Mahale & Katavi

The most inaccessible spots reward the adventurer; vast herds of buffalo & the chance to track wild chimpanzees.

Overview

Mahale National Park is set on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania. Here the 8,000 ft forested mountain slopes are home to around 800 wild chimpanzees and nine different species of primate. These chimpanzees have been habituated to humans through the research of a Japanese team which makes for some great wildlife encounters.

Gombe Stream

Also on Lake Tanganyika is Gombe Stream National Park, famous for the work of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research team. At 52 sq km, Gombe Stream is Tanzania’s smallest national park. From Mbali Mbali Gombe, guests can enjoy chimpanzee tracking, hiking, swimming and snorkelling and visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone, I presume” meeting at Ujiji near Kigoma.

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park is to the south-east of Lake Tanganyika. Isolated, unspoiled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness. This park provides the few intrepid travellers who make it there with a thrilling taste of ‘old’ Africa. Katavi is the third largest national park in Tanzania.
However, the bulk of Katavi National Park is dense and featureless brachystegia woodland and game is hard to spot. But the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada are much more rewarding. It is here, during the dry season, that Katavi National Park truly comes into its own. The muddy trickle of the Katuma River is now the only source of drinking water for miles around so it’s not unusual for huge pods of hippo and thousand-strong herds of elephant or buffalo to converge on the area. The plentiful giraffe, zebra, and antelope delight the hyena and lion prides of the floodplains.

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Mari Jacobs

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Wild chimpanzees and nine different species of primate.
  • Hiking, swimming, and snorkeling.
  • Isolated, unspoiled, and seldom visited.
  • Taste of ‘old’ Africa.

Explore the Mahale & Katavi map

When to visit Mahale & Katavi

November to April

Wet Season in Mahale & Katavi

This is the continuous wet season in Katavi and Mahale and the camps tend to be closed during this time period. It is hot and humid during this time. It tends to rain in the afternoons and evenings usually during thunderstorms, often every other day.
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

May

Backend of rainy season in Mahale & Katavi

This is a transitional month with some rain. Given the lower altitude of Katavi (770m or 2,500ft) than much of northern Tanzania, it tends to be much warmer. Night-time temperatures are a pleasant 18-20C whereas days are hot (at around 30c).
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

June to September

Dry season in Mahale & Katavi

This is the dry season with sunny and clear days. Temperatures are ever so slightly cooler with nights being 18C and days being 28C so this is the perfect time to visit.
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

October

Hottest time in Mahale & Katavi

This is the hottest time of the year as the summer rainfall season begins with increasing humidity and heat. Make sure you are comfortable with heat!
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

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Did you know
  • Geography3 large floodplains
  • Size3rd largest park in country