Tanzania Western Circuit

Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe Stream National Park, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is the smallest park in Tanzania. The park is located outside the Kigoma town about 16 kilometers covering only 52 square kilometers. The park is narrow strip of a mountainous country bordered by the crest of the African Rift Valley walls to the east and Lake Tanganyika to the west the deepest cold water lake in Africa.

Gombe offers visitors the rare chance to observe the chimpanzee communities made famous by British explorer Jane Goodall. A number of monkey species can also be seen, red colobus, baboons, velvet, red-tail and blue monkey. Other primates include bush pigs and bushbucks. The area is heavily forested, making it an unsuitable habitat for carnivores so the park is safe for walking safaris. There are rewarding sightings for birdwatchers.

Mahale Mountains National Park
The other sanctuary of the chimpanzee is the Mahale Mountains National Park which is reached by boat from Kigoma. Covering an area of 1,613 square kilometers, its western boundary is the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The vegetation of the Mahale is populated with the Miombo woodland, the narrow forest along the rivers. The chimpanzee population of the park is estimated to about 1,000 which can be seen, in groups of between five and 30 at a time, in their natural habitat.

Other primates such as baboons and colobus monkeys, bush pig, porcupine and other animals are found in the north; while to the south live various antelope species, lion, elephant, buffalo and giraffe.

Katavi National Park
Main features of Tanzania's third largest park, located about 40 kilometers southwest of the town of Mpanda, are Lake Katavi, with its vast floodplains, the palm fringed Lake Chala and the Katuma River. The park covers an area of approximately 4,500 square kilometers of unspoiled wilderness areas compare with other parks in the country. The park is noted for Miombo woodland and scattered acacia trees scenery and is the home of zebras, sable and roan antelope, eland, leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion.

Waterfowl are also abundant. Lake Chala and River Katuma is particularly rich in bird life more than 400 species are recorded and are also known for its large concentration of crocodile and hippo.

Rubondo Island National Park
Rubondo Island National park comprises Rubondo Island and nine smaller islands tucked into a corner of Lake Victoria making the only island park in Tanzania. The park provides a variety of habitants, ranging from savannah to open woodland, dense forest, papyrus swamps and sandy beaches.

Covering an area of 240 square kilometers Rubondo boasts a unique diversity of flora and fauna. There is also a wide variety of animal species, including hippo, crocodile, bushbuck, sitatunga, giraffe, elephant, chimpanzees, and velvet monkeys.

The bird life is unique, with birds from east, central and southern breed they include ibises, storks, egrets, kingfishers, flycatchers and bee-eaters among others. Tilapia and Nile perch abound in the lake.