapes.

Relax under the shade of palm trees and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, making this trail perfect for a day of relaxation and recreation.

Chimpanzee Trekking Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies depending on chimpanzee location

Description: The Chimpanzee Trekking Trail allows hikers to embark on an unforgettable adventure to observe wild chimpanzees in their natural habitat within Gombe Stream National Park.

Led by experienced guides, hikers will trek through dense forests and steep terrain, following the movements of chimpanzee groups.

Enjoy close encounters with these fascinating primates and learn about their behaviors and social structures, making this trail a must-do experience for wildlife enthusiasts.

Kasekela Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4 miles (6.4 km) with an elevation gain of 984 feet (300 meters)

Description: The Kasekela Trail offers a moderate hike through the forests of Gombe Stream National Park, providing opportunities to observe chimpanzees and other wildlife.

Hikers will traverse through dense vegetation, crossing streams and rocky outcrops along the way.

Enjoy sightings of birds and monkeys while exploring the diverse ecosystems of the park, making this trail a rewarding nature experience for hikers of all levels.

  • Britannica, Gombe Stream National Park,, retrieved March 2024.
  • Gombe National Park, Park Site,, retrieved March 2024.
  • Jane Goodall, Gombe Stream Research Centre, , retrieved March 2024.
  • Tanzania National Parks, Gombe Stream National Park,, retrieved March 2024.
  • UNESCO, Gombe National Park,, retrieved March 2024.