The western circuit is the domain of tall mountains, lonely lakes, and remote locations. If the southern circuit is off the beaten path, the western circuit feels as if you are truly immersed in nature. Thick canopies envelop the jungles of eastern Tanzania on the western circuit.
The biggest draw of western Tanzania is that it is one of the few locations in the world where you can see chimpanzees in the wild. This area was the focus of Jane Goodall’s historic study of the primates in their natural habitat. Western Tanzania is also where you will find the world’s second-deepest lake, Tanganyika.
Town – Kigoma
Kigoma is the main town in western Tanzania. Hugging tight to the shores of the huge Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma has the aura of a bustling seaside port. Historically, Kigoma has been a trade stop between Tanzania and other inner African countries, connected via the Lake – bordering both Burundi and the DRC.
Kigoma is also the last bastion of civilization before venturing out into the wilderness of western Tanzania. If you’re visiting Kigoma, be sure to take in the awe-inspiring sights of the world’s second oldest lake, or take a history lesson by visiting the historic town of Ujiji.
While it may not be as easy to access as Serengeti or as iconic as Kilimanjaro, Gombe Stream National Park is a low-key favourite for tourists, nature lovers, and adventurers of all kinds. Brought to international prominence in the early 1960s by anthropologist Jane Goodall, Gombe’s chimpanzee population remains its most popular feature.
Outside of the Kasekela community, Gombe still has much to offer you: the park is teeming with beautiful and untamed plant and animal life including the famous butterflies of western Tanzania, dozens of primates, leopards, and hippopotami. The relatively small size and remote location does nothing to dampen the iconic sights of Gombe.
Are you looking for a more intimate experience when going on safari? Do you want to feel less ‘off the beaten path’ and more creating your own path? Want to feel like you’re fully immersed in nature? Katavi National Park may just be the place for you.
While Katavi is only accessible via flight from Arusha, the apparent lack of accessibility in no way diminishes the exquisite wonder that this national park has to offer. Due to the relative quiet, viewing animals is actually easier in Katavi as there are fewer vehicles frightening the animals.
On the shores of the second-oldest and second-deepest lake in the world in Lake Tanganyika, Mahale Mountains National Park is truly a sight to behold. Rising out of the ancient lakebed, the Mahale mountain range feels like a place where time stands still.
Mahale National Park is a place that has barely been touched by human beings, with even the indigenous Holoholo people living in tune with the land for thousands of years. Remote and densely forested, this National Park houses the largest wild chimpanzee population in the world.
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