Western Circuit Zone
Western Tanzania is made up of Katavi, Mahale Mountains, Gombe Stream and Lake Tanganyika, all unexplored and stunningly beautiful – please do click on the links to see our recommended camps and lodges in Western Tanzania, although all of our holidays are tailor made and we can easily help to arrange anything you like.
Western Tanzania is unchartered territory is relatively undiscovered and still boasts some of the largest herds of animals in Africa, totally off the beaten track, it takes five hours to reach any part of Western Tanzania, but once there the reward of beauty, wildlife and untouched nature is unrivalled. Dotcom Safaris is a unique Tanzania Tour operator uniquely will help you with tracking chimpanzees in the Mahale mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks, or avoiding huge herds of buffalo and elephant in Katavi National Park
Most people visit the western circuit to track chimpanzees in Gombe or Mahale Mountains National Park. These two chimp reserves on the shore of Lake Tanganyika offer the best chimp tracking in Africa. Getting here is expensive and time-consuming and is mostly done by chartered plane from Arusha. Instead of visiting one of the chimp reserves as an add-on to a safari in the north, you can combine it with a safari in Katavi, which is the savannah reserve in the western circuit and probably Tanzania’s least visited park. Not for lack of wildlife, though. This park offers excellent game viewing in the dry season with superb wilderness appeal, which will make you’ll feel like you own the place.
Gombe Stream National Park
Located a few kilometers north of Kigoma , on the western part of Tanzania, is the smallest but one of the best known of Tanzania’s National Park’s made famous for its primates and the research center of world renowned Dr. Jane Goodall. Gombe Stream consists of a narrow mountainous strip of country stretching along the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika and running inland about 5 km to the peaks of the mountain range forming the rift escarpment. The thick gallery forests of the valley and lower slopes, and the open deciduous woodland on the upper slopes.are the few places where chimpanzees can still be found in their natural habitat. Since 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall and colleagues have studied the primates here. Other primates which may be seen in the park include: Baboon, Red Colobus Monkey, and Blue Monkey. and the birdlife include the African and the trumpeter hornbills, Ross’s turaco, pied and giant kingfishers, and the crowned eagle. Access to the park is only by water vessel from either Kigoma or Ujiji.
Katavi National Park
This remote and difficult park to reach (strictly recommended for those of an adventurous spirit) lies on a high flood plain surrounding Lake Kitavi, to the south of the Mahale Mountains. The main vegetation found here is the Miombo woodland. It has a wide variety of wildlife (crocodile, hippo, leopard, lion, roan and sable antelopes, southern reedbuck, topi, eland, elephant, and one of the largest herds of buffalo, with as many as 1,600 animals) and offers excellent game viewing with a real wilderness atmosphere. The diverse woodland, acacia bush, lakes and swamps have attracted over 400 species of birds, including large flocks of pelicans. Other attractions are Lakes Katavi and Chada, which are joined by the River Katuma. The best months to visit are July to October.
Mahale Mountains National Park
Located at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where Stanley is reputed to have met Livingstone and given the famous greeting “Dr. Livingstone, I presume”. The Mahale Mountains, like Gombe, are one of the last natural home to chimpanzees and are rich in birdlife. The park is a unique ecological zone with lowland forest, Miombo and open woodlands, moist and dry Savannah grasslands. Wildlife in the park includes primates, kudu, eland, roan and sable antelopes, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, lion and leopard. Access is by boat or plane, both of which are available for charter. There are no roads and all game viewing is done on foot. It is virtually the only Tanzanian park where you can walk around.