GOMBE NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
Gombe National Park is one of the smallest National parks located in the Western Kigoma Region in Tanzania 20kilometers north of Kigoma, the capital of Kigoma region. The park was established in 1968 with only 13.5 square miles “35km²” of the protected land along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika and the terrain is distinguished by steep valleys and the forest vegetation which ranges from grassland to woodland to tropical rainforest. The park is famous as the location where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioral research conducted on the chimpanzee populations and also known as the Kasekela Chimpanzee community.
History Of Gombe National Park
History Of Gombe National Park Tanzania
In the year of 1960 Jane Goodall at the age of 26 first traveled to Tanzania with no formal college training and it was accepted at the time that humans were undoubtedly similar to chimpanzees and that we share over 98% of the same genetic code though little was known about the chimpanzee behavior or community structure. She says at the time when she began her research that it was not permissible to talk about an animal’s mind, humans only had minds. Jane Goodall’s research eventually proved just that the intellectual and emotional sophistication of non-humans, chimpanzees in particular.
Goodall set up a small research station in Gombe with the support of renowned anthropologist Luis Leakey in hopes of learning more about the behavior of our closest relatives and there she spent months tracking the elusive chimpanzee troops and particularly the Kasekela chimpanzee community and also observing their daily habits until she was slowly accepted by one troop and was allowed rare and glimpses intimate into chimpanzee society. Goodall observed things that strict scientific doctrines may have overlooked without college training directing her research and she gave names to the chimpanzees she observed instead of numbering them such as Fifi and David Greybeard and observed them to have unique and individual personalities an unconventional idea at that time.
She lived at Gombe almost full time for fifteen years and the long-term data she accumulated is still of value to scientists today. In the year 1967 the Gombe stream Research Center (GSRC) was established to coordinate ongoing chimpanzee research in the park. The GSRC is the run mostly by a team of trained Tanzanians is the longest running field study of an animals species in their natural surroundings and now over 40 years. Goodall’s research of chimpanzee habitat requirements also aid in improved design for new protected areas.
Tanzania Safari Attractions in Gombe National Park
The high levels of Gombe’s diversity made it an increasingly popular tourist destination and apart from chimpanzees, the park is also a habitat for primates which include red colobus, beachcomber olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys. The red-tailed monkeys and blue monkeys have also been known to hybridize in the area.
Gombe National park is also a home to over 200 species of birds and bush pigs and also many species of snakes, occasional hippopotami and leopards.
Tanzania Safari Activities done in Gombe National Park
This activity offers great encounters with the chimpanzees which is the premier attraction of the park and it takes about 1 hour with each group of the chimps and after your one hour is up, you are permitted to go and find another group which gives you access to the social life of the chimps and also the underaged children under the age of 15 are not permitted to enter the forest. While trekking the chimpanzees you can come along other primates like the red-tailed monkey, vervet monkeys, beachcomber live baboon and the blue monkey among others.
This is also an interesting activity apart from chimp trekking, here tourists can view different animals such as the bush bucks, bush pigs, and reed bucks which are often seen within the forests and also get opportunities of seeing many plant species.
Gombe Stream National park is a haven of birdlife and it has both residential and migratory birds, here the most commonly seen birds are the palmnut vulture, trumpeter hornbill, fishing eagle and the pied kingfisher and the birding activity can also be done while on a nature guided walk or chimp trekking.
This can be taken to a Goodall foundations old feeding station trail, the first place where Dr Goodall was when studying the behavior of the chimpanzees and it is also the same place in 1871 where Henry Stanley met Dr Livingstone.
This activity is carried out with an experienced fishing guide as well as a fishing permit and the activity is done in only designated areas.
How to get to Gombe National Park Tanzania
The park can only be accessed by Boat cruise or Air. It an be accessed from Arusha, Nyerere Airstrip and fly to Kigoma airstrip and then take a 10 minutes boat and enter the park.
The National park can also be accessed from Burundi capital city transfer to Kigoma town for about 40 minutes, and then take a boat to the park for about 20 minutes.