Expert Reviews – Gombe NP
Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
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A unique park to see the chimpanzees made famous by primatologist Jane Goodall
Gombe is a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep river valleys and tropical rainforest on Lake Tanganyika. Trekking to see chimpanzees here is a remarkable experience; although sightings are not guaranteed, they are habituated to humans, the guides usually know where to find them, and no scientific expertise is needed to recognise their distinctive pants, hoots and screams. Besides chimpanzees, other primates include a troop of ‘beach-combing’ olive baboons, and red-tailed and vervet monkeys. I found the lake itself enchanting – we sat on the beach at sunset and watched the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city. Gombe is not easy to get to – it’s a bumpy and arduous boat ride from Kigoma – and only appeals to those with a keen interest in primates, but is one of the few places in the world to see chimps in the wild.