Gombe Stream National Park
Replies: 12 - Last Post: May 22, 2013 8:41 PM Last Post By: dze
Mar 19, 2013 11:12 AM
Gombe Stream National ParkI will be in Tanzania at the end of June and will like to visit Gombe! I just got a price quote and I can't afford it
:( My questions:
1. Is it possible to book a trek to Gombe once I arrive to Arusha and find a better deal?
2. How much do treks to Gombe usually cost?
3. What do you think about the quote I received?
(Gombe prices fluctuate quite depend on the flight. The prices range from $ 3,250 to $ 3,620 for Gombe trekking trip.)
Day 01: Leave Arusha– Fly to Kigoma
Fly to Kigoma with Zantas Air which (Via Katavi & Mahale) departs at 0800 hrs (ETA 1255 hrs)
Spend the evening tour in Kigoma. Sleep at Kigoma hilltop Hotel. (L,D)
Day 02: Kigoma – Gombe Stream National Park
After breakfast early morning boat transfer to Gombe, start with an early trekk up the hills to the places where the chimpanzees last nested.
Dinner and overnight at the Gombe Forest lodge (B, L,D).
Day 03: Gombe Stream National Park
Full day chimpanzee tracking in the forest. Also visit the Kakombe Waterfalls.
Dinner at the Gombe Forest lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 04: Gombe – Kigoma – Depart
After breakfast transfer to Kigoma by a boat for lunch and then transfer to the airport in time to connect flight to Arusha with Zantas Air which departs at 1330 hrs ( ETA 1700 hrs) .
Dinner and overnight at Silver palm hotel. (B,L)
Thank you for your input!
Mar 19, 2013 3:35 PM
1Hi, Gombe is an amazing place and I had the opportunity to spend a few days there last year. It is one of the most expensive parks in TZ but worth the visit. I would avoid making arrangements for Gombe when you are in Arusha, it will just add to the cost. You can make many of the arrangements independently ahead of time and do the rest when you arrive in Kigoma.
As far as places to stay in Kigoma, the Hilltop Hotel is one of the best in town but there are other, much cheaper guesthouses that are just fine. I stayed at the Coast View Hotel. It is about US$20/night and includes breakfast and a nice view overlooking the lake.
Getting from Kigoma to the park via park boat can be expensive. If you are adventurous you might consider taking one of the public water taxis that run up the coast. It is not the most comfortable journey, but it is inexpensive and gives you a good taste of local life on the lake. From Kigoma, it takes 2-3 hours to reach Gombe depending on the number of stops and there are multiple departures daily. The public boat back to Kigoma usually swings by Gombe early in the morning.
For accommodation in Gombe, you might check out the TANAPA guesthouse located at the park headquarters. I don't remember exactly how much it was to stay here, but I think it was around US$20-30 per night. There is a canteen here that serves meals for an additional cost, and you can bring your own food too. It is a basic but clean place, I enjoyed staying there. You need to make arrangements with TANAPA ahead of time to stay here. You can e-mail them or try calling the office in Kigoma.
Admission to the park is US$100 in addition to the mandatory guide fees and gratuities. 2 days is plenty to see the park as it is quite small. The guides/trackers/researchers usually know where the chimps are on a daily basis and there isn't much time wasted in getting you among them. The hike to the waterfalls and to the ridgetops are beautiful and shouldn't be missed either.
My trip to Gombe was about as cheap as you can get, just required making some contacts ahead of time. Let me know if you need any help!
Mar 19, 2013 4:19 PM
2thank you tiemposfelice! You give me hope! I'm not giving up... I want to visit Gombe but when I saw the price there is no way I can afford the $3,250+ price that was quoted.
So I am trying to get a rough estimate if I organize it on my own for two days at the Gombe park on a budget. I will appreciate input from anyone who has gone recently. Thank you!
*Flight to Kigoma (from Arusha or Dar Es Salaam? -need to research this but if anyone one wants to fill me in)
*Guest House in Kigoma ($20 a night)
*Boat roundtrip Kigoma - Gombe (public water taxi? -need to research this but if anyone one wants to fill me in)
*Guesthouse in Gombe ($20-30)
*Park Admission ($100 per day? Will I pay $200 for two days?)
