Western Tanzania Adventure

For the perfect escape from the crowds, take a week to explore the wild, remote but rewarding Tanzanian National Parks of Katavi and Mahale in Western Tanzania. Both are gloriously scenic but utterly contrasting, linked by convenient safari flights and by the fact that they are both marvellously isolated and little visited.

Where else but Katavi can one enjoy vast herds of buffalo, pools oozing with more hippo than mud and great river bridges of crocodile? And then secure such privileged, exclusive access to chimpanzees so close as in Mahale?

Accommodation at a glance:

Monday departures:

3 nights – Mbali Mbali Katavi, (Full Board & Game Drives)
4 nights – Mbali Mbali Mahale, (Full Board & Game Drives)

Wonderfully remote and un-touristy, Katavi offers a varied landscape of beautiful woodlands, floodplains and arid landscapes. In the dry season, there is nowhere to match Katavi National Park for huge herds of elephant. At any time of the year, the Hippo Pool puts all other hippo pools to shame; hundreds of closely-packed hippos grunting and snorting generally luxuriating in a great, black, sticky mud of hippo waste!

The Mahale National Park is the most remote and one of the smallest of Tanzania’s National Parks, its forested mountain peaks hugging the shore of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania and providing a protected habitat for chimpanzees. Inaccessible by road, Mahale covers an area of approximately 1,600km2. Access is initially by light aircraft, and then by dhow.

Chimpanzee trek in Gombe Stream National Park

Hilly and richly vegetated, Mahale is one of two chimpanzee protection zones in Tanzania; the other is the nearby Gombe Stream National Park. A Japanese research team has habituated one group of Mahale chimpanzees called the Mimikire Clan (out of a total population perhaps approaching a thousand), allowing some excellent sightings.

Don’t expect the reward of a great encounter without some hard walking and climbing! The best time to visit is generally accepted to be the dry season which runs roughly from July to October. It is possible to visit at all times of year, but away from the dry season you can expect the walking to be harder because of the slippery tracks and because the chimpanzees will tend to be further away from the lake shore. Your base here is the lovely Mbali Mbali Mahale.

Tailor-made options:

You can also depart on a Thursday (instead of Monday) in which case you would have 4 nights in Katavi and 3 nights in Mahale. Ending this adventure with 2 night in Zanzibar to relax is perfect!

Contact us today for you Tanzanian Safari Holiday!

See Day by Day
Day 1
3 nights, Mbali Mbali Katavi, Lunch and Dinner

From Arusha Airport, you will be met and escorted to board the morning shared charter flight to Katavi Airstrip. You then have a road transfer to Mbali Mbali Katavi combined with game drives (if time allows).

On arrival at the lodge, you will be welcomed and introduced to the staff followed by lunch. Enjoy afternoon/early evening game drives (time permitting).

After your sundowners and dinner, you stay overnight at Mbali Mbali Katavi.


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Katavi
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 2
On safari in Katavi National Park

After breakfast, leave for your morning game drive to explore the Katavi National Park then return to the lodge for brunch or an early lunch.

You have the afternoon at leisure where you can perhaps enjoy a cool dip in the swimming pool.

In the afternoon or early evening, depart for a game drive, ending with a sundowner and dinner.

 


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Katavi
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 3
Full day safari in Katavi National Park

After breakfast, depart the lodge for a full day game drive in the National Park with a packed lunch.

Return to the lodge in the late afternoon where you’ll have time to relax and refresh yourselves before enjoying your evening sundowner and dinner at the lodge. A night game drive is available to book as an optional extra.

 


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Katavi
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 4
4 nights, Mbali Mbali Mahale, Full Board

After breakfast, you will be transferred by road to Katavi Airstrip combined with a game drive (if time allows). On arrival, you board a shared charter flight to Mahale Airstrip and then have a dhow boat transfer (approx. 1.5 hours) to Mbali Mbali Mahale. You will be welcomed by staff and introduced followed by lunch.

In the afternoon or early evening, enjoy chimpanzee trekking or forest walks (if time allows). In the evening, you have sundowners followed by dinner.

 

 


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Mahale
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 5
Chimpanzee trekking, Full Board

After breakfast, leave for a morning’s chimpanzee trekking. Return to the lodge for a hot lunch.

You have the afternoon at leisure, perhaps kayaking or one of the other activities at the lodge. In the evening you have sundowners followed by dinner.

 


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Mahale
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 6
Chimpanzee trekking, Full Board

After breakfast, the morning will be spent chimpanzee trekking. Return to the lodge for a hot lunch. The afternoon will be at your leisure. In the late afternoon, you have a boat safari along the lakeshore.

 


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Mahale
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 7
On safari at Mahale, Full Board

After breakfast, you spend the morning tracking chimpanzees. You then return to the lodge for a hot lunch.

The afternoon is at your leisure. In the evening you have sundowners and dinner.


Accommodation: Mbali Mbali Mahale
Located in: Mahale & Katavi - Tanzania & Zanzibar

Day 8
Return to Arusha Airport

After breakfast, you have a morning dhow boat transfer (approx. one and a half hours) to Mahale Airstrip to arrive in time to board your shared charter flight to Arusha Airport with a packed lunch en route.


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Includes:
Full Board, Accommodation and Meals as specified in the itinerary. Packed lunch on day of departure. Shared Charter Flights (Arusha - Katavi - Mahale - Arusha). Luggage allowance of 15kgs per person. Local beers, selection of spirits and house wines, soft drinks and water. Daily Conservation, Concession and Guide fees for park entrance. Guiding with English Speaking Driver/Guide. Game drives in a 4x4 vehicle on a shared basis in Katavi. 1 x Chimpanzee Trek per day in Mahale. 1 x Boat Safari in Mahale (Option 1: See the hippos, take a short river cruise, and try your hand at local methods of freshwater fishing. Option 2: Visit a neighboring fishing village, Katumbi, for a cultural tour. Or, pay for an additional boat safari and do both). Birding and forest walks in Mahale All transfers as indicated. All laundry services.
Excludes:
All items of personal nature. Tips and gratuities to hotel, lodges, camp staff and guides. Medical Insurance and Evacuation. Flying doctors coverage: Optional @ USD 50 dollars per person. Covers guest within East Africa for a period of 14 days. In the event of a medical emergency, guest will be airlifted to a hospital in Nairobi. All hospital charges with be payable by the guest.
Minimum number:
1
Health requirements:
Malarial area year round
Notes:
Children under 12 years cannot participate in chimpanzee trekking as determined by TANAPA. This tour is not available from 1 March to 31 May as the Western Circuit lodges are closed during this period.
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