At just 52 sq km (20 sq miles), Gombe Stream National Park is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks. The park is located 16km (10 miles) north of Kigoma near the Burundi border. The fragile strip of land lies between the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest lake.
Although the Gombe is Tanzania’s smallest national park, it is all the most famous thanks to the groundbreaking work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a chimpanzee behavioural research program - now the world’s longest running study of an individual animal population.
When Jane Goodall arrived at Gombe in 1960, it was just one parcel of forest among a vast jungle. Today, the national park is surrounded by farms, fields and villages. The only way to reach the park is by tramp steamer.
Many of the Chimpanzees are habituated to humans as a result of the on-going research program. In addition to the chimpanzees, the park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including two kinds of acrobatic colobus monkeys, along with bushpigs, giant kingfishers, crowned eagles, trumpeter hornbills, and more than 50 other wild species.
For someone who’s been interested in primates and reading Jane Goodall’s books since I was young, visiting Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania is a bit like making a pilgrimage to a sacred place. For this reason, it is hard to write this blog. Mainly because I would need to ...