Eastern Circuit

Gombe National Park

Gombe Stream National Park, located on the western border of Tanzania and the Congo, is most famous for Jane Goodall, the resident primatologist who spent many years in its forests studying the behaviour of the endangered chimpanzees.

Situated on the wild shores of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe Stream is an untamed place of lush forests and clear lake views. Hiking and swimming are also popular activities here, once the day’s expedition to see the chimpanzees is over.

Gombe Stream’s main attraction is obviously the chimpanzee families that live protected in the park’s boundaries. Guided walks are available that take visitors deep into the forest to observe and sit with the extraordinary primates for an entire morning — an incredible experience and one that is the highlight of many visitors’ trips to Africa. Besides chimpanzee viewing, many other species of primates live in Gombe Stream’s tropical forests. Vervet and colobus monkeys, baboons, forest pigs and small antelopes inhabit the dense forest, in addition to a wide variety of tropical birdlife.

An excited whoop erupts from deep in the forest, boosted immediately by a dozen other voices, rising in volume and tempo and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo. It is the famous ‘pant-hoot’ call: a bonding ritual that allows the participants to identify each other through their individual vocal stylizations. To the human listener, walking through the ancient forests of Gombe Stream becomes a spine-chilling outburst which is also an indicator of imminent visual contact with man’s closest genetic relative: the chimpanzee.

Gombe is the smallest of all the Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, whom in 1960 founded a behavioural research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community – that was only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe – is still regularly seen by visitors.

Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots and screams that define the celebrities, the powerbrokers, and the supporting characters. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp’s eyes, assessing you in return – a look of apparent recognition across the narrowest of species barriers.

The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, whereas the red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.

After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.

About Gombe Stream National Park
Size: 52 sq km (20 sq miles), Tanzania’s smallest national park.
Location: 16 km (10 miles) north of Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania.

Getting there
Kigoma is connected to Dar and Arusha by scheduled flights, to Dar and Mwanza by a slow rail service, to Mwanza, Dar and Mbeya by rough dirty roads, and to Mpulungu in Zambia by a weekly ferry.
From Kigoma, local lake-taxis take up to three hours to reach Gombe, or motorboats can be chartered, taking less than one hour.

What to do
Chimpanzee trekking, hiking, swimming and snorkeling;
Visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma, and watch the renowned dhow builders at work. .

NOTE
Strict rules are in place to safeguard you and the chimps. Allow at least 2 days to at least see them – this is not a zoo so there are no guarantees where they’ll be each day.

Katavi National Park

It offers un-spoilt wildlife viewing in the country’s third-largest national park, in a remote location far off the beaten track. The national park is Africa at its most wild — unadulterated bush settings, spectacular views, and rich wildlife.

The wilderness of Katavi National Park, located in the western area of Tanzania, is one of the most untouched areas in the entire country.

Katavi’s dramatic scenery is as varied as it is pristine. Flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways are home to a huge population of hippo and varied birdlife. In the woodlands to the west, forest canopies shroud herds of buffaloes and elephants. Seasonal lakes fill with dirty coloured water after the rains and animals from all corners of the park descend in them to drink. The park is also home to the rare roan and sable antelope species, and it is a must-see for the visitors intending to explore the wilds of the continent.

Isolated, untrammeled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as if it must have been a century ago.
Tanzania’s third largest national park; it lies in the remote area southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.

The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localised eland, sable and roan antelopes. Nevertheless the main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad water birds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles.

It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into life. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffes, zebras, impalas and reedbucks provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.

Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday incident, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.

Location; Southwest Tanzania, east of Lake Tanganyika.
The headquarters at Sitalike lie 40km (25 miles) south of Mpanda town.

Getting there
Charter flights from Dar or Arusha.
A tough but spectacular day’s drive from Mbeya (550 km/340 miles), or in the dry season only from Kigoma (390 km/240 miles).
It is possible to reach Mpanda by rail from Dar via Tabora, then to get public transport to Sitalike, where game drives can be arranged. If travelling overland, allow plenty of time to get there and back.

