We will meet you on your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer you to your nearby hotel for dinner.
On day 2 of the Tanzanian safari we will transfer to Arusha Airport in the east by road and board an internal flight to Katavi in the west. We arrive for lunch and will stay at this camp for three nights.
We are straight into the activities after a relaxing afternoon at camp with a night drive into the bush.
After a hearty breakfast we will venture into Katavi National Park, a true untamed wilderness. This is Tanzania’s third largest national park, lying on a beautiful section of the Rift Valley that ultimately ends in Lake Rukwa. However, the main focus for game viewing is the Katuma River and associated seasonal lakes Katavi and Chada. In the rainy season these lakes attract a variety of animals and bird life including hippo, crocodile and water birds.
When the floodwaters retreat in the dry season Katavi really comes to life. It’s easy to spot wildlife in the national park at this time as there are few places for the animals to find drinking water – once we find these places, such as the Katuma Lake, we won’t need to look much further for hippo, elephant, giraffe, zebra and buffalo. Sometimes there can be around 4,000 elephants converging in one space at these times.
Enjoy drinks round the campfire after a fulfilling day in the wild documenting all we have seen and experienced.
Day five sees us travelling north west to the border of Mahale National Park. We travel by air and boat to our next destination, the beautiful Greystoke Mahale lakeside camp.
We will enjoy breakfast overlooking Lake Tanganyika and, when sightings of the local chimps have been confirmed, take a trek into the forest behind the camp to find them.
In Mahale the dry season starts in June, when the long rains have stopped, and goes through to October. At this time of year the temperatures increase and the skies are quite hazy, the lake has never been more appealing for a cooling dip. As the dry season progresses, the chimps are more usually found in the lower slopes due to their favourite fruits being found lower down.
We can enjoy a boat trip or take in some fishing, as well as a chimp trek into the forest and after all this, enjoy early evening sundowners on the headland rocks at the charming bar.
Another chimp trek is on the cards, followed by optional kayaking or snorkelling in the lake.
Mahale’s green season runs from November through to March and this time of year is a photographers dream. The forest offers varied viewing, although the forest is at its best, full of the colour of wildflowers, birds and butterflies. The lake is also clearest in these months with incredible views of the Congo beyond.
We enjoy our last night here with dinner overlooking the lake.
With picnic in hand we will depart from Greystoke after breakfast and take our boat back to Mahale Airstrip for the transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport where you will leave us for your onward flights.
Onsea House Country Inn and Guest Cottage is a true oasis only 30 minutes from Kilimanjaro Airport and just a few minutes from the heart of Arusha.
This boutique hotel situated on Namasi Hill will leave you feeling relaxed and at home. Onsea is owned and managed by delightful Belgian couple Dirk and Inneke. Fine french brasserie style dining awaits you from Michelin trained chef Axel Janssens. At Onsea you really are spoilt for choice; laze by the pool in the African sun, enjoy the lawn bar and banda, or unwind in the hippo pool jacuzzi. Relaxing massages and aromatherapy can be arranged for an additional cost.
The manicured palm garden provides unparalleled views across the Maasai steppe, the Monduli Mountains and the unrivalled spectacle of Mount Meru. If you are staying for a longer period of time you can indulge in the many activities that Onsea has to offer, including hiking, bird watching, ballooning, mountain biking, canoeing and horse riding.
Chada Katavi is a secluded camp off the beaten track. It has six safari tents surrounded by bush, allowing you to feel particularly close to nature.
The camp tents rest beneath shady trees on the edge of the Chada Plