AUTHENTIC SAFARIS & PERSONALIZED TOURS IN LAKE TANGANYIKA WITH AFRICANMECCA
A walk along the lake shore is a fantasy journey in itself. Although there are no tides, this vast inland sea is subject to rapid evaporation, wind movement and changing currents. You would believe you were on the seashore, judging by the beautiful mollusk shells on the sand. Sun-bleached driftwood sculptures are not rare. Sometimes, especially early in the morning, you will see pugmarks and other tracks in the sand where warthogs, antelopes, and even leopard and chimpanzees come down to the fresh water to drink. Small, tufted islands of reeds emerge from the shallows. Tumbled rocks form breakwaters and luxuriant foliage fronts deep undergrowth, before the eye is led to forested slopes. Across the lake, steep mountains rise sheerly to the sky.
During your tour of the lake, you will be told of many unsolved mysteries about the lake, which has indeed had a notoriously unstable geological career. Due to its high altitude and great depth, its location in a mountainous volcanic area, its high rate of evaporation, the unreliability of water flow from the rivers that supplied it and the climate changes it has survived, it has changed its character many times throughout the ages. Sometimes linked with other Great Lakes in the Rift Valley area and sometimes cut off from them; sometimes having a riverine outlet to the sea and at other times being completely landlocked, it depended on lava blockages diverting the inflow from the Nile less than 12000 years ago to allow it to build up from a level 300 meters below the present shoreline, spilling out through the Congo towards the sea. This outlet is still intermittent. When the British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke found it in 1858, they were actually searching for the source of the River Nile.
Because of all these changes in currents and flow, the lifeless fossil silt has stayed in the lake for over 12,000 years and the water change rate is estimated at 6000 years. No wonder there are legends of Nessie type monsters in the lake, such as Gustave – the giant crocodile, Pamba, the lake monster, or Chipekwe, otherwise Emela ntouka, the “killer of elephants”. Recent research has been aimed at establishing a lake basin management authority to protect the lake and its contents, since it is a world treasure, a magical place where magnificent creatures, many still unknown to science, may be encountered by anyone on safari in this expanse of Africa (read more on when is the best time to visit Lake Tanganyika).
MV Liemba Tour Experience At Lake TanganyikaGetting to Lake Tanganyika is a difficult exercise in logistics. Access roads are few and poorly maintained, and travel in the wet is almost impossible. Air transport is easier by light aircraft. Some of the lodges near the lake have private airstrips and there is also landing airport at larger towns like Kigoma. But if you want to include Lake Tanganyika in your expedition safari of western Tanzania, to get to the Mahale or Gombe National Parks, or to the islands, lake transport is essential. There is a large passenger and cargo ferry, MV Liemba, which travels the length of the lake at two-week intervals, stopping at various designated points to unload travelers and goods for onward journeys by small boat in shallower waters to small coastal towns and villages, islands, camps and lodges (read more on where to stay in Lake Tanganyika).
These smaller ferries may be dhows, motor boats or speed boats at various charges, none of them cheap. Some of the luxury lodges subsidize the costs of air and speedboat costs as they own their own aircrafts and boats. All transport is best arranged in advance and coordinated via your AfricanMecca expert planner. MV Liemba is a hundred-year-old ferry with a checked but questionable history. The Graf von Goetzen, as she was formerly christened, was fabricated in Germany in 1913 for ferry service on Lake Tanganyika. She arrived at Kigoma in 5000 boxes to be reassembled. Later she was armed and re-commissioned as a steam-powered gunboat in the First World War. When the allies gained the upper hand on the lake after bringing in two gunboats in an epic journey by rail and river, she was scuttled deliberately in 1916 to prevent her falling into their hands.
