This 8-day safari combines two of the most incredible and off-the-beaten-path wildlife destinations in Tanzania to leave you with indelible memories and plenty of stories.
The journey begins at Chada Katavi Camp in western Tanzania’s Katavi National Park. This little-known and even less-visited gem offers tremendous big game sightings in a wilderness so primal it would seem as if you had stepped back in time to when the great herds roamed.
After your fill of elephants, buffalo and big cats, the experience moves to the unique Greystoke Mahale Camp, set on a golden beach next to Lake Tanganyika where close-up encounters with our closest animal relatives await. Trails in Mahale’s canopied forests take you to troops of habituated chimpanzees while your guides point out other primates, birds and butterflies along the way.
Suitable for second-time around safari visitors and those after a genuine safari adventure, this is a journey that will connect you to nature in a manner you have never experienced before.
- Remote & pristine locations
- Extraordinary safari accommodation
- Unique savannah & jungle combination
- Big game viewing & chimpanzee encounters
- Excellent guides & service
- Optional fly-camping safari
Type of Accommodation
Tanzania Mahale, Katavi
- 3 nights at Chada Katavi
- 4 nights at Greystoke Mahale
Day to day itinerary
Welcome to Tanzania
On arrival at Arusha Airport, transfer to a charter flight to Katavi National Park, located deep in off-radar western Tanzania.
A short game drive carries you to Chada Katavi Camp, your home for the next three nights. Arrive to welcoming smiles and an escort to your canvas suite, one of only six available in camp. After settling in, stroll over to the lounge tent for high tea and an introductory game drive.
From the outset, you will be in awe at the utter remoteness of Katavi. Largely free of any other vehicles, the plains roll out before you in endless golden vistas and support great numbers of animals, concentrated en masse in the enervating dry season. Your guide will be on the lookout for Katavi’s huge buffalo herds as they move across the landscape, a formidable sight as the light glints on countless horns and great slabs of muscle.
Kicking up dust that casts intense shadows in the lowering light, they move togther onwards, mindful of the coming night when predators lurk in the darkness.
Selecting a scenic spot, your guide pulls out a hamper packed with sundowner treats and chilled drinks. As the sun sinks toward the horizon, you raise a glass to the wildness and solitude of Katavi. Return to the lodge in the early evening, where candles and lanterns create a warm and cosy glow around the fireplace. After freshening up, sip cocktails in the library before a sumptuous three-course dinner.
Katavi comes to life
The day begins with tea or coffee delivered to your tent and a light breakfast before you set off on a game drive. Everything is crisp and clear in the cool air, dew sparkles on the grass and many animals are still active. Paw prints in the sand betray the passage of lions – still fresh.
Your guide points out details you may have missed: where a lion crouched down in the grass, where a youngster trotted past, and where the pride launched their ambush. As the heat haze begins to shimmer over Katavi’s plains, return to camp for a hearty brunch under shady trees.
Avoid the heat of the afternoon with a chilled drink and a book in the amply-stocked library, or indulge in an afternon siesta until the time comes when you venture out once more on an afternoon game drive to continue your search for big game, returning in the early evening via a spot-lit drive.
Settle into the rhythm of Katavi
Chada Katavi also has an optional activity for the extra adventurous: fly-camping. Set off from camp on foot in the company of your guide and an armed scout to follow game paths and trails, identify tracks and learn about medicinal plants, all the while breathing in the absolute freedom of walking in big game country.
As the afternoon turns to evening, instead of returning to camp, a ‘fly camp’ is set up for you, consisting of netted tents containing a comfortable bed roll, a hot water bucket shower and a dining table set next to a roaring fire below a dazzle of stars. A genuine safari highlight, nothing can quite compare to enjoying a three-course meal cooked on an open fire, a glass of chilled wine, and nothing but the wilds of Africa around you.
The magical mountains of Mahale
Bid farewell to Katavi as you fly to the shimmering expanse of Lake Tanganyika. The landscape below is dotted with an occasional village but the impression is mile after mile of uninhabited wilderness.
Finally even the small villages disappear and you descend to Mahale airstrip where a boat takes you on a 90-minute journey to Greystoke Mahale, your accommodation for the next four nights.
You will feel very much like an early explorer as the camp comes into view – a sweeping Crusoe-esque thatched structure set right on the beach with jungle-clad mountains rearing up behind it.
Step ashore and enter a castaway world, ringing with the sound of forest birds. The lodge and its six guest bandas are constructed from old sailing dhows, thatch and driftwood, blending seamlessly into the verdant environment.
Take off your shoes and allow your toes to sink into the sand, cast off the world behind and enter the spirit of this extraordinary place. With no roads in the vicinity, there are only animal paths and jungle trails to wander.
Nine species of primate inhabit this ancient forest but the chimpanzees that live here are the main attraction: trek into their territory with an experienced guide for an encounter that will hold you in spellbound fascination as our closest living relatives play, forage and behave in an all-too-familiar manner.
After the rigours of jungle trekking, climb aboard a dhow for a leisurely cruise on the lake where you can fish for your supper or simply laze on deck until the sun sinks.
As with all good things, the magical days at Mahale must finally come to an end. After a last walk on the beach, take the final journey back to the Mahale airstrip and a flight to Arusha.
As you fly over Tanzania’s forested peaks and open savannahs, reminisce on the extraordinary journey you have experienced. From teeming herds on wide open plains and the thrill of following the spoor of a pride of lions to the incredible connection you felt when meeting a chimpanzee’s probing gaze, each of these experiences is indelibly carved in your memory, which will perhaps compel you one day to return to Africa.
- 3 Nights at Chada Katavi on game package basis
- 4 Nights at Greystoke Mahale on full board basis
- Transfers as specified in the itinerary
- Activities as specified in the itinerary
- Park fees as specified in the itinerary
- International flights
- Airport taxes
- All meals and drinks not specified
- Tips and gratuities
- Items of a personal nature