Katavi Mahale Safari
FROM PRICE: $ 6920 | ON SPECIAL FOR ONLY: $ 5263
Katavi Mahale Safari - 9 days / 8 nights
The special price shown applies to bookings prior to 31st March 2010. The normal price applies to bookings after this date.
This 9 day trip offers outstanding resident game in the remote and fascinating Katavi National Park and its wide open plains with massive herds of buffalo and elephant. Combine this with the special forests and wild chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the biggest body of fresh water in the world.
Where is it?
Katavi National Park is rough, rugged and extreme in so many respects. It's Tanzania's third largest park with outstanding resident game and impressive populations of elephant (around 4000), buffalo (7000), topi (17000), zebra (20000). It's also good for giraffe, roan, sable, eland and others, with predators as good as you'll find anywhere in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe or elsewhere in East Africa (the action is relentless towards the end of the dry season). Before November's short-rains, Katavi has a hippo population that surpasses the Luangwa and Zambezi river densities by far, with massive crocodiles stacked in caves on the Katuma River and a 420 strong bird list.
From Katavi there's little to prepare one for the huge contrast that awaits arrival in Mahale. It's a short flight due north west over the Mahale Mountains to a small airstrip on the edge of Lake Tanganyika followed by a motorised dhow for another 90 minutes down to Kangwena beach. This is Greystoke Mahale - nearest road point is 100km away.
Lake Tanganyika is the largest body of freshwater in Africa, a mile deep (second deepest in the world), with around 50 incoming rivers and one outgoing, a pH of around 8 and no algal growth, its waters are crystal clear - the colour of gin! Bounded by Congo jungle on its opposite shore, the Greystoke side has this great towering Mahale range rising up around 2500m to Nkungwe Peak. This is a seriously dramatic beach spot - white beaches, clear fresh waters and verdant forests.
Mahale's main draw are the chimpanzees - arguably the best and most reliable place to see wild chimps anywhere in Africa.
The mountains are believed to hold around 600 plus individuals in 3 communities of which the Mimikere, or "M" community of 54 individuals (end 2007) has been habituated since 1965.
What is the best time of year to go?
Katavi is usually closed 2nd week February, Mahale closes 3rd week March, both reopen at the end of May - so season runs June to mid February.
July/August/September are good months for this safari but that's also the busiest time of year in East Africa - we take bookings a year and more in advance, camps are small and available on a first come first served basis - if you're serious about this safari during peak season then book your space early.
How to get there
Arrangements start and end in Arusha. Ask us about adding flights from Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.
Tips and Notes
Best time for predators, crocs and hippos in Katavi is October and November - the rains usually start mid November. Best birds in Katavi are from late September through the rainy season. The Katavi skies and light for photographers is best in June.
Mahale's chimps are probably most difficult in June and February when they're regularly quite high in the mountains; a good time to visit is September/October/November when the chimps are often in the foothills.
If you're flexible then visit in October/November/December. Katavi has low season rates from November to camp close in February, Mahale is low season in November/December - except Xmas and New Year period.
Back to Tanzania
Tanzania Safari Spots
Serengeti National Park | Ngorongoro Crater | Lake Manyara | Tarangire National Park | Selous Game Reserve | Ruaha National Park | Katavi National Park | Mt Kilimanjaro | Zanzibar | Pemba | Mafia Islands | Mahale Mountains | Dar & the Coast | Mikumi National Park | Udzungwa | Private Islands