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Mahale Mountains and Katavi2017-11-03T01:10:27+00:00

Mahale Mountains and Katavi National Park

Reached by air from Arusha only by a lucky few, Mahale Mountains offers exclusive chimpanzee encounters while visitors to Katavi are assured of intimate big game experiences.

Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shores of expansive Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania’s extreme west and is named for the densely forested range within its borders. Due to its large size and incredible remoteness, a healthy chimpanzee population flourishes here, including a clan so habituated to human researchers it’s possible to observe them from very close quarters.

Katavi National Park is also in the country’s far west, and one of the most unspoilt wilderness areas in all of the country so much so that safaris often uncover more wildlife than people in the reserve. Comprised of grassy plains and dry woodland, birding in Katavi is exceptional and predators such as lion and hyena are quite frequently seen.

While both parks are isolated and as a result, expensive and tricky to visit, safaris in either are well worth the effort. Lodges and camps are few and far between, yet the ones that have managed to set up in these wildernesses are well-run, feature excellent guides and are extremely atmospheric.

Location

Mahale and Katavi Highlights

  • Pristine wildernesses far from the tourist trail
  • Mahale Mountains chimpanzees
  • Waterfalls and crystal clear Lake Tanganyika
  • Trekking and dhow cruises
  • Spectacular Katavi National Park
  • Untouched big game country
  • Amazing wildlife-viewing and photographic opportunities

When To Go

The weather in Tanzania’s west is quite similar to that found elsewhere in the country, with the ‘long dry’ season from June to October, and the ‘short dry’ from January and February. Thunderstorms are common March through to May.

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Mahale and Katavi Accommodation

The following are some of the lodges and tented camps that we recommend in the Mahale and Katavi region. For information on additional accommodation not featured, please contact us.

Featured Private Tanzania Sample Itineraries

The following itineraries are just some of the many experiences that we can design for you. All of our tours are private, independent and tailor-made to your personal travelling requirements. Please contact us to begin creating your personalised Tanzania experience.

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Tanzania Overview

Why Tanzania: Few places in the world can offer the immense diversity and quantity of game found in Tanzania, nor the ease of viewing it. Tanzania is also the arena for the great wildebeest and zebra migration and has some of Africa’s most stunning scenery.

Game Viewing: The best time to visit is November to May when the wildebeest herds amass on the Serengeti’s southern plains. Feb/Mar is when the herds are calving. The dry season (Jun to Sep) is the best time to visit Tarangire and the Selous.

Culture: With some 120 tribes, Tanzania is culturally very diverse, with peoples ranging from the Nilotic Maasai to Hadza bushmen, the Makonde (famous for their wood carvings) and Swahili-speaking coast-dwellers, some descended from Arabs.

Climate: Much of the Serengeti is over 5,000 ft so temperatures vary between 22°- 29°C. It is generally sunny and windy, with rain falling between Nov – May as isolated showers. The low-lying Rift Valley is much hotter (30°-35°C), while the coast is hot and humid. The Ngorongoro Highlands can be cool to cold at night.

Combine With: Kenya. Most visitors arrive via Nairobi in Kenya so it is easy to combine parks in the two countries. Kenya’s famous Masai Mara is an extension of the Serengeti and the wildebeest migration can be found here in September/October.

Getting There: You can fly via Johannesburg in South Africa then north to Nairobi in Kenya. Or fly via the Middle East to Nairobi. We can organise road transfers from there to Arusha, the “safari capital” of northern Tanzania; alternatively, you can fly into Kilimanjaro Airport.

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