What to do
Walking, driving and camping safaris.
Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) – Offerings are still left here by locals seeking the spirit’s blessing.

Accommodation
Two seasonal luxury tented camps overlooking Lake Chada. A Resthouse at Sitalike and campsites inside the park. Basic but clean hotels at Mpanda.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest (660km), deepest in Africa and second-deepest in the world (more than 1436m) and second-largest (by volume) freshwater lake. At somewhere between nine and 13 million years old, it’s also one of the oldest. Thanks to its age and ecological isolation it’s home to an exceptional number of endemic fish, including 98% of the 250-plus species of cichlids. Cichlids are popular aquarium fish due to their bright colours, and they make Tanganyika an outstanding snorkelling and diving destination.

Comparatively narrow, varying in width from 10 to 45 miles (16 to 72 km), it covers about 12,700 square miles (32,900 square km) and forms the boundary between Tanzania and Congo (Kinshasa). It occupies the southern end of the Western Rift Valley, and for most of its length the land rises steeply from its shores. Its waters tend to be brackish. Though fed by a number of rivers, the lake is not the centre of an extensive drainage area. The largest rivers discharging into the lake are the Malagarasi, the Ruzizi, and the Kalambo, which has one of the highest waterfalls in the world (704 feet [215 metres]). Its outlet is the Lukuga River, which flows into the Lualaba River.

Lake Tanganyika is situated on the line dividing the floral regions of eastern and western Africa, and oil palms, which are characteristic of the flora of western Africa, grow along the lake’s shores. Rice and subsistence crops are grown along the shores, and fishing is of some significance. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles abound, and the bird life is varied.

Many of the numerous peoples (predominantly Bantu-speaking) living on the lake’s eastern borders trace their origins to areas in the Congo River basin. The lake was first visited by Europeans in 1858, when the British explorers Sir Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke reached Ujiji, on the lake’s eastern shore, in their quest for the source of the Nile River. In 1871 Henry (later Sir Henry) Morton Stanley “found” David Livingstone at Ujiji. Important ports situated along Lake Tanganyika are Bujumbura (Burundi), Kalemi (Congo), and Ujiji and Kigoma (Tanzania).

Lake Victoria

With a surface area of 68,800 sq km (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake. In addition, it’s the largest tropical lake in the world, and the planet’s second largest freshwater lake. Only North America’s Lake Superior is larger.

An irregular quadrilateral in shape, its shores, save on the west, are deeply indented. Its greatest length from north to south is 210 miles (337 km), its greatest breadth 150 miles (240 km). Its coastline exceeds 2,000 miles (3,220 km). Its waters fill a shallow depression in the centre of the great plateau that stretches between the Western and Eastern Rift Valleys. The lake’s surface is 3,720 feet (1,134 metres) above sea level, and its greatest ascertained depth is 270 feet (82 metres). Many archipelagos are contained within the lake, as are numerous reefs, often just below the surface of the clear waters. Lake Victoria has more than 200 species of fish, of which the Tilapia is the most economically important. The lake’s basin area covers 92,240 square miles (238,900 square km).

The lake’s shores vary in aspect. The lake’s southwestern coast is backed by precipices 300 feet (90 metres) high, which give way on the western coast to papyrus and ambatch swamps marking the delta of the Kagera River. The lake’s deeply indented northern coast is flat and bare. A narrow channel leads into the Kavirondo Gulf, which has an average width of 16 miles (25 km) and extends for 40 miles (64 km) eastward to Kisumu, Kenya. The Ugandan cities of Kampala and Entebbe lie along or near the northern coast. At the lake’s southeastern corner is Speke Gulf, and at the southwestern corner Emin Pasha Gulf. Of the numerous islands in the lake, Ukerewe, north of Speke Gulf, is the largest, with wooded hills rising 650 feet (200 metres) above the lake. It is densely populated. At the lake’s northwestern corner are the 62 islands of the Sese archipelago, some of them of striking beauty.

