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Gombe Masito Ugalla Biosphere Reserve, Tanzania


The biosphere reserve, a major site for Chimpanzee research, includes the Gombe National Park, forest land reserves and part of Lake Tanganyika. Faunal species present in the area include African elephants, ornate frogs and eight primate species. Its flora includes a species discovered in, and named after, Gombe (Pleiotaxis gombensis). The biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika includes over 300 fish species, 250 bird species, and reptiles such as the water cobra and the Tanganyika water snake.  


Designation date: 2018

Photo gallery ǀ  Press release


Regional network: AfriMAB

Ecosystem-based network:



    Surface :
    1,658,466 ha

    • Core area(s) : 5,640 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 889,026 ha
    • Tansition zone(s): 763,800 ha


    • Central point: 5°21'20"S - 30°23'35"E

    Administrative authorities

    Gombe National Park
    185 Kigoma

    Tel.: +255 689062303


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The core area of the Reserve is endowed with exceptional natural, scenic, cultural and social attributes. It falls within the Tropical savannah and woodland vegetation and the Albetine Rift systems of mountain ecosystems. It is rich in a variety of ecosystems within its boundaries. The combination and variety of landforms and vegetation types create a uniquely scenic landscape that is both diverse and ecologically complex.

    For the core zone (Gombe National Park) the main species of interest for the conservation is eastern subspecies of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) which like all chimpanzee subspecies is classified by IUCN as endangered. According to 2015 survey around 85% chimpanzees are found in buffer zone and some areas of the transition zone. Others are terrestrial mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants. Other key species found in the buffer and transition zone includes Pterocarpus angolensis, Milicia excels and Isoberlinia scheffleri. The species Isoberlinia scheffleri under CITES is categorized as vulnerable. Large mammal species including African elephants (Loxodonta africana).




    Socio-economic characteristics

    The site has already been successful in developing a number of measures these includes:- development of cultural and natural based tourism, Providing markets for local foods and manmade cultural products,  developing Small scale cultural tourism and development of eco lodge and camp sites.

    The Gombe Masito Ugalla area has important natural, historical and cultural tourist attractions, which if aggressively promoted, offer great potential to lure visitors to the regions. The proposed reserve is along the western part of Tanzania and along the Lake Tanganyika. Tanganyika is the deepest lake in the Africa which provides a unique tourism attraction. Other main touristic attractions are the well-studied chimpanzee population, rich primate Community, well studied Baboons, viable guenon hybrid, Lake Tanganyika and its biodiversity, Spectacular Mountainous landscape, Kakombe and Mkenke waterfalls, Rich Mixture of Forest Species, Long term and World famous Chimpanzee research, historical sites (Buha culture, Nyasanga, Livingstone) all located in the core area.




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    Last updated: October 2018