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The Katavi and Mahale safari

Discover outstanding game in the wild Katavi and chimpanzees in Mahale’s remote forests on the edge of Lake Tanganyika. This safari to Tanzania’s remote west must be one of the best wildlife and wilderness experiences in Africa.

  • Arusha
  • Katavi National Park
  • Lake Tanganyika
  • 8 days/7 nights

Highlights of Katavi and Mahale

The extreme wilderness conditions and wildlife we’ll encounter in Katavi are a stark contrast to the almost surreal forest encounters in Mahale.

  • staying in small and intimate safari camps
  • experience outstanding game in Africa’s top parks with diverse habitats and extreme wildlife experiences
  • Tanzanian wetlands and woodlands are home to leopard, zebra, elephant, lion and buffalo and large populations of hippo and crocodile. It’s also great for bird watching
  • Lake Tanganyika, (the second largest lake in the world) with gin clear waters which supports around 500 species of endemic cichlids
  • The Great Rift Valley mountains surround the lake. Chimpanzees also live in the Mahale Mountains National Park.

Both destinations share an extreme sense of uninhabited remoteness. Katavi is a 4 hour flight from Arusha and Mahale is a further 1 hour flight and 2 hours by dhow. So, we’re now 100 km from the nearest road!

Best time to go on safari in Tanzania’s wild west

  • July/August/September - best time to travel but also the busiest time of year in East Africa. Camps are small and available on a first come first served basis.  So book early. 
  • Katavi is closed between 19 December to 1st June for the rainy season.
  • Mahale is closed 3rd week March to end of May

Read the full itinerary here

ItineraryFrom $7427

Day 1 - Arusha

You're met on arrival at Arusha Airport for your scheduled flight transfer to Katavi and onward game drive to Chada Katavi Camp.

Day 2 - Katavi National Park

You're staying in one of Africa's best wildlife destinations! Dramatic and adventurous. Hippos and crocodiles in the rivers and more mammals than any other reserve in Tanzania... enjoy!

Day 3 - Katavi National Park

Your final day at Katavi. A day of game drives and walks with your professional guide and to reflect and feel privileged to be able to explore such a remote and uninhabited area of Africa..

Day 4 - Greystoke Mahale

Final game drive transfer to Katavi airstrip for your flight to Mahale. On arrival you'll hop onto a motorised dhow on Lake Tanganyika to camp.

Day 5 - Lake Tanganyika

Stay at Greystoke Mahale in one of their comfortable wooden bandas with views across the sandy beach. Stylish rustic interiors made from dhow timber. A true barefoot paradise.

Day 6 and 7 - Greystoke Mahale

Activities on a shared basis include: chimp trekking, forest walks, village visits, boat trips and deep water swimming in some of the cleanest waters in the world!

Day 8 - Return to Arusha

Boat transfer to the airstrip for your scheduled flight to Arusha (only on Monday and Thursday) to connect to your onward destination. We can help with your onward travel arrangements if you wish.

View full digital itinerary here
Useful info How to get thereWildlife

How to get there

Flights to Katavi and Mahale

Starting and ending in Arusha (also available from Dar-es-Salaam on request). We advise a night in Arusha before the start of the safari; this is not included in the price of the safari.


Best time for predators, Crocodiles and hippos in Katavi is during October and November, with the rains usually commencing mid-November.

Best for birds in Katavi is from late September through the rainy season. The best month for photography is in June when the Katavi skies are light.

Chimps are probably most difficult during in June and February when they tend to be quite high in the mountains; the best time to visit is during September/October/November when the chimps are usually in the foothills.

If you can be flexible plan a trip during October/November/December. Katavi’s low season rates run from November to camp closure in February. Low season in Mahale is during November/December - excluding Christmas and New Year period.

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