31 July - 4 August 2021
Burigi-Chato, with an area of 4707 km2 , stretches from Lake Victoria in the east to the Rwanda border in the west. The land rises from 1100 metres in the east to 1700 metres in the west. There are several lakes, the largest of which is Lake Burigi. In between there are long chains of hills with deeply cut valleys. The landscape alternates between swampy floodplains along the rivers, savannahs on the plains and miombo forests on the hills.
It was only in 2019 that this area was designated a National Park, the latest in Tanzania. Previously, it was a game reserve, a natural environment, certainly protected, but intended for the perpetual lucrative slaughters of various Mammals, organized for the pleasure of rich Western murderers called hunters.
There is currently no Government accomodation (under construction) in this beautiful natural area, nor any accommodation within an hour's drive. Camping would be an alternative but requires several days of logistics, time we did not have. We therefore only stayed for one intense day, from sunrise to sunset.
No wonder, mammal sightings are done from a great distance, contrary to the older National Parks where animals are no longer afraid of humans! It will certainly take a good ten years or a few generations for the animals to be observed and admired more closely!
On the other hand, we had a lot of nice birds surprises. This region is very little explored by birdwatchers and the site did not even exist on ebird, the world reference platform !
Amongst other things, two species far from their known range: Sousa's Shrike, Lanius souzae and Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow, Gymnoris superciliaris. Fortunately we managed to photograph them, otherwise no scientific validation is possible. On this one day of exploration, we observed 70 species of birds, including 5 species of Francolin. The Park's potential is huge and once again, we leave this wonderful, wild place with frustration, where we did not meet anyone except the rangers. Buriji-Chato, see you soon!
Rubondo Island National Park is one of the smallest in Tanzania. It is a low island, uninhabited today (a few hills in the south of the island rise to 1,384 metres, or 250 metres above the lake), situated in a wide bay in the southwest of Lake Victoria. It is 90% covered by tropical rainforest, interrupted by some grasslands and areas covered by Papyrus. Before the creation of the Park, the island was inhabited and its inhabitants were forced to move to another island in the region.
It is little visited, because out of the traditional circuits and has few possibilities of accommodation. Once again we stayed in the government bungalows on the lake. Absolute peace and quiet and a breathtaking view!
We were able to observe a very rare species of antelope, the Sitatunga , Tragelaphus spekii. Otherwise, some remarkable birds, including new species for the wetlands: the Marsh Tchagra, Tchagra minutus and the Lesser Swamp Warbler, Acrocephalus gracilirostris.
The other visites regions: