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Home>parks>Western Circuit

Tanzania Safaris

- overview -
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Mountain Climbing Tanzania
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TANZANIA'S Western Circuit

 

 

Include  

Gombe National Park & Kigoma

Katavi National Park

Mahale National Park

Rubondo Island National Park

 

Gombe Stream National Park
Area: 52 km˛  

 

 

 

Gombe stream, internationally known for its Chimpanzees, is Tanzania's smallest national park, It is a narrow strip montane forest cut steep-sided valleys that are gauged into the landscape by swift flowing mountain streams. Around it is cleared, agricultural land.

Approximately 120 chimpanzees live at Gombe in three distinct territorial communities. Chimpanzees form friendships that can endure throughout their lives of 60years or more. They swagger and punch, kiss and embrace. They have emotions such as happiness, anger, sadness and despair. They are capable of both brutality and compassion. The dividing line between Chimpanzees and humans is indeed blurred.

Gombe is also notable for its Red colobus and Red-tailed mokeys.

Flora / Fauna

miombo woodland, gallery forest

Habitat

chimpanzee, olive baboon, Red-tailed Monkey, Red colobus, Diademed Monkey, leopard, bushbuck, buffalo, waterbuck; barbet, Palm-nut Vulture, Forbes' Plover, Fish Eagle, Peters's Twinspot

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Katavi National Park
Area: 4,471 km˛ 

 

 

Katavi Plains is noted for its spectacular dry season concetrations of big mammals and the inevitable predators.

Except for Lake Manyara, the total number of animals per sq km in Katavi is higher than in any other protected area in East Africa, while densities of buffalo, roan, water buck, and bush pig are higher than anywhere else in Tanzania. The areas around Lakes Chada and Katavi have the largest numbers of animals in the park.

The best way to get to Katavi is to fly by charter plane.

Flora / Fauna

miombo woodland, river, lakes, floodplain

Habitat

eland, sable antelope, roan antelope, hippopotamus, crocodile, lion, leopard, elephant, zebra, buffalo, topi; pelican, waterfowl
more than 400 bird species.

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Mahale National Park
Area: 1,613 km˛  

 

 

Mahale is on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika and is the least accessible of Tanzania's 14 national parks.Only about 2,000 Long-haired chimpanzees survive in the wild. They are found in their greatest numbers on the western bank of the Malagarasi River, the largest flowing in to eastern Lake Tanganyika.

The use of crude tools, once associated only with humans has been seen frequently among Mahale chimpanzees.

Mount Nkungwe that peaks at 2,462 metres is the highest point of the park where six peaks top 2,000 metres. The hilly country below contains several rapidly flowing streams that discharge their water into Lake Tanganyika.

Flora / Fauna

miombo forest, Kasoge (lowland) forest, montane rainforest

Habitat

chimpanzee, Red colobus, Red-tailed monkey, Blue monkey, giant squirrel, Red-legged Sun squirrel, Brush-tailed porcupine, Bushy-tailed Mongoose, Angolan black-and-white Colobus, Sharpe's Grysbok; Red-collared Widowbird, Speckled Mousebird, Crowned Eagle, Bee-eater, Roller, Crested Guineafowl, Ross' Turaco, White-browed Robin-Chat, Red-winged Starling, Violet-backed Starling, parrots

 

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Rubondo Island National Park.
Area: 240 km˛ 

 

 

A pair of fish eagles guards the gentle bay, their distinctive black, white and chestnut feather pattern gleaming boldly in the morning sun. Suddenly, the birds toss back their heads in a piercing, evocative duet. On the sandbank below, a well-fed monster of a crocodile snaps to life, startled from its nap. It stampedes through the crunchy undergrowth, crashing into the water in front of the boat, invisible except for a pair of sentry-post eyes that peek menacingly above the surface to monitor our movements.

Rubondo Island is tucked in the southwest corner of Lake Victoria, the world's second-largest lake, an inland sea sprawling between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. With nine smaller islands under its wing, Rubondo protects precious fish breeding grounds.

Tasty tilapia form the staple diet of the yellow-spotted otters that frolic in the island’s rocky coves, while rapacious Nile perch, some weighing more than 100kg, tempt recreational game fishermen seeking world record catches.
Rubondo is more than a water wonderland. Deserted sandy beaches nestle against a cloak of virgin forest, where dappled bushbuck move fleet yet silent through a maze of tamarinds, wild palms, and sycamore figs strung with a cage of trailing taproots.

The shaggy-coated aquatic sitatunga, elsewhere the most elusive of antelopes, is remarkably easily observed, not only in the papyrus swamps it normally inhabits, but also in the forest interior.
Birds are everywhere.

Flocks of African grey parrots – released onto the island after they were confiscated from illegal exporters – screech in comic discord as they flap furiously between the trees.

The azure brilliance of a malachite kingfisher perched low on the reeds competes with the glamorous, flowing tail of a paradise flycatcher as it flits through the lakeshore forest. Herons, storks and spoonbills proliferate in the swampy lake fringes, supplemented by thousands of Eurasian migrants during the northern winter.

Wild jasmine, 40 different orchids and a smorgasbord of sweet, indefinable smells emanate from the forest.

Ninety percent of the park is humid forest; the remainder ranges from open grassland to lakeside papyrus beds.

A number of indigenous mammal species - hippo, vervet monkey, genet and mongoose - share their protected habitat with introduced species such as chimpanzee, black-and-white colobus, elephant and giraffe, all of which benefit from Rubondo's inaccessibility.

About Rubondo Island National Park
Size: 457 sq km (176 sq miles).
Location: Northwest Tanzania, 150 km (95 miles) west of Mwanza.

Getting there
Scheduled flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Mwanza in peak season, charter flights only in low season.
By road from Mwanza and then boat transfer. Contact the Park for transport details.

What to do
Scheduled flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Mwanza in peak season, charter flights only in low season.
By road from Mwanza and then boat transfer. Contact the Park for transport details.

When to go
Dry season, June-August. Wildflowers and butterflies
Wet season November-March. December- February best for migratory birds.

Accommodation
One luxury tented camp, park bandas and campsite.  Hostel for school groups.

 

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