The Kagera River, the largest and most important of the lake affluents, enters the western side of Lake Victoria just north of latitude 1° S. The only other river of note entering from the west is the Katonga, north of Kagera. The lake’s only outlet is the Victoria Nile, which exits from the northern coast.

The search by Europeans for the source of the Nile led to the sighting of the lake by the British explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858. Formerly known to the Arabs as Ukerewe, the lake was named by Speke in honour of Queen Victoria of England. A detailed survey of the lake was made by Sir William Garstin in 1901. Plans for gradually raising the level of the lake’s waters were completed in 1954 with the construction of the Owen Falls Dam (now the Nalubaale Dam) on the Victoria Nile at Jinja, Uganda. The dam provides hydroelectric power on a large scale and made the lake a vast reservoir. A second dam, Kiira, was later constructed 0.6 mile (1 km) from Nalubaale. It was completed in 1999 and began producing hydroelectric power the next year.

The Lake Victoria region is one of the most densely populated in Africa; within 50 miles (80 km) of its shores live several million people, nearly all Bantu-speaking. There are local steamer services around the lake.

Mahale Mountains National Park

The park like its northerly neighbor Gombe is home to some of the Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a population of roughly 900, they are habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s.

Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience.

Mahale is located in the Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake-harbouring an estimated 1000 fish species.

Best time to visit the park
The dry season (May -October) is the best period. During this period, chimpanzees are likely to be seen in big groups, the sunshine illuminates the fish in the Lake and the beach is an inviting place to relax. However, Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. A visit in the rainy season can also be a memorable experience, made remarkable by views of the neighbouring country DR Congo across the water and by incredible lightning storms that light up the lake at night.

Tourist Attractions
– The Chimpanzees
– Chain of Mountains (Mahale range)
– Forest fauna and flora (Angola colobus, red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, forest birds, alpine bamboo, montane rain forest etc).
– Beach along Lake Tanganyika
– Local fishermen
– Sun set on the Lake horizon

What to do
– Chimp tracking (allow two days)
– Hiking to the Park’s highest point “Nkungwe” (8,069ft) held sacred by the local Tongwe people.
– Camping safaris
– Snorkeling
– Sports fishing and many more water sports activities

Park Accessibility
Mahale is accessible by air, road and boat. There are several flights, car and boat options to suit most travelers and chimps lovers:

Direct flights to Mahale
This is the easiest way to reach Mahale. During the peak tourist season (June to October) the three tour operators with camps in Mahale schedule regular flights between the park and Arusha town. Between October and March flights arrive and leave twice each week. Between March, April and the first half of May Camps close therefore there are no scheduled flights.

However it is also possible for visitors to arrange their own charter flights. Tanzania has a large number of charter flight companies such as Air Excel, Northern Air and Regional Air to mention a few. Private charters can be arranged from major cities of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza or Zanzibar.

The airstrip at Mahale is suitable for light aircraft only with the capacity of up to 12 passengers.

Travel to Mahale via Kigoma
Kigoma can be reached via several routes:
– By Air: Air Tanzania schedules daily flights from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The flight takes about 3 hours.
– By Road: Road provides accessibility to Kigoma, but it can be rough and impassable, especially in the rainy season. From Arusha it takes 2 or 3 days to reach Kigoma by car, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is required.
– By Rail: Trains from Dar es salaam leave 2-3 times a week. The journey takes about three days and two nights.

From Kigoma: Mahale can be reached by boat, by light aircraft or by car.
Transport to Mahale by speedboats or timber boats from Kigoma can be arranged with the Park or private operators in Kigoma. The speedboats take between 4 and 5 hours to reach the park while timber boats can take up to 15 hours or more.

A large steamship – MV Liemba – leaves Kigoma twice a month [on Wednesday afternoon], carrying passengers and cargo the length of the Lake to Zambia. It makes numerous stops along the way, including one for Mahale, which is referred to as Lagosa (the old name) or famously known as Mgambo. MV Liemba takes around 10 hours to reach Lagosa-Mgambo from Kigoma, and it passes Mahale again on its return journey [either Sunday or Monday morning].

