Mbali Mbali Gombe
Gombe National Park
Mbali Mbali Gombe
This small lodge set beside Lake Tanganyika is the base for daily treks into the forest to spend time with chimpanzees, balanced by snorkelling, kayaking, nature walks and relaxing on the beach. Enjoy nature to the full in this remote and beautiful wilderness setting.
The lodge is in Gombe National Park on the western border of Tanzania near Lake Tanganyika. This remote region is best known for its chimpanzees and for many years the famous primatologist Jane Goodall was based here in the 1960s studying these creatures. You get your own chance to spend time with wild chimpanzees, with one free chimp trek a day during your stay.
You get a sense of the remoteness of the location as you journey to it. First flying into Kigoma airport you then have a 20 minute road transfer to Kigoma Hilltop Hotel’s private beach on Lake Tanganyika where Mbali Mbali Gombe’s dhow is waiting to convey you the 90 minutes to the lodge. Once you’re here you’ll soon feel at home, and with accommodation for just 14 people you soon get to know your fellow guests.
Chimpanzee trekking is sure to be among the highlights of your stay. Excursions take place each morning in groups of no more than six led by an expert guide. You follow a route determined by the observations of the trackers who monitor the chimps’ whereabouts. The first sights and sounds are magical, and your guide can recognise individuals and tell you their names and life stories as you watch the daily interplay of the troop. You have a very special and privileged hour with them before returning to the lodge for a hot lunch.
Afternoons are spent going kayaking and snorkelling on Lake Tanganyika and taking forest walks to spot olive baboons, vervet monkeys and birds such as fish eagles and palm-nut vultures. A boat cruise to a nearby fishing village can be arranged (extra charge) for a glimpse into life in this rural location. You are also welcome to rest at the lodge, chatting to other travellers and enjoying the lake views. As daylight fades you are invited to share drinks round the campfire on the beach overlooking the lake.
Mbali Mbali Gombe used to be called Gombe Forest Lodge.
Times to Go
Mbali Mbali Gombe is closed in the rainy season (March to May). From June to September days are hot and evenings cool and there is usually very little if any rain. From October to January days are warm and can be overcast, evenings are cool and there are light rains.
Mbali Mbali Gombe highlights
- The only lodge within Gombe National Park
- Daily treks to see the chimpanzees
- Swim, snorkel and kayak on Lake Tanganyika
- Cosy tents named after chimps
- Drinks round the campfire on the beach
- Nature walks in the forest
Mbali Mbali Gombe location
Mbali Mbali Gombe
- 7 guest tents
- Closed from March to May
- Children of all ages welcome
- Lounge-dining area
- Lake-facing deck
- Battery charging points
- Free laundry service
- Chimpanzee trekking (minimum age 15)
- Bird watching
- Forest nature walks
- Boat safari and village visit (optional)
Mbali Mbali Gombe Camps rooms
There are seven tented rooms, one double and six twins.
Each is on a raised timber deck among mango trees and has wooden furniture, mosquito nets, a sitting area, tea and coffee making facilities, an en-suite shower room with running hot water and a private, shaded veranda.
Tents are named after chimpanzees known to researchers from the Jane Goodall Institute.
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Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.
Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.
Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.
The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.