Region: Rukwa , Kigoma
Type: D - Known animal movement routes between two protected areas.
Threat: Critical - probably less than 3 years remaining.
The Katavi-Mahale Corridors
The Katavi-Mahale Corridors

The Katavi-Mahale Corridors

Map ©Lillian Pintea, Jane Goodall Institute


Route 1: Mahale - Katavi has been mapped by a survey team following a route on the ground guided by trackers and elephants signs (see Gombe-Kwitanga).

Note that north of the Lwega River the route is narrow, being channeled between the Lake and the Mbalala Hills and onwards into the south eastern corner of Mahale Mountains NP. South of the Lwega trackers say the route fans out across the flatter ground.

In addition to the route shown on the map between the Lwega River and the Mpanda - Ikola road, local trackers reported another elephant path that follows a seam of 'red soil' to the west of the mapped route. The point where the elephant route crosses the Ikola - Mpanda road is still well covered with vegetation and few people are living in the area, so there is an opportunity to maintain this crossing point.

Route 2:  Katavi - Ntakata (without passing through Mahale). Trackers from the Katavi side reported an elephant route from Katavi, following the Katumba River north and then along to Ntakata Forest without passing through Mahale.

Route 3: Elders from the Northeast of Mahale report a historical route from Ntakata Forest to Kakungu Mountains, through Mabungo and into the north east corner of Mahale.


ElephantAnimal movements been confirmed recently (a) by following elephant trails the whole way from Mahale to Katavi on foot (there may be four separate trails), and (b) by identifying such trails from satellite imagery.

There has also been speculation that chimpanzee populations are found in this corridor area but this was not confirmed by a Wildlife Conservation Society survey of the eastern Albertine Rift.


General: Katavi and Mahale NPs are relatively close to each other and the intervening miombo woodland is little inhabited, but there is some logging.

South of the Mpanda-Lugonesi Road the area consists of almost no villages, only watercourses (the Luega and Msenguse Rivers) flowing southwest into Lake Tanganyika. However, one dirt road bisects this corridor, the road from Mpanda to Karema that has a bus service.

All three routes are potentially threatened by proposed road developments. In particular, plans to make a tarmac road from Sumbawanga to Mpanda could have an impact if the route of the road was to run west of Katavi NP instead of through it. Decisions on the route have yet to be finalized.

Specifically for Route 1: people are moving into this area, some small clusters of houses were seen in several locations along the elephant route, most notably at the Lwega River elephant crossing point.

However Kashagulu Villagers have recently established a VLFR and told these people to move from the northern side of the river.  Probably these people will just go back to the southern side of the river rather than moving out of the area completely.

Route 2: this is of particular interest as the whole route and Ntakata is currently unprotected.

Route 3: there is a road in between Ntakata and Kakungu and people are rapidly moving into the Kakungu area to farm so this route is probably disturbed already.