From Lagosa-Mgambo one may organize the park boats for a pick up.

Mahale is 45 minutes from Kigoma town by light aircraft. A few safari companies offer private charter flights from Kigoma to Mahale and other National Parks in western Tanzania.

Road; Either drive 2 hrs South of Kigoma via Simbo Village (160km ) crossing Malagarasi river to Herembe village (passable during dry season) or drive 122km to Sigunga Village upon arrangement with Park HQ for boat transfer to the Park maximum 1 or 2 hrs boat cruise respectively.

PARK REGULATIONS
Mahale Mountains National Park is home to one of Africa’s most studied chimpanzee populations. The support that visitors give through payment of park entrance fees provides the Park with the means to safeguard and protect this unique population of chimpanzees and the beautiful forest that they inhabit.

Park rules and regulations
– Keep to the authorized trails.
– Do not disturb wild animals in any way. Do not make noise.
– Be considerate to fellow visitors – do not disturb them or the animals they are watching.
– Do not take any pets or guns into the park.
– Do not uproot, pick, cut or damage any plant or be in possession of any part of a plant indigenous to the park.
– Do not light any fire or discard any burning object.
– Do not discard any litter.
– Between 7.00p.m and 6.00a.m remain in the immediate vicinity of designated accommodation facilities (tented camps, tourist bandas, rest house or campsites).
– A permit is valid for single entry within 24 hours only.

Chimp Viewing Regulations
– Maintain a distance of at least 10m from the chimps at all times. This minimizes the risk of you transmitting bacteria and viruses to them.
– Always wear a mask (provided by your guide) over your nose and mouth when you are close (

<50m) to chimps.
– DO NOT eat or drink while you are near the chimps – move at least 250m away.
– DO NOT leave personal belongings on the ground or where they are accessible to the chimps. They are curious animals and your belongings can transmit disease. If you need help carrying bags, your guide will be happy to assist you.
– DO NOT leave any rubbish behind. It can be harmful to all kinds of wildlife and it can transmit diseases to the chimps.
– If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the chimps, please cover your nose and mouth to reduce the distribution of germs.
– Try not to go to the toilet in the forest. If it is unavoidable, move at least 250m from the chimps and ask your guide to dig a deep hole.
– It is not permitted to visit the chimps if you are sick or have infectious disease. Please be responsible and tell your camp managers if you don’t feel well. You are risking the chimps’ health by visiting them while sick. The manager will decide the best way.
– No person under the age of 12 is permitted to visit the chimps. This is for their own safety and because young people are more likely to transmit infectious disease.
– No more than 6 visitors (plus one guide) are permitted close to the chimps at any one time. If another group is with the chimps when you arrive, please wait at a spot chosen by your guide, at least 250m away from the animals.
– Maximum viewing time is one hour. If the chimps are moving and viewing is interrupted, your time will be paused until they have been relocated, but tracking is not permitted for longer than 3hours after the initial chimp sighting, even if the one hour total has not been reached. This is to minimize disturbance to the animals and to the forest.

 

GENERAL SAFETY RULES
Mahale’s chimps have been studied and habituated for more than 40 years and are well accustomed to people. Nevertheless, they are wild animals and it is important that you avoid doing anything that may antagonize them or that they may see as a challenge or a threat.

– When near the chimps, please remember to keep your voices low. This will also help you to observe the other wonderful and varied wildlife of the Mahale forest.
– Do not point at the chimps or make any sudden movements.
– Avoid direct eye contact with them because they may perceive this as aggressive or threatening behavior.
– Do not use perfume, smoke or spit.
– When near the Chimps: Stay in a tight group, try to sit or squat rather than standing, as this minimizes disturbance. Also be sure that your group does not completely surround the chimps.
– In the unlikely event that a chimp charges towards you, move to the nearest tree, stand up and hold on tightly to the trunk. Above all, don’t panic or run, adhere to your guide’s instructions.
– If the chimpanzees move closer to you than permitted distance (10 meters), don’t make any sudden movements to increase the distance. Simply move back slowly away from them.
– Camera flashes must be switched off. Flash photography can disturb and antagonize the chimps.

