The Kigoma region is home to the famous Chimpanzee parks: Gombe Streams National park (home of the famous Jane Goodall chimpanzee research) and the Mahale Mountains National Park which has some of Tanzania's most spectacular scenery, wildlife, and lodges.
Lake Tanganyika provides a superb cultural experiences with the local fishermen and is home to many water birds.
Good places low budget to stay in Kigoma are the Diplomatic Guest House or the Zanzibar Hill Lodge. Both serve local food, sodas and have TV's in the rooms showing local programmes (not that you would want to watch these for more than 5 minutes!). The Diplomatic has a nice shady garden and is quiet. Staff at both places speak reasonable English.
Kigoma market is well worth a visit. Lots of small winding alleyways with shops selling fabric, baskets, spices, fruit & veg etc.
Sun City restaurant on the main road is good for local Tanzanian food and is a great spot to watch the world go by. Waiters all speak a bit of English.
Power and water are a problem in Kigoma and internet facilities are limited (mainly because power is so unreliable).
On visiting Kigoma Region you are encouraged to experience the primate safari of a lifetime. You will get out of the game drive vehicles and off the beaten track, giving you an incredible opportunity to meet nature close up. Track chimpanzees through exotic woodland trails, passing streams and waterfalls as you go.
Many thanks to Kirsten skinner for the use of her photographs for these pages.
Kigoma Locations view all
Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks, stretching across a mere 52km square. The thin strip of ancient forest is set among mountains and steep valleys, to the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Renowned for it's chimpanzee population Gombe became a household name in the west as a result of the pioneering research conducted by Jane Goodall. Famous as it may be Gombe remains a surprisingly little-visited and low-key park, largely due to it's remote location and high entrance fees.
The Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in Africa. This part of Lake Taganyika is characterized by deserted sandy beaches, crystal clear water and an incredible backdrop of towering forested mountains. The forests are home to one of the highest number of primate species of any park in Tanzania (beaten only by the Udzungwa Mountains), including nearly 1,000 chimpanzees.