*Park Guide (? Can I arrange this at arrival? about how much for the guide?)
*Food ($40-50? -are there places to buy food/snacks?)
*Other activities like Kakombe Waterfalls and ridge top (do I need a guide? -need to research and find out more...)
*Flight to Arusha (cost $? -need to research this but if anyone one wants to fill me in)
Mar 19, 2013 4:20 PM
Mar 19, 2013 6:32 PM
4I don't recall the exact cost of the public boat, but seems like it was around $5 or so. Keep in mind that you'll be traveling with about 60 other Tanzanians in a boat overloaded with fish and cargo. But that's part of the adventure, right? Just be sure to do it on a calm water day. Boat is the only way to Gombe, there are no roads to the park.
It is $100 per day when you're actually in the park, but you can do everything in a day so no need to pay double. You don't have to pay the park fee on your first and last day if you're just hanging around the guesthouse. I don't recall the cost for a guide but you can arrange for that when you get to the park. And you will need a guide to hike to the waterfalls.
For your flights, you should get in touch with a reputable travel agent inside Tanzania and have them make your reservations for you. It it usually cheaper to purchase flights internally than through an international agent.
Bring food with you if you wish. The canteen at the Guesthouse serves up local cuisine that isn't too bad, but you can't really buy snacks or anything like that.
Hope that helps!
Mar 20, 2013 4:09 AM
Mar 20, 2013 5:39 AM
I was in Gombe last year in November. What tiemposfelice says is very true. I stayed at TANAPA Resthouse for two days. The restaurant is open for the service to the guests on order and you can carry snacks, drinking water and other with you to save some money as they are very expensive there.
You can take the public water transport at very cheap price to Gombe from Kibirizi in the morning or around 10 a.m and arrive at Gombe in the afternoon at around 2 or 3 p.m. That day you cannot do the trekking for the chimps. Then morning do chimp trekking with Tanapa guides and return late in the afternoon. Then travel with the early morning boat to Kigoma. This way is cheap and not comfortable and the weather determines everything.
The other option is to hire a boat from Kigoma which will cost from 250-400 US$ depending on the season and the demand because June is the high season for tourism in Tanzania. So if you get someone to join you for this trip it will cut this boat cost down. For the boat you can call this number +255788023978. I do not remember the name but he can give even TANAPA contacts if you ask him because he has all the necessary contacts for booking the Resthouse.
The main challenge is traveling from Arusha to Kigoma!! Flying to Kigoma from Arusha is very costly. Travel to Dar or Mwanza by bus and take a flight from there. Traveling by car is also very tiresome though adventurous. I did that by private car and it took me two days to reach Kigoma. So just count four to six days for the journey if you use road transport. You can take a bus from Arusha to Mwanza and travel again by bus from Mwanza to Kigoma (2 days with overnight in Mwanza)The other option is to travel to Dodoma and take a train to Kigoma which demands time.
I wish you all the best and if I get the number of the cook at the Resthouse in Gombe I shall post it for you. Kigoma is very beautiful and lake Tanganyika is amazing for its very clean water and Gombe itself is worthy the long journey you make to Kigoma. You can ask any question, I am ready to answer as far as I know.
Mar 20, 2013 10:10 AM
7Hi, I plan to visit Gombe stream this year and I will take the above advice and give the public boat a go!
Last year I stayed at Kigoma at Jakobsen beach, self catering place just outside of town but has the most amazing beach. They can arrange a boat for yoy but it is around $200 which is the reason I didn't go last year. We went for dinner one night at Hill top, very nice but too expensive, I wouldn't stay there.
Getting there from Arusha, why not try the new fastjet company to Mwanza, their fares are really cheap. I traveled by bus from Mwanza to Kigoma last year and it was great. The Adventure bus company (their office is hard to find but ask around Mwanza) price was 12,000Tsh and the journey took 12hrs (first hour is on a ferry!)
Let us all know how you get on!
