GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK

Gombe Stream National Park is situated in the western border of Tanzania and is easily accessible by boat from Kigoma town which is 16 km to the south. With an area of only 52 square kilometers, Gombe Stream is one of the smallest National Parks in Tanzania, comprising a narrow strip of mountainous country bounded in the east by the crest of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, and in the west by Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest and second deepest at 1400 meters deep.

Gombe Stream, like its sister game park of Mahale Mountains to the south, is a park without roads, where you can experience nature on foot accompanied by the park guide. The park’s vegetation varies from the evergreen forests of tall trees to open woodlands and grasslands. The park’s most special feature is its chimpanzees, made famous by Jane Goodall’s study. Chimpanzees are classed as one of the world endangered species, and are the primary visitor attraction in Gombe.

KATAVI NATIONAL PARK

The park covering an area of 4,471 square kilometers, Katavi National Park is located about 40km from Mpanda town in southwest Tanzania, to the east of Lake Tanganyika, lying within a truncated arm of the Great Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow expanse of Lake Rukwa. A true wilderness and seldom visited, Katavi is famous for its undisturbed natural face compared to other parks in the country.

The main vegetation of the park is Miombo woodland with scattered Acacia trees near Lake Chada. The main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada.

During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad water birds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile. During the dry season, when the flood waters retreat, Katuma River forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000 plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains. Also to be seen are elands and the rare sable and roan antelopes.

KIGOMA TOWN

Kigoma town is situated on the shores of the world’s longest and second deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika. Only 10 km from 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 gateway to the remote Gombe Stream and the Mahale Mountains National Parks in western Tanzania.

MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Mahale Mountains National Park lies 120 km south of Kigoma town, on a peninsula in Lake Tanganyika on the western border of Tanzania. The park has an area of 1613 square kilometers and is dominated by the Mahale Mountains Chain running from north-west to south-east across the middle of the park, the highest peak, Mount Nkungwe, rising 2,462 meters above sea level. Its western boundary protects not only 63 kms of lakeshore but also the adjacent 1.6 km-wide strip of coastal waters. The park vegetation is mainly Miombo woodland with narrow strips of riverine forests, some rain forest and savannah which provide habitat to a variety of animal species.

Mahale Mountains like its northerly neighbour Gombe Stream, is home to some Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, with an estimated population of about 800, found in the rain forests of Mahale together with other rain forest animals including the Angolan colobus monkey and other primates. Species found in Miombo woodland include roan antelopes, sable antelopes and lichtenstein hartebeest, while the savannah provide habitat to warthogs, giraffes, grant’s zebras, hyenas and lions.

About 82 species of mammals have been recorded in Mahale, a remote road-free park accessible only by boat or light aircraft. The park is rich in bird life with over 350 bird species recorded. Mahale is bordered to the west by Lake Tanganyika, the worlds longest, second deepest and perhaps least-polluted freshwater lake, which harbours a variety of fish species, with about 250 species found nowhere else on earth. Mahale offers a variety of attractions for visitors, from tracking wild habituated chimpanzees, to mountain climbing, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking and relaxing on pristine, white, sandy beaches of Lake Tanganyika

RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK

Rubondo Island National Park is located in the south-western corner of Lake Victoria, is about 150 km west of Mwanza and covering an area of 456.8 square kilometers and rising 1,134 meters above sea level. The main island measures 28 kilometers from north to south and is 3–10 kilometers wide. Rubondo Island is on a rift in the lake. Consists of a partially submerged rift of four volcanically formed hills, linked by three flatter isthmuses, the soil is volcanic and habitat is mixed evergreen and semi deciduous forest, which covers about 80% of the island’s surface area with a dense understory woody. The forest is interspersed with patches of open grassland and acacia woodland. The eastern lakeshore is characterized by rocky areas and sandy beaches whilst the western shore supports extensive papyrus swamps, lined with date palms.

The chimps of Rubondo Island National Park in Lake Victoria were introduced from European zoos in between 1966–1969 by Professor Bernhard Grzimek of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).

In addition to chimpanzees, seven other species were introduced to the island; Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) and rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) both now extinct, Suni antelope (Neotragus moschatus), elephants (Loxodonta africana), twelve giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis), 20 black and white colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza), and African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus).

Rubondo offers a variety of attractions for visitors, from tracking wild habituated chimpanzees, game viewing, snorkeling, fishing, and relaxing on pristine, white, sandy beaches of Lake Victoria also you can able to view Clawless Otter to the lake.

SAANANE ISLAND NATIONAL PARK

Saanane Island National Park is located 2 kilometers Southwest of Mwanza city centre, lies in the Gulf of Lake Victoria, can be reached by boat in about 10 minutes, from Mwanza City and its covering 2.18 square kilometers. The park made a record of being the first ever National Park to be located within the City and the smallest National Park in both Tanzania and East Africa. The Island has amazing attraction and Wildlife species like Impala, Zebra, Rock Hyrax, Clawless Otter, Velvet Monkeys, Wild Cats and Birds. The presence of “De-brazas Monkey” underscores its potential as the only Park in the country inhabiting the species.  Reptiles are also dominant; they include crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Agama Lizards commonly known as Agama Mwanzae, Pancake and Leopard Tortoises, Snakes particularly Python. The aquatic part of the Park inhabits a variety of fisheries life, mainly Tilapia and Nile Perch.

Saanane Island was named after its previous owner, Mr. Saanane Chawandi a fisherman who turned into a farmer and later shifted to another island (after being compensated) to pave the way for conservation efforts in the early 1960’s. The Tanzania government officially owned the island in 1964 as the first ever government owned zoo. The main objective was to promote intense and conservation education in wildlife and to promote recreation.

Saanane Island offers a variety of attractions for visitors, from game viewing, bird watching, rock hiking, boat cruise, walking, picnics, bush lunch, photographing / filming, meditation and sport fishing.  Special occasions like wedding, engagement, team building, family day and birthdays.

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