Mahale & Katavi

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

Overview

Western Tanzania is an amazing, yet remote destination. It comprises Mahale National Park, known for its chimpanzees, and Katavi National Park

Chimpanzee Tracking in Mahale National Park

Mahale National Park is set on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania. This is a very special destination, both for its setting and the opportunity to trek to see the chimpanzees. 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. So this makes for some great wildlife encounters.

Greystoke Mahale setting

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 intrepid traveller with a thrilling taste of ‘old’ Africa. Indeed Katavi is the third largest national park in Tanzania. The Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada are the most rewarding.

It is here, during the dry season, that Katavi National Park safaris truly comes into their 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.

Buffalo in Katavi National Park

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, you can enjoy chimpanzee tracking, hiking, swimming and snorkelling, You can also visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone, I presume” meeting at Ujiji near Kigoma.

Return to main Tanzania safari pages

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.

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 ℉

Start planning your dream trip

Find me the best in for

Need a little help? View our Safari Guide to help you get started

Accommodation

View More Accommodations

Download our Guide to Tanzania Safaris

Major Game Reserves, Sample Tours & Camps, plus the low-down on Best Time to Visit! Get our Free guide here
 

Ginny Russell

Co-founder & Director

Hi I'm Ginny, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience
Did you know
  • Katavi Geography3 large floodplains
  • Katavi Size3rd largest park in country