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Tanzania Western Circuit Safari

Tanzania Western Circuit Safari

The western safari circuit is where you get to explore the intriguing jungles of Tanzania to meet chimpanzees. But, it's not all about the primates. Here, you can also find rare roan and sable antelope species as well as hippos, and giraffes and if you're lucky, you can spot elephants, leopards, zebras and maybe even a lion, too!

The western safari circuit comprises Mahale Mountains National Park, Katavi National Park, and Gombe Stream National Park. Although not the primary reason for visiting Tanzania, the western circuit promises a different kind of adventure and an exciting side trip to any wildlife safari. Since this area is very remote, the only way to get here is via light aircraft or boat. Flights may start from Arusha, Dar es Salaam or even Zanzibar.

Main Gateway

Depending on your itinerary, the main entry hubs into the western safari circuit are Tanzania's major international hubs: Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha and Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam. Most attractions are only accessible by either charter planes or a boat ride from Kigoma town.
To get to Kigoma, the most accessible starting point is Dar es Salaam. If you come from Arusha, you have to travel to Kigoma directly, you can take the bus or train to Kigoma. You can also start from Dodoma (or travel from Arusha to Dodoma) and then take a bus or train to Kigoma. However, if you're looking into visiting Katavi National Park first, it is most accessible through Arusha as plenty of flights are available from there via Safari Air Link and Nomad Safaris.

What's great about Tanzania Western circuit?

Western Circuit parks are not very popular with tourists as they usually go with Northern Circuit Safari Parks almost like a reflex. But, what's great about this circuit is that it offers something different than the usual it's the road less travelled. It features a deep virgin territory, primate safari experiences like chimpanzee trekking and, given that most of it is probably one of the most inaccessible areas in the country; it displays an unspoiled wilderness that's just too captivating not to stare at.

Top Western Circuit Parks

1. Mahale Mountains National Park

The popular primates destination in Tanzania, Mahale Mountains National Park hosts about 800 chimpanzees, one of Africa's big apes. It offers guided treks to the forest and gives you a chance to meet and greet the chimps. The park also supports other primates including red colobus monkeys and red-tailed and blue monkeys.

2. Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park is a very remote park, less frequented by tourists. It covers the Katuma River as well as Lakes Katavi and Chada. Among the many animals that roam this park are antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, cheetahs, leopards, lions, and hyenas.

3. Gombe Stream National Park

With only 13.5 square miles (35 km2) of protected land along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe Stream National Park is one of Tanzania's smallest parks. However small, the park is a world-famous chimp reserve that hosts plenty of habituated endangered chimpanzees along with numerous baboons.

Best time to visit Western Circuit Parks: June to October (Mahale), February to June (Gombe), December to April (Katavi)

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