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Burigi-Chato: A stargazing oasis secret well kept in national park

Exploring the Tanzania’s untouched remote wilderness does not reveal all its corners and treasures.

SUNDAY April 28, 2024

A tourist stargazes by a lakeside in Burigi-Chato National Park, Tanzania. PHOTOS | COURTESY

By Deus Bugaywa

The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

Are you a stargazer? Burigi-Chato National Park in north western Tanzania is your perfect hotspot with a clear night sky to explore the space in the mid of wilderness.

You can fix your naked eyes on millions of stars at the most relaxing and humbling site as the vast night sky reminds you how small our world really is.

The newly established park offers her guests an ideal spot to explore the enormous expanse existing beyond the Earth’s atmosphere where stars and galaxies found their home.

You neither need an astronomer nor a binocular or a telescope to explore the space and enjoy the sight at this place.

Astronomy can be scary to some, but Buruigi-Chato National Park ticks all the boxes for enthusiasts in need of getting the pleasure of the good work of creation.

A tourist can take a picture during a boat safari

It is a top-must-visit place to leap lots of benefits that come with stargazing, including reducing stress, and improving sound sleep and mental wellness at large.

Studies have shown that stargazing also inspires admiration feelings, making a stargazer become kind and generous.

Stargazing is just a tip of the iceberg, the 4,707-square-kilometre Burigi-Chato National Park that stretches from the world’s second largest freshwater body in the east, Lake Victoria, offers a plethora of sightseeing experiences.

Spot fishing often precedes stargazing to give a visitor to the Tanzania’s fourth largest park after Nyerere, Ruaha and Serengeti an amazing and gratifying experience.

In a wildlife safari, a visitor gets an opportunity for viewing most of the Big Five, particularly elephants, buffalos, lions and leopards.

A bird watching safari is one of the experiences a tourist gets at Buruigi-Chato in north western Tanzania.

Another unique experience is derived from five lakes the park hosts, namely Burigi, Ngoma, Kasinga, Nyamalebe and part of Lake Victoria.

Besides Lake Victoria, Lake Burigi is the largest and longest with a number of islands, inlets, and bays hosting the rare swamp dwelling antelope, sitatunga antelope, distinguished for its long-splayed hooves.

The hooves though enable the sitatunga antelope to navigate comfortably through the muddy swamplands, make them clumsy and vulnerable in firm terrains.

The lakes, which accommodate some rare African species, serve as camping and lodging sites, as well as providing boating and water-borne game viewing experiences.

Exploring the park’s untouched remote wilderness does not reveal all its corners and treasures.

Burigi-Chato National Park’s Conservation official Leticia Magesa says a walking safari covering two to five kilometres around the park’s hills brings a visitor into close contact with nature.

“Our visitors also enjoy game drive, a spectacular experience most of our guests enjoy,” Leticia Magesa, a conservation official at the park, said.

A walking safari covering two to five kilometres around the park’s hills brings a visitor into close contact with nature, as he views and takes pictures of wildlife animals at a close range, Ms Magesa said.

A bird watching safari is another spectacular experience a tourist enjoys at the park as competent and seasoned guides assist him in spotting a variety of species, including the famous roan antelope.

The Tanzania border with Rwanda, mind-blowing Kagera waters surrounding the park and the riverside set a delightful picturesque in any tourist’s eyes.

The park’s ecosystem supports a variety of wildlife species. The commonly wildlife species spotted during a safari here include elephant, buffaloes, antelopes, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes and chimpanzees.

Jumbos are among the Big Five easily spotted in Burigi-Chato National Park.

Hippos, sitatunga, impalas, roan antelopes, elands, oribis, defassa waterbucks, sable antelopes, and bushbucks also inhabit the park.

Over 28 bird species can be spotted in the park, including the saddle bill stork, Senegal lapwing, wattled lapwings, wattled cranes, village weaver, red-necked francolin, cattle egrets and white-browed Coucal.

The park gives a bird watching enthusiast chance to spot some rare bird species, including the African fish eagles, papyrus ganolek and the bizarre shoebill stork.

A migratory path especially for elephants between Moyowosi and Burigi-Chato National Park is another outstanding sight in this park.

Burigi-Chato National Park can be accessed either by flight or by road, said Mr Ombeni Hingi, the park’s Senior Conservator official, explaining:

Mr Ombeni Hingi, the Burigi-Chato National Park’s Senior Conservator official, says the park is accessible by both air and road.

“One may fly from Mwanza or Dar es Salaam to Bukoba Airport and then drive to Burigi-Chato or fly to Chato Airport and then drive to the national park.

“Alternatively, one can drive all the way from Mwanza through Geita, Biharamulo, Chato to Katete to enter the park through its Major Kijuu Gate.”Ω

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