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Western Tanzania Safari & Chimpanzees

This itinerary is simply an indication of what is possible - all our tours are fully customised and our travel experts will personally tailor your itinerary based on your preferences, travel dates and budget.

Katavi National Park - Mahale Mountains National Park

For the intrepid safari-goer and adventurer seeking something very different, Western Tanzania offers just that. Katavi National Park is one of the undiscovered gems of the continent – it’s large and wild, and seeing as it’s relatively unexplored, it offers a unique African safari hideaway. Mahale Mountains National Park, bordering mystical Lake Tanganyika, is quite simply stunning and because it’s one of the best places to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat, it’s even more special.

Remote and wild Katavi National Park
Exclusive fly-in safari in Tanzania
Explore amazing Lake Tanganyika
See chimpanzees in their natural habitat

Day 1: Arriving at Katavi National Park

Depart Arusha airport this morning on a 3.5 hour flight to Western Tanzania (this includes pick-ups/drop-offs and a short fuel stop). You’ll be met by a guide on arrival at Katavi National Park who will drive you to your lodge for your four night stay. Enjoy a picnic lunch and some game-viewing en route.

Day 2-4: Explore Katavi

Head out into wildest Katavi, potentially spotting everything from herds of buffalo to elephants, big cats and other plains game. Follow the river to see the podsof hippos that congregate in the pools and mud holes, as well as plenty of crocodiles. You will also get the opportunity to enjoy a walk along the edge of the plains. Exploring on foot always gives you a different perspective and often allows you to appreciate the smaller things.

Katavi National Park is a remote safari location but the effort taken to reach Tanzania's third largest park will be repaid many times over. Established in 1974, it’s a truly special place where you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled back in time thousands of years. The secluded location is less frequently visited than other parks in East Africa, leaving it almost completely unchanged and unspoilt.

Recommended Accommodation

Katuma Bush Lodge

Designed for subtlety, this bush lodge off-the-tourist-beaten-track is in a remote part of Katavi where the animals are curious and unfamilar with human contact. A must visit if you're looking for an extraordinary safari.

Day 5: Head to Lake Tanganyika

Depart camp for a short (one hour) flight to Mahale. Once back on land, you’ll hop aboard a dhow which will take you down the lake to your lodge accommodation (it’s about an hour and a half boat ride with lunch enjoyed along the way). The lodge team will orientate you around the camp and explain all the details about the chimpanzee trekking. The afternoon is to be used at your leisure by going fishing, enjoying a short forest walk, or relaxing on the beach.

Lake Tanganyika is a true marvel as the world's longest, second largest and second deepest freshwater lake in the world. This mammoth body of water spans four countries: Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia, with Tanzania possessing 46% along its north-west border. It’s a wonder that won’t soon be forgotten.
Recommended Accommodation

Kungwe Beach Lodge

Safari rooms at the edge of the cooling forest canopy of the Mahale Mountains, overlooking African's greatest lake and a remote stretch of golden beach. This is romance.

Day 6-7: Chimpanzee trekking in the Mahale Mountains National Park

This is your chance to go trekking and to see some fascinating, noisy, curious and of course, intelligent, chimps – the stuff of which bucket-lists are made. You’ll depart in the morning from camp and head up into the forest in search of man's closest relatives. Afternoons can be spent fishing, on dhow trips on the lake, or relaxing at camp.

Mahale Mountain National Park sits at the centre of the eastern shore of the lake and is proudly home to one of the last populations of wild chimpanzees in Africa. These chimps, although in their natural habitat, were habituated to visitors by a Japanese research project in the 1960s. The dry season provides the best time of year to witness the chimps in large groups, but the park is accessible all year round.

Day 8: Return to Arusha

Depart by dhow in time for your lunch-time flight back to Arusha. You’ll arrive in the late afternoon.

Excellent - June, July, August, September, October
Good - November, December, January, February
Poor - March, April, May

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