ACCOMMODATION
Park facilities
The park has five self-contained tourist bandas. Each banda has two rooms with twin beds and a private bathroom. Kitchen facilities are available for self-catering and cooks can be hired locally to prepare your meals. Visitors may bring their food staff and drinks.
Bandas are suitable for budget travelers and students.
For bookings, please contact: Mahale Mountains National Park,
E-mail: sokwe@tanzaniaparks.com , mahale@tanzaniaparks.com
Private owned Facilities

Currently the park has three luxury tented camps owned and run by private investors:

Nomad Safaris Luxury Tented Camp. E-Mail: mahale1@nomad-tanzania.com
Capacity: 7 rooms, 14 beds.
Nkungwe Luxury Tented Camp. E-mail: kht96@hotmail.com , scl@raha.com
Capacity: 10 Rooms, 20 beds.
Flycatcher Safari Camp. E-mail: flycat@habari.co.tz
Capacity: 6 Rooms, 12 beds

Mwanza City

The city of Mwanza is the major Tanzanian port on Lake Victoria and a major centre of economic activities in the region. The lake borders the country’s East African neighbours – Uganda to the north west, and Kenya to the north east.

Export and transport among the countries is a foundation of Mwanza’s economy. Around the city of Mwanza, the land is primarily devoted to agricultural enterprise. Tea, cotton and coffee plantations throughout the area produce large volumes of cash crops that pass though Mwanza on their way to market. The town’s industrial harbour and busy streets make it a prosperous and busy place to explore.

For visitors, the city makes a good base from which to explore the nearby Rubondo Island National Park and the western parts of the Serengeti. Rubondo Island National Park offers pleasant day-hikes and bird watching around the lake shore. Mwanza’s proximity to the western Serengeti makes it a necessary stop for visitors who want to experience a less bust part of the park and see the magic of the Serengeti without the parade of safari vehicles and seasonal crowds. Mwanza is also the centre of the Sukuma tribe, the largest tribe in Tanzania, who have inhabited and farmed the region for centuries. Cultural tourism programmes to their local villages and farms can be arranged through the local cultural centres.

Rubondo Island National Park

Located on the south-west shores of Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island National Park includes Rubondo Island and several other small islands of Lake Victoria.
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The park boasts for its rich and diverse variety of butterflies and bird life, easily viewable from the lake shore. The rare Sitatunga, an extremely endangered amphibious antelope, can sometimes be viewed escaping from the charging predators by hiding and camouflaging itself in the lake shore marshes.

A visit to Rubondo Island National Park offers visitors a break from game viewing in the tranquil peace of a lake shore setting. Exploring the islands within the park creates an excitement for day trips. Fishing expeditions into Lake Victoria are easily arranged through the major lodges. Rubondo Island National Park is a relaxation from the rigorous safari circuit and a relaxing place from which to explore Lake Victoria.

Park attractions
– A variety of water birds , Eurasian migrants and introduced African grey parrots
– High density of African fish eagles distinctly seen
– Animal species including Sitatunga, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, Bushbucks, Pythons, Crocodiles, Chimpanzees (not fully habituated), Bush pigs and Suni
– The Lake Victoria forming a spectacular sight for visitors with the deepest point in the lake (Irumo) forming part of the park
– Magnificent view of one of the last remaining representatives of evergreen dense primary lowland Congolese forest with a unique habitat mosaic in the midst of high biodiversity value
– Beautiful and attracting beaches such as Fly catcher, Mchangani and Michicoco
– Important gulfs of Irumo and Kamea
– Clear sighting of both sun rise and sun set
– Cultural sites such as “Ntungamirwe”, “Maji Matakatifu”, “Altare” and “Solo” which explain the life of natives who once stayed in the park
– “Birds Islands”, breeding sit for water birds
– Crocodile Island

Bandas: Located about two kilometers from the Park headquarters with 1 unit of well maintained uniport with triple beds inside/self contained and 5 double bed rooms all self contained with hot shower service. Maximum capacity 13 pax per night.