German engineers planned to salvage her later, but she was not raised until 1924 by the Royal Navy. MV Liemba was the original model for the German gunboat in C.S. Forrester`s novel, The African Queen, written in 1935 and later made into a film starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Since 1927, MV Liemba has provided a reliable ferry service on Lake Tanganyika, being overhauled and fitted with diesel engines and extra passenger cabins: two VIP, 10 first class, 18 second class and various berths, to carry a total of 480 commuters. In 1997, she was used to repatriate more than 75,000 refugees from Zaire – now called Congo. Michael Palin traveled on her whilst making the BBC Television Series, Pole to Pole in 1992, and an American feature film was made about her, as the last ship of her line still in service. No historic lake tour of Africa would be complete without a trip on this famous unique ship.
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WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE TANGANYIKA
You could stay at the boutique Lupita Island Resort, value Kigoma Hilltop Hotel or Lake Tanganyika Hotel or even chimpanzee lodgings like Gombe Forest Lodge, Greystoke Mahale and Kungwe Beach Lodge.
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GUIDE ON LAKE TANGANYIKA IN TANZANIA
Tanganyika is arguably the most beautiful Great Lake in Africa, formed in the Great African Rift Valley, with long, deserted beaches of silver sand backed by tropical forest on chimpanzee habitat mountains.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT LAKE TANGANYIKA
Lake Tanganyika is an enchanting place to visit almost all the year round since it has a moderate equatorial climate. June to September is the best time to set out on a trip to maximize on the activities.
What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWS
I booked my safari holiday through AfricanMecca. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
Shelley Roberts - Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
Congratulations, the organisation by AfricanMecca was perfect. As to Mahale we spent 4 memorable days in that beautiful scenery, with plenty of Chimp viewing, a lovable crew and good food. Thanks once again for the top service.
Danielle and Walter Rohrer - Hoerhausen, Switzerland
Dear Raza, We want to thank all the AfricanMecca team and the people who had made possible such an unforgettable honeymoon. Thanks to Nkungwe Beach Lodge (a paradise on earth) for all their attentions in such a remote and beautiful spot.
Toni & Raquel Salat - Barcelona, Spain
I recently returned from a trip to Tanzania with a party of eleven people (Canisius College school group) visiting remote Chimpanzee and Wildlife in Gombe, Mahale, Selous. I am pleased to report that I was entirely satisfied in every respect.
Dr. Michael Noonan - Professor At Canisius College - New York, United States
AfricanMecca's professionalism and care understands that what distinguishes Africa is its authenticity, the land, people and wildlife who do not share our world of fashion and fanfare that distinguish so many travel companies today.
Cyril Christo & Marie Wilkinson, Conservation Photographers, Authors & Wildlife Documentary Producers - USA
We saw more than 20 chimpanzees including chimps I've read about -- Freud, Faustino, Wilkie... so amazing. We had an absolutely amazing trip in Arusha, Serengeti and Gombe - everything went smooth as silk. Thank you so much Raza
Tiffany Heitz & Lesley Smith - California, United States
We had a wonderful time on our chimpanzee safari in Mahale Mountains National Park. The services were outstanding. The guides were knowledgeable and led us to several very nice viewing opportunities. Asante sana.
Dave and Sara Howe - Washington, United States
EAST AFRICA SAFARI BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR LAKE TANGANYIKA IN WESTERN TANZANIA
When visiting Lake Tanganyika, we recommend combining it with offbeat parks in Southern and Western Tanzania such as Selous, Ruaha or Katavi ending with a chimpanzee trekking safari at Gombe or Mahale.
You may optionally extend out to Northern Tanzania safari parks such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti (wildebeest migration). End your trip with a Swahili cultural tour and beach holiday in Zanzibar.
LAKE TANGANYIKA SAFARI & TOUR PLANNING DETAILS
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LAKE TANGANYIKA HOTELS & RESORTS
Gombe Forest LodgeGombe , Lake Tanganyika
Kigoma Hilltop HotelLake Tanganyika
Lupita Island ResortLake Tanganyika
Kungwe Beach LodgeLake Tanganyika , Mahale
Greystoke MahaleLake Tanganyika , Mahale
Lake Tanganyika HotelLake Tanganyika
Mahale Mango BandasLake Tanganyika , Mahale
Gombe BandasGombe , Lake Tanganyika
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