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Western Circuit National Parks

Tanzania Western Circuit

Western Circuit National Parks

The Western Circuit Of Tanzania is exclusive and offers few remote national parks that are teeming with wildlife. The Western Circuit of Tanzania is the address to spotting primates in the country. The Gombe National Park, Mahale National Park, and Rubondo Island Park provide amazing views of Chimpanzee families.

Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe National Park or more commonly known as Gombe Stream National Park is one of the iconic national parks of the Western circuit. The national park is located in the Kigoma, which is the capital of the Kigoma region. The national park was established in 1968. It is one of the smallest national parks in the country that acquires 35 km2. The landscape of the national park is diverse. You will traverse through steep valleys and forest vegetation ranges from woodland, tropical rainforest, and grasslands.
The Gombe Stream national park is situated in a remote location. It is accessible only by boat. The national park is famous worldwide due to one name Dr. Jane Godall. She travelled to Tanzania at the age of 26 and dedicated her life to studying the behavior of chimpanzees. She settled down a small research center in Gombe with the help of renowned anthropologist Louis Leakey. She spent months tracking and observing the daily life of the Chimps, particularly the Kasekela chimpanzee community. Dr. Goodall lived in Gombe for fifteen years. In the year of 1967, the Gombe Stream Research Center (GSRC) was founded which coped with the ongoing research on Chimps by Jane Goodall.

The Gombe Stream National park offers great biodiversity. Apart from Chimpanzees tourists can get introduced to various primates life in the national park. Few of them are; olive baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Not only primates but the national park offers a fair chance to spot various species of snakes, hippos, and leopards. As the Lake Tanganyika is just beside the national park, it is possible to spend some tranquil moments near the lake. Lake Tanganyika is the largest freshwater lakes of Africa as well as the second deepest lake in the world. You can take an amazing opportunity for swimming and snorkeling with 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fishes in Lake Tanganyika

Mahale National Park

Mahale Mountain national park is situated on the beaches of Lake Tanganyika. The Mahale Mountain National Park has got its name from the mountain range that is lying in its borders. Apart from Gombe, Mahale is the only protected place of Tanzania for the chimpanzees. Mahale Mountains is better known due to its larger size. However, the park is situated in the remote location of the Western Circuit Tanzania. The Mahale Mountain National Park offers a great opportunity to explore chimps just Like Gombe National Park. The national park is also a great place to spot some lions. It is known as the only place in the country where chimpanzees and lions co-existed. Another iconic fact that makes the national park an iconic place is it allows travelers to explore its landscape on foot.
The mountain was initially homeland to Batongwe and Holoholo people. They were removed from the area by the wildlife development department in 1979. The area was being free from the local habituation for the establishment of a wildlife research Centre. As the Mahale Mountain National Park is on the shorelines of Tanganyika it offers some stunning view to capture. Get your camera ready for capturing some stunning view of the Lake along with the mist-covered Nkungwe Mountain.

Rubondo Island National Park

In the southwest of Lake Victoria lies Rubondo Island, an extraordinary example of wildlife conservation. It’s Africa’s largest island national park at 26km long and up to 10 km wide. More than 75 percent of the island is covered in pristine equatorial rainforest. Since the 1960s, the island has been a haven for wild chimpanzee, sitatunga antelope, elephant and giraffe.
Rubondo Island Camp is the only accommodation in the national park, making it one of the most special places to visit in Tanzania. Aside from a handful of park wardens and researchers, as a guest, you have the island to yourself. Walk through the dense forest looking for chimps in the canopy above, cruise around the peaceful lake at sunset with a G&T in-hand or head out with a pair of binoculars to spot some of the 300 bird species that visit the island.
With its own airstrip, Rubondo can be accessed via Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha and the Serengeti. Travellers can also fly directly from Kigali to easily combine this wild island escape with an epic gorilla encounter in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Katavi National Park

Isolated, untrammeled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been a century ago.
Tanzania’s third largest national park, it lies in the remote southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminated in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.
Size: 4,471 sq km Location: Southwest Tanzania , east of Lake Tanganyika. The headquarters of Sitalike lie 40 km south of Mpanda town.
Getting there: Charter flights from Dar or Arusha. A tough but spectacular day’s drive from Mbeya(550km),or in the dry season only from Kigoma(390km). it is possible to reach Mpanda by rail from Dar via Tabora, then to catch public transport to Sitalike, where game drives can be arranged. If traveling overland, allow plenty of time to get there and back.
What to do: Walking, Diving and Camping Safaris. Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) – offerings are still left here by locals seeking the spirit’s blessing.
When to go: The dry season ( May-October). Roads within the parks are often flooded during the rainy season but may be passable from mid-December to February.