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GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK

 
Background Information

Destination Highlights

Gombe Stream National Park is located in western Kigoma Region, Tanzania, 20 km north of Kigoma. Established in 1968, Gombe is the smallest national park in Tanzania, with only 52 sq km of forest running along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. It is located only 100km north of Mahale Mountains National Park and is accessible only by boat.
The terrain is distinguished by steep valleys, and the forest vegetation ranges from grassland to alpine bamboo to tropical rainforest. Gombe Stream is best known as the place where Jane Goodall did her pioneering studies on chimpanzees, beginning in the 1960s and continuing until this day. It's one of the two places in Tanzania for a chimpanzee safari.

The chimps don't roam as far in the wet summer season so amy be easier to find on walks and hikes through the forest. It might be better to visit between February and June, or during November and December when there is a higher likelihood of being able to observe the chimps while they are less active. There are no guarantees, but most guests allow 2 days for a chimpanzee safari.

 
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What to see and do

Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 50km (30 miles) distant. But it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru - the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – that dominates the park’s horizon. Its peaks and eastern footslopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right.
Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.