The Mahale Mountains on the shores of Lake Tanganyika are home to some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in East Africa. All game viewing is done on foot. This unique ecological zone – a mix of lowland forest, savannah and open woodland – also contains elephants, buffalos, leopards, antelopes, giraffes and lions.
To the south of Mahale is Katavi National Park, a flood plain surrounding Lake Katavi. It’s one of the most difficult parks to reach and strictly for those of an adventurous spirit, but it has excellent game viewing with a real wilderness atmosphere. Its waters shelter crocodiles, hippos and large flocks of pelicans, and the swamps attract over 400 species of bird. Leopards, lions, elephants, elands, antelopes and more inhabit the short grasses, and the park is also home to Africa's largest herds of buffalo.
Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks, and known due to Jane Goodall's research on chimpanzees. Travel is by boat from Ujiji or Kigoma. The forests are alive with primates, and you can also spot bushbucks, bushpigs and grey duikers. It’s also wonderful for bird-watching, as its lakeshore is home to kingfishers, crowned eagles, African broadbills and trumpeter hornbills.