The Western circuit falls under the western highlands which lace a ridge of Rift Valley escarpment, high above Lake Tanganyika and within the game-filled enclaves that sit along its spine there exist two small perfectly formed worlds of natural splendour, and one vast expanse of prime African bush.
Kigoma town is situated on the shores of the world’s longest and second deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika. Only 10 km from the famous Ujiji where journalist Henry Morton Stanley found the ailing Dr. David Livingstone and greeted him with the immortal words “Dr. Livingstone I Presume”, Kigoma town is the main gate to the Gombe Stream and the Mahale Mountains National Parks.
Gombe Stream National Park
Situated some 16 km north of Kigoma town, Gombe Stream is the smallest park in Tanzania with an area of 52 sq. km of lands. Commissioned in 1968, Gombe is a narrow strip of a mountainous country bounded to the East by the crest of the Rift Valley escarpment and by Lake Tanganyika. The beauty of that park is unique; it is a park without roads, where you can walk and experience nature with all your senses.
The park’s vegetation varies from the evergreen forests of tall trees to open woodlands and grasslands. Common mammals found are forest species, mostly primates including chimpanzees, baboons, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys and red colobus monkeys.
Mahale Mountains National Park
Gazetted in 1980, Mahale Mountains National Park lies 120 km south of Kigoma town on a peninsula that cuts out into Lake Tanganyika. The park has an area of 1,577 sq. km and is dominated by the Mahale Mountains Chain running from north-west across the middle of the park. The highest peak being 2,462 meters above sea level. The park vegetation is mainly Miombo woodland with narrow strips of riverine forests.
The park enjoys the habitat of a variety of animal species from elephants, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, roan antelopes, buffaloes, hyenas, wild dogs to lions in the eastern woodland. Chimpanzees, blue monkeys are also found in Mahale. According to recent census, there are more than 700 chimpanzees in about 15 communities.
Both Gombe Stream National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park provide ornithologists with an outstanding opportunity to view the more than 340 species that have been sighted there. Travel on Lake Tanganyika can also be arranged.
Rubondo Island National Park
Rubondo Island, in Tanzania Lake Victoria is tenth National Park. The area of Rubondo is about 240 sq km where visitors can combine Wildlife Safari and Beach holiday.
The Island combines the breathtaking natural beauty of a forest with relaxing tranquility of sand lake – shore beaches.
It is a bird lovers paradise with nearly 400 different species documents. These includes; Fish eagles, Hadada Ibis, Sacred Ibis, Grey Herons Herons, Egrets, Kingfishers, Avocets, Lapwings, Open billed stocks, and other birds from Central and Southern Africa.