Western safari circuit
Western safari circuit of Tanzania is ales famous circuit when compared to northern safari and southern safari circuit but it is a very rewarding safari circuit, western safari circuit a prominent host for primates and other animals. Western safari circuit consists of Mahale mountains national park, Katavi national park and Gombe stream national park, these parks host many primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboons and animals like elephants, leopards, zebras, lions and many more. Though Western safari circuit is situated in a remote area, the circuit offers a different kind of safari experience which is a fundamental reason to why you should include it on your safari itinerary to Tanzania.
Top national parks in western safari circuit
Western safari circuit consists of three amazing destinations as explained below
Mahale mountains national park
Mahale Mountains national park is a popular primate destination found in Kigoma region and one of the two areas where you get to find chimpanzees in Tanzania, the park is situated in the western region of Tanzania. Mahale mountains lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika the second deepest fresh water lake.
Mahale mountains national park covers an area of 1650 square kilometers, this area is stretches around Mahale ranges where the park derives its name. Mahale Mountain Park is one of the two protected areas in Tanzania hosting primates, in the forested stretch of the park dominated by alpine bamboo and rain forest hosts Angola colobus, red colobus, red-tailed, blue monkeys, olive and yellow baboons, vervet monkey and chimpanzees. Among the primates in the park chimpanzees are in a big population with over 800 individuals, other animals living in Mahale mountain national park include nocturnal lesser and greater galago, forest elephant, lion, wild dog, roan antelope, buffalo, giraffe and many more.
Mahale mountains national park offers activities like chimpanzee tracking, hiking, camping safaris, snorkeling, water activities and sports fishing.
The best period of time to visit Mahale Mountains for a safari is May-October, this period is a dry period with a bit of sunshine which makes sighting of primates and other animals easy. Chimpanzees are easily seen close to the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Katavi national park
Katavi national park is an isolated national park found in south west region of Tanzania, Katavi national park is a third biggest national park in Tanzania covering an area of 4471 square kilometers and situated in Katavi region east of lake Tanganyika. Katavi national park’s area encompasses katuma river, seasonal Lake Katavi Lake Chada, the park lies in a truncated arm of the rift valley that terminates in the shallow expanse of Lake Rukwa.
Katavi national park consists of a dramatic scenery created by pristine, woodlands and forest canopies, the is a great habitant a variety of wildlife with hippopotamuses numbering over 200 individuals and elephants numbering to over 4,000 individuals as the most prominent mammal in the park which are seen in the mud holes resulting from seasonal lakes and rivers. Other animals in the park include large herds of cape buffaloes, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, elephants, cheetah, lions, wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, hyenas and crocodiles in Katuma River.
Katavi national park offers activities like game drives, visiting the local communities around the park, walking safaris and camping.
The best time to visit Katavi national park for a safari experience is in the drier periods of May to October and December to February. These periods are dry nature meaning the routes in the park are dry and in this periods the animals are seen crowding the waterbodies for water.
Gombe stream national park
Gombe stream national park is the smallest national park in Tanzania covering an area of 35 square kilometers located in western Kigoma region of Tanzania 20 kilometers north of Kigoma town, the park is stretches around the hill of Eastern Shore of Lake Tanganyika. Gombe stream national park is famous for being a location where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavior research on the chimpanzees, the park is also famous for hosting chimpanzees which live in the dramatic terrain of the park consisting of steep valleys and a series of forest vegetation ranging from grassland, woodland to tropical forests.
Apart from chimpanzees, Gombe stream national park hosts olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, bush pigs, snakes and red colobus monkeys, there is also occasional leopards and hippopotamus in the park. Gombe stream national park is also an important birding site with over 200 bird species such as African paradise flycatcher, Kenya rufous sparrow, palm-nut vultures, fish eagle, African broadbill, Black saw-wing, crowned eagle, Double-toothed barbet, Livingstone’s turaco, Palm-nut vulture, Peter’s twin spot, Red-capped robin-chat, Red-chested cuckoo, Ross’s turaco, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and many more.
Gombe stream national park offers many breathtaking activities such as Chimpanzee trekking, Walking safari, Swimming, Snorkeling and Cultural tour.
Gombe stream national park is visited throughout the year but for a great safari experience the best time to visit the park is in the period of July to October which is a dry season where trails are dry with clear clouds in the park.
How to get to western safari circuit
Western safari circuit of Tanzania is situated in a remote area, this circuit is accessed by charter and boat ride from kagoma town. Chartered flights to western safari circuit uses Kilimanjaro international airport situated in Arusha and Julius Nyerere national airport situated in Dar es Salaam as the main gateway, to get to Kigoma the most accessible point to the town is Dar es Salaam. You use either a bus or a train from Dar es Salaam to get Kigoma town, if you are from Arusha and Dodoma you also use either a bus or a train to Dar es Salaam.
Best time to visit western safari circuit
Western safari circuit consists of three prominent national parks that is Mahale mountains national park, Katavi national park and Gombe stream national park, the best time to visit each of these national parks for a safari vary in period of the time.
- The best time to Mahale mountains national park
- The best time to visit Gombe stream national park
- The best time to visit Katavi national park