Gombe Stream National Park is a relatively small area (52km²) but an incredibly important wilderness which is particularly rich in primate species. It was given the status of National Park in 1968 mainly to protect the resident chimpanzee population.
Other primates found here include olive baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys and vervet monkeys.
Dr Jane Goodall is the British scientist who began the study of the chimpanzees here in 1960 under the sponsorship of Louis Leakey, making this the the longest running study of any wild animal population in the world. A visit to Gombe gives you a unique opportunity to get a view into the lives of our closest living animal relative in the wild
Famous for containing some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa, the Mahale Mountains National Park was gazetted in 1985, covers an area of 1 613 km² and is located about 128 km south of Kigoma town on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The western boundary of the park protects an adjacent 1.6 km wide strip of Lake Tanganyika’s waters.
The land in and around Mahale is the traditional homeland of the Watongwe and Waholoholo tribes. Japanese primate researchers began exploring along the shore of Lake Tanganyika,south of Kigoma as early as 1961. In 1965, the researchers established their first camp, ‘Kansyana’, in Mahale and began habituating chimpanzees.
The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly, and is dominated by the Mahale Mountains chain that runs from the northwest to the southeast across the park. The highest peak (Mount Nkungwe) rises to 2 462 m above sea level.
Mahale offers a number of outstanding attractions for visitors, from tracking wild habituated chimpanzees, to mountain climbing, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking and relaxing on deserted, pristine, white, sandy beaches.
The Rubondo Island National Park is situated in the south western corner of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. It is Tanzania’s only park on Lake Victoria and attracts only a small number of visitors mainly bird enthusiasts and fisherman.
The island measures 28km in length and 4 km in width and consists of a partially submerged rift of volcanically formed hills with volcanic soil.
The landscape consists mainly evergreen and semi-deciduous forest with patches of grassland. There are two distinct habitats – to the west is the papyrus swamps lined with date palms and to the east are rocky to the east are rocky areas and sandy beaches. The wildlife is quite diverse and includes hippos, otters, bushbucks, chimpanzees, genet, colobus and dik dik; but the main attraction is the birdlife. The island boasts nearly 430 recorded species including huge numbers of storks, bee-eaters, flycatchers, kingfishers, ibises, cormorants and the one of the highest concentrations of fish eagles in the world. Due to its geographical location it also attracts a large number of migrant birds. The forests are a wonderful display of butterflies fluttering about a seasonal display of orchids, coral trees and fireball lilies.
The island is best explored by boat or on a walking safari with an expert guide.
Lake Victoria is Tanzania’s largest lake, the largest tropical lake in the world, and the second widest fresh water lake in the world in terms of surface area. Being relatively shallow for its size, Lake Victoria ranks as the seventh largest freshwater lake by volume. It is the source of the longest branch of the River Nile, the White Nile. It is a biological hotspot with great biodiversity. The lake lies within an elevated plateau in the western part of Africa's Great Rift Valley.
The lake has a shoreline of 2,138 miles and has more than 3,000 islands, many of which are inhabited. These islands include the Ssese Islands in Uganda, a large group of islands in the northwest of the lake that are becoming a popular destination for tourists.
Lake Victoria is relatively young with its current basin formed only 400,000 years ago. The lake's shallowness, limited river inflow, and large surface area relative to its volume make it vulnerable to climate changes. Core samplings taken from its bottom show that Lake Victoria has dried up completely three times since it formed. These drying cycles are probably related to past ice ages, which are times when precipitation declined globally. The lake last dried out 17,300 years ago, and filled again beginning 14,700 years ago.
The activities for visitors include bird watching and fishing on Lake Victoria.
Lake Tanganyika is one of the Great Rift Valley Lakes found on the western border of Tanzania, in East Africa. This massive expanse of water is the longest Lake in Africa (720 km long) and is the second deepest Lake in the world (1,470m) - second only to Lake Baikal in Russia. It is said to hold roughly 18% of the world's fresh water and is also the world's second largest fresh water Lake by volume.
There are 26 rivers that flow into Lake Tanganyika and only one (the Lukuga River) that flows out. Only the upper 200m of the Lake is oxygenated. The Lake’s temperature is typically 24 to 26 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) all year round. It has an average ph of 8.4.
The Lake boasts visibilities of up to 20m with massive boulders, spectacular drop offs and a shell covered bottom. It is thought to date back 9 to 20 million years and is one of the richest aqueous environments in the world, supporting at least 250 varieties of fish. Most of the 200 and more types of cichlid fish found here are endemic to the Lake. These small, colourful fish are exported for aquariums and fish tanks around the world.