Mahale National Park
Mahale National Park is set on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania. Here the 8,000 ft forested mountain slopes are home to around 800 wild chimpanzees and nine different species of primate. These chimpanzees have been habituated to humans through the research of a Japanese team which makes for some great wildlife encounters.
Lake Tanganyika is the oldest and largest of the Rift Valley Lakes. It’s also the world’s second deepest and probably Africa’s least-polluted lake. Indeed its clear, fresh waters are bright with endemic cichlid fish. Here you will find two superb camps: Greystoke Mahale and Mbali Mbali Mahale.
Also on Lake Tanganyika is Gombe Stream National Park, famous for the work of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research team. At 52 sq km, Gombe Stream is Tanzania’s smallest national park. From Mbali Mbali Gombe, guests can enjoy chimpanzee tracking, hiking, swimming and snorkelling and visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone, I presume” meeting at Ujiji near Kigoma.
Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park is to the south-east of Lake Tanganyika. Isolated, unspoiled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness. This park provides the few intrepid travellers who make it there with a thrilling taste of ‘old’ Africa. Katavi is the third largest national park in Tanzania.
However the bulk of Katavi National Park is dense and featureless brachystegia woodland and game is hard to spot. But the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada are much more rewarding. So it is here, during the dry season, that Katavi National Park truly comes into its own. The muddy trickle of the Katuma River is now the only source of drinking water for miles around so it’s not unusual for huge pods of hippo and thousand-strong herds of elephant or buffalo to converge on the area. The plentiful giraffe, zebra, and antelope delight the hyena and lion prides of the floodplains. Here there’s a choice of camps including Mbali Mbali Katavi, Chada Katavi and Foxes Katavi Wildlife Camp.