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This Tour Is Offered by Gombe Track Safaris & Tours

Joshua and Naombael (Directors)

Joshua and Naombael (Directors)

Gombe Track Safaris & Tours

4.6/5  
(47 Reviews)
Office In:
Size:
10-20 employees (Founded in 2005)
Tour Types:
Small & medium group tours (Budget & mid-range)
Destinations:
Burundi BI
Rwanda RW
Tanzania TZ
Joshua and Naombael (Directors)

Joshua and Naombael (Directors)

Gombe safari offer safaris in Tanzania that cater for small or large groups as well individuals. We’ll provide you with your desired itinerary and any optional activities you may require and can assist you to create the perfect lodge safari, luxury or classic tented safari, as well as budget camping adventures.

Reviews47

Beware of what you are getting into!
2/5

We were very disappointed in this tour. Starting out with being picked up late at the airport. We arrived in the pouring rain with no cell phone service and the driver was 15 minutes late in picking us up, which would not have been a big deal if we had a way of getting ahold of someone to see if they were coming or had forgotten us.

Secondly, the driver was drunk from the impression I got. He drove those roads at 120kph which I finally had to tell him to slow down. These are dirt/ clay roads! There was a man on a bicycle carrying long wooden sticks which the driver hit as he drove by the man! I know I'm in a different country but is this a normal occurrence? He proceeded to tell us we would be in the car for 6 hours...? Now, I'm confused because the itinerary I was sent said:
"Transfer to Sigunga village where you will take a boat to Mahale mountain national park. Have a picnic lunch at Sigunga village before boating to Mahale. The boat will take approximately 3 to 4 hours"
As we drove at top speeds we came to a village where we were told he had forgotten dinner and would be right back. 30 minutes later he returns with a chicken and throws him in the back of the car. After driving for 3 hours I ask about lunch because it's now 3pm. He hands me a box lunch which was not vegetarian like I had said several times that I was. I could not eat! I had a banana. At 630pm we arrive at this boat in the middle of nowhere. There is 1 man waiting to take us to Mahale. This is scary for 2 women traveling alone, especially with my sister who has anxiety. If we had been informed ahead of time what was going to be going on we would have felt more comfortable. Especially since it took 7+ hours to get there when we were thinking it was a 3hr boat ride. We get on the boat and it is now getting dark. I'm in a strange place in the middle of this huge lake on this boat not knowing where we are going. We arrive at dark, can not see anything. We ate dinner at 9pm! This is not acceptable, especially since we had no lunch!
If it wasn't for our guide Huessein it would have been a horrible experience. Luckily he made it amazing for us.
Last thing, when we left and stayed in Kigoma town, we were dropped at the hotel with NO information. Nothing about lunch, dinner or the museum tour. Food was terrible. The staff didn't understand what I was talking about. So I messaged Joshua with whom I had been speaking with, very little information again. I got ahold of the driver to ask him about the museum and he said Oh, we will go tomorrow before the airport. Again, he could not tell me how far the airport was and said he would pick us up at 8 for the tour to the museum. He then said the airport was 2 hours away. I told him we left at 1230. The next morning after our tour we realized the airport was 5 minutes from us! We spent 3 hrs at that little airport waiting.
I just don't understand why the itinerary I received was not followed nor was I ever given correct information. Mahale was such a special place and I would love to return. I'm not trying to be mean, I just want to inform anyone traveling here the situation.

Very good.Great 9 days and all was ok.
5/5

The communication was satisfied and the organisation of the tour excellent.
We had a great driver and he was a perfect guide. the food was delicious and so we could enjoy our second safari trip with this company.
We would like to do it once more!!!

Timing was very good and everyone was friendly and helpful. Last accom a bit noisy, but comfortable.
4/5

Everything happened very smoothly, timing with each step of the tour was really good. People friendly and helpful. The accommodation in Kigoma was just a bit noisy, but otherwise good.

