Gombe is Tanzania’s smallest national park, but its famous primate inhabitants and its connection to Jane Goodhall have given it worldwide renown. Many of Gombe’s 100-plus chimps are well habituated, and though it can be difficult, sweaty work traversing steep hills and valleys, if you head out early in the morning sightings are nearly guaranteed.
As well as chimp tracking, you can take walks along the lakeshore, and go see Jane’s old chimp-feeding station, the viewpoint on Jane’s peak and Kakombe waterfall.
While chimp trekking is the main draw, you can walk along the shoreline and get close to the resident baboons, see the waterfall, hike in the forest and swim in the lake. There are no roads.
Rewarding encounters with chimpanzees is the premier attraction at this park. 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. A guide costs US$ 23.60 per group. Children under the age of 15 are not allowed to enter the forest, although they can stay at the rest house.
The park-run accommodation (huts and luxury tents) in Gombe rarely fills up completely, but it’s best to book rooms in advance through the visitor information center in Kigoma or directly with the park. If you want a more refined experience, option for the only luxury camp available, tents on raised platforms at the Gombe Forest Lodge.
Tanapa Rest House
Next to the visitor center at Kasekela, this amenable place has six simple rooms with electricity mornings and evenings. Two overflow facilities have rooms of lesser quality, and toilets at the back. There are also four special glampsing-style tents. You can bring your own food and use the kitchen for a modest fee.
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.