Mar 20, 2013 7:42 PM
Apr 5, 2013 4:47 AM
9alcotteer, did you really enjoy the bus trip Mwanza to Kigoma? :) That's how I got there last year as well and it felt like one of the longest days of my life! Sounds like your bus was better, and way less expensive than mine. Thanks for the rec - I"ll look them up this summer!!
I agree with the boat and TANAPA advice! I managed to hop on a boat that had been pre-arranged by some other group and they let me join. I didn't take the public ferry, though that had been my intent and will probably be my strategy this next time. Tanapa is great and you can arrange the guides and such through them. I didn't call ahead and relied on luck - perhaps dumb luck, but it worked.
You can definitely do this for a fraction of the cost of the tour you were quoted, and you'll have a more "real" experience esp with the travel side of things. Enjoy it!! :)
Apr 5, 2013 7:21 AM
yes I enjoyed the bus ride, apart from one immigration officer who got on the bus in the middle of nowhere and wanted to see my YF cert. I'm sure he was after bribe money but luckily I had mine with me but under the bus, so had to dig out all the bags!
We only broke down once and it's a chance to get off and stretch your legs.
I quite often do the mbeya- Moshi route which is a bum numbing 20 or so hours!!!!!
Apr 13, 2013 12:46 AM
May 22, 2013 8:41 PM
12I have been to the western circuit of Tanzania many times and i have done all the budget logistics in that area
here is the budget way i have done gombe
3DAYS 2NIGHTS GOMBE
DAY 1 - KIGOMA / GOMBE STREAM
Early this morning you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the port Hotel for your 2 hour boat ride to Gombe Stream National Park. An extension of the Rift Valley, Lake Tanganyika was formed around 20 million years ago and is the longest fresh water lake in the world, as well as the second deepest. The views on the lake are spectacular and you may meet the local fishermen as they go about their business.Your stay here will be either at the the National Park’s Gombe Hostel..Gombe Hostel is owned by the Tanzania Park Service and offers much more basic accommodation with 8 guest rooms and shared bathroom and shower facilities.The afternoon you treck the chimps shortly then get back relax on the beach or swimming in the crystal clear waters of the lake. If your lucky, the chimps occasional come down to the lake shore to drink. Overnight - Gombe Hostel (L, D)
DAY 2 - GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK - CHIMP TREK
Arise early this morning as you will be led on your first hike to find the Chimpanzees guided by one of the park’s armed rangers. Firstly, your guide will lead you to the site of last night's nests. Once these have been located, you will track the chimps to their present location. This can take anywhere from a ½ hour to 4 hours and the trek is often through quite difficult, hilly, but nonetheless spectacular terrain. The amount of time allowed may be limited to 1 hour a day depending on how many visitors are at the park. After your hike you will return to the camp for lunch. (Box lunches are not allowed in the park). The afternoon is yours to relax on the beach or snorkel in the clear waters of the lake or hike to the Kakombe waterfalls or Jane’s Peak (if time allows)Overnight - G Gombe Hostel (all meals & activities)
DAY 3 - GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK - CHIMP TREK / KIGOMA
This morning after an early breakfast you will set out with the park rangers in search of the Chimpanzees. The rangers carefully track the movements of the chimps so they can be located with minimal tracking. After spending your time with the chimps, you will return to camp for a late lunch.Afterwards it time to leave Gombe by boat, arriving in Kigoma Town in the late afternoon. Here you will be met and taken to the Lake Tanganyika Hotel, a new hotel near town, with quite landscaped gardens that stretch down to the lake.Overnight - Lake Tanganyika Hotel (B, L)DEPART This morning you will be met and taken on a tour of Kigoma Town. Stops include a fishing village and morning tour of Kigoma Town and visit Dr. Livingstone house which is now a museum in Ujiji. Afterwards, you will drive back to your hotel for lunch (on your own account). You will then be transferred to Your Hotel.
NOTE - Chimp Viewing Rules
Chimpanzee viewing is limited to a maximum of 6 people per group for one hour at a time, once per day. All clients must wear a mask and must be a minimum of 10 yards away from the chimps.
The price for this program is 670usd per person
all transfers from Hotel and back
all park fees
Accommodation in the rest house
Speed boat to and From Gombe
if you are interested you can contact Matano the consultant of the company at
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