Visit to Gombe Stream National Park
5/5

We spent three days and two nights at Gombe Stream National Park. It was a thrilling visit, as we got to see the Central Community of chimpanzees and hiked many trails in the park. The visit was during the dry season, so we had to hunt for the chimpanzees but viewing them was excellent with the reduced vegetation. We stayed in the lodge built for Goodall's son. It was very comfortable and close to everything. The food was wonderful, fish right from the lake. Our guide was very knowledgeable and capable. I would like to visit again. I would plan to stay at least two days to ensure seeing chimpanzees.

Got me to Gombe but didn't deliver all of what was promised
2/5

Gombe Stream NP is an amazing, magical place. The chimpanzee treks themselves are conducted by TANAPA (Tanzania's national park service) regardless of how you get to Gombe. The TANAPA guide assigned to me was superb.

Gombe Track provided a driver in Kigoma and a cook who accompanied me to Gombe. Both were great and individually deserve 5 stars. The driver stopped by on my night in Kigoma to point out the MV Liemba coming into port, and the cook took time in the evenings in Gombe to help me learn Swahili.

Unfortunately, my overall experience with Gombe Track as a tour operator was marred by two issues.

First, the itinerary I agreed to stated all meals and non-alcoholic refreshments were included. This turned out not to be the case. I was forced to pay for a number of waters and sodas, and on my last day in Kigoma, was told by the "hotel" (see below) that my meals were not included. As a result, I opted to skip two meals (dinner and breakfast) rather than pay for food that should have been covered.

Second, the itinerary I agreed to called for one night in Kigoma at a specific hotel (Coast View). I researched this property beforehand to ensure it was acceptable to me. Instead, without any notice or discussion, I was taken to another accommodation which seemed to be of much lower quality (Aqua Lodge).

Unlike Coast View, Aqua Lodge had no internet/WiFi, no restaurant/bar, etc. While the staff seemed friendly enough and there was a great lake view, my room had only a squeaky ceiling fan that didn't cool the room very well and the poor ventilation allowed outside cigarette smoke in. The bed had a thin bed sheet over over a mattress that wasn't even tucked in. There was a leak in the bathroom that left the base of the toilet in a puddle of water. Finally, I could hear just about everything in the one nearby room that was occupied by a couple who decided to get frisky at 3 am. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much and was counting down the hours until I left.

I should note that my trip to Gombe was initially arranged through another tour operator, who I had a great experience with on another safari. After I had agreed to terms and was in Tanzania, I was handed off to Gombe Track directly. The full payment for my trip was given to Gombe Track. As far as I am concerned, it was Gombe Track's responsibility to be aware of the itinerary/terms and ensure they were followed since it was the company actually conducting the tour.

I paid Gombe Track $900 for 4 days and the last ~22 hours were in Kigoma where I was basically on my own waiting to fly back to Dar es Salaam. This amount did not include the TANAPA fees (park entrance, guide, accommodations at the park, etc.) and airfare, which added more than $600 to the total cost.

$900 should have been way more than enough to profitably cover my (limited) ground transportation in Kigoma, the boat to and from Gombe, 4 days of meals and non-alcoholic beverages, admission to the Livingstone monument in Ujiji, and one night of accommodation in the Kigoma hotel specified in the itinerary I agreed to.

While Gombe Track got me to Gombe and back, and I appreciate that, I now know I paid a lot more than necessary and despite this, I still got less than what was agreed to.

I had been in contact with the owner of Gombe Track via WhatsApp prior to my trip and never heard from him after the trip to see how it went, which was disappointing, especially given the cost. I did two other safaris while on Tanzania, both of which were much less expensive on a per day basis, and both operators were eager to collect feedback afterwards.

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Disclaimer

  • This tour is offered by Gombe Track Safaris & Tours, not SafariBookings.
  • This operator reserves the right to change rates advertised on SafariBookings.
  • If an accommodation is fully booked, the operator will suggest a comparable alternative.
  • This group tour requires a minimum of 4 people to run.
  • The exact order, content and rate of this tour is subject to availability.