Gazetted as a National Park in 2019 Burigi Chato covers 4,707 sq. km making it the 4th largest National Park in Tanzania. Stretching from Lake Victoria in the East to the Rwandan boundary in the West Burigi Chato is an enormous piece of wild country encompassing fresh water lakes, long
hills, rocky crags along escarpments, deeply set valleys lined with forest, open plains, swamps, rivers, flood plains and hundreds of square kilometres of medium and tall grass wooded savanna – mostly Combretum and Terminalia known as Miombo.
A key attraction in this National Park are the lakes with Lake Burigi being the 3rd largest lake in the country. It is a long lake with a number of islands, inlets and bays along its length, some of which are swampy and are home for the rare sitatunga antelope, and possibly also the even rarer shoebill stork. All the lakes lie along winding valleys lined with trees and occasional palms. They are tranquil and beautiful and provide wonderful opportunities for boating and water borne game viewing, as well as sites for camps and small lodges. There is an atmosphere here of untouched remote wilderness, and that a lifetime of exploring would not reveal all its corners and treasures.
Wildlife numbers are increasing throughout the Park with Elephant, Buffalo, zebra, giraffe, waterbuck, eland, warthog, roan, topi, impala, sable and many other smaller species being regularly seen. Oribi are also commonly found. A less common species is the swamp dwelling sitatunga. The big cats; lion, leopard and cheetah are present and can be enjoyed on many a game drive. There are also many crocodile and hippo in the lakes and Rivers.
The activities that you can do in the park include Game viewing by vehicle or from a boat, guided hiking and fishing are the main activities.
How to get to Burigi Chato National Park
The park can be reached both by air and by road with the nearest local town Chato which has an International Airport, and private charters are possible to an airstrip near the Nkonje Ranger Post beside Lake Burigi, or to the Birahamulo airstrip.
For those who are using road transport, Chato town is about 40 km to the Katete Gate. The park can either be visited alone for a short safari or combine it with a tour to Saanane and Rubondo Island National Parks or even a Uganda or Rwanda safari.