Western Circuit Parks

In addition to the nine parks of the northern and southern circuits Tanzania has other very interesting parks in Western Tanzania and around Lake Victoria.



A mountainous strip bordering the shores of Lake Tanganyika, 16km north of Kigoma. Gombe is currently Tanzania’s smallest park. It covers just 56sq km and is only reachable by boat from Kigoma. Gombe offers visitors the rare chance to observe the chimpanzee communities made famous by British explorer Jane Goodall.

A number of primate species can also be seen including red colobus, red-tail and blue monkeys & olive baboons. The area is heavily forested making it unsuitable for carnivores and safe for walking. Birdwatchers will be richly rewarded with over 200 species recorded.

Getting there: By air to Kigoma then a one-hour boat trip.


The main features of Tanzania’s third largest park, located about 40 km southeast of the town of Mpanda, are Lake Katavi, with its vast floodplains, the palm-fringed Lake Chada floodplains and the Katuma River. The park is noted for its Miombo woodland and is home to buffalo, giraffe, elephant, leopard, lion, cheetah, wild dog and zebra. Antelope species include eland, impala, topi, roan, and sable.

Water fowl are abundant with Lake Chala particularly rich in bird-life with 400 species recorded. Katavi also boasts the greatest concentration of hippo and crocodile.

Getting there: By charter flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam. Or a day’s drive from Dar via Mbeya.


Mahale is definitely the best place in Tanzania to observe chimpanzees, and ten different species of Primates. Covering an area of approximately 1,600 sq km, the park’s western boundary is the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The chimpanzee population is estimated at around 600 in 15 family groups. Yellow baboons, red & Angola colobus, red- tailed and blue monkeys also live in the park and are commonly seen as are bush-babies, bush-pigs, bushbuck, blue duiker, civet, hyrax and white tailed mongoose. Buffalo, elephant, giraffe, leopard, lion, are also present. Lake Tanganyika is also home to more than 250 species of fish and boat trips, swimming, snorkelling can be enjoyed by visitors.

Getting there: Between a four and a nine-hour boat trip, depending on the boat, from Kigoma. Or a two-hour flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam.