Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe, is still regularly seen by visitors.
Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots and screams that define the celebrities, the powerbrokers, and the supporting characters. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp's eyes, assessing you in return - a look of apparent recognition across the narrowest of species barriers.
The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys - the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.
The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twin spots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.
In the lush shade of ancient forest trees just off the shores of Lake Tanganyika, lies the small yet intimate Gombe Forest Lodge. It may be the smallest of our Lodges but offers complete privacy by catering for just 14 guests at a time.
This is a lodge totally at ease with its surroundings with an absolutely delightful atmosphere.
Gombe Luxury Tented Camp is located near the Mitumba stream at the northern end of Gombe Stream National Park. The location of the camp is in the best area: it is intellectually placed right on the lakeshore, with a spacious beach and all the tents designed and constructed under big shady trees.