Rest House: Owned by TANAPA and located about two kilometers from Park headquarters with 2 singles, 1 triple beds room and 1 double bed sized room all being self contained with TV and hot shower. Maximum/full capacity is 7 pax per night.

Youth hostel: Located at park headquarters. Capacity 36 persons (16 boys, 16 girls and two rooms with double beds to accommodated 4 teachers.)

Resting shelters: Four resting shelter located at bandas facing a magnificent view of the lake where visitors rest while enjoying the lake breeze during a day.

Dining and Kitchen: A well maintained and fully equipped facility comprising of dining and kitchen owned by the park, all visitors are advised to bring in some foodstuffs while the park provides kitchen and dining facilities. Note that, the place is self catering.

Campfire: The dining/kitchen facility faces a fireplace where fire is normally lit for visitors to stay nearby during evening times while enjoying their barbecue and drinks.

Shop: One shop owned by TANAPA Rubondo staff located at Park headquarters which sells some household items and beverages for both staff and visitor uses.

Public Campsites: Mlaga campsite which can accommodate up to 30 persons one per night. (Not operating currently)

Picnic Sites: Four picnic sites two of which being located at Maji matakatifu, one at Pongo view point and one at Mamba trail, they all face a spectacular view of the lake at different sights which together bring the aesthetic value of the park thus adding to visitors satisfaction.

Park Activities
Game Drives, Bird Watching, Walking Safaris, (Rangers required. Can be arranged in advance through Park Office (See park fees), visitors are advised to carry some dry stuff while going for long walks.

Saanane Island National Park

Saanane Island is a fully fledged National Park since July, 2013, covering an area of 2.18 sq km comprises of three islets and aquatic environment. The islets lie on the southern part of the main Island.

The park made a record of being the first ever National Park to be located within the City and the smallest National Park in both Tanzania and East Africa. The Park is the home of mammals like Impala, Rock Hyrax, Velvet Monkeys and Wild Cats. The presence of “De-brazas Monkey” underscores its potential as the only Park in the country inhabiting the species.  Reptiles are also dominant; they include crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Agama Lizards, Pancake and Leopard Tortoises, Snakes particularly Python.

The aquatic part of the Park inhabits a variety of fisheries life, mainly Tilapia and Nile Perch.

LOCATION
The Park is located 2km Southwest of Mwanza city centre, which lies in the Gulf of Lake Victoria (Latitude 2.5 S and Longitude 32 E).

GETTING THERE
One can travel by road or air from either Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro International Air Ports to Mwanza.  Also can travel by road or railway to Mwanza City from Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Kigoma and Tabora. to mention a few. Moreover, people can travel by ship/vessel to Mwanza Port from Uganda, Kenya, Bukoba and nearby Islands.

The Island is accessed by a regular short boat ride for about 5 minutes from Park Offices, on the mainland. Park Offices are easily accessed about 15 minutes short walk from the City Centre.

TO DO
Saanane Island is an ideal place for game viewing, bird watching, rock hiking, boat cruise, walking, picnics, bush lunch, photographing/filming, meditation and sport fishing.  Special occasions like wedding, engagement, team building, family day and birthdays can also be organized.

HISTORY
Saa Nane Island was named after its previous owner, Mzee Saanane Chawandi, a fisherman who turned into a farmer and later shifted to another island (after being compensated) to pave the way for conservation efforts in the early 1960’s. The Tanzania government officially owned the island in 1964 as the first ever government owned zoo. Originally its territory measured some 0.7 square kilometers comprising both dry land and water. However, Saa Nane National Park annexed and includes two other smaller islets known as Chankende Kubwa and Chandkende Ndogo both located in the southern part of the main island into the bargain thus increasing its protected area to 1.32 square kilometers. The main objective was to promote intense and conservation education in wildlife and to promote recreation to the people of Mwanza.

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