We flew to Kigoma. Precision Air does not currently have any flights. I was told in Kigoma that they are waiting for the runway to be fully paved in October before flights resume. They also said the president promised to make the airport international in the future. Air Tanzania was our only non-charter option. The flights were very full. Advance booking is required. They fly daily and on some days stop in Tabora, other days are direct. Buying a return fare is significantly cheaper than buying a two one-way fares.
– We were told the Liemba can run weekly or by-weekly, depending on the month.
– Apparently the train from Kigoma is only leaving once a week (on Sundays).
– To privately charter a boat from Kigoma to Gombe cost us $300 (return) – not the 80k TZS (one-way) indicated in the book. This was confirmed by other travelers. Given that a one way trip consumed about 30L of fuel the $300 price is realistic. The boats can hold about 10 people and are covered. They can be hired through the Mkuzi Hotel located in the Kibirizi port.
– Gombe has new accommodations that were built in 2006. There are about 5 rooms, each with a double-bed. They are quite nice by hostel standards. There’s additional accommodation in the rest-house and at the Park HQ… but these are secondary. Meals can be easily arranged but are pricey. $15/dinner or lunch. $10 for breakfast. Water, beer and soda can also be purchased at the park. The park does have a proper passenger boat. I couldn’t get a clear answer as to what it’s used for. I did hear separately that in the future, they are supposed to get their own boat to ferry tourists to and from the park. I tried to find out if that was the use of the boat I saw but I couldn’t get a clear answer. The per party cost for chimp tracking is $10. There are very few people in the park (never more than one other group of people). A generator is turned on from the evening to the morning, so it’s possible to charge batteries, etc… The research station offers free wifi if you’re close enough to the building.
– The Hilltop Hotel’s restaurant only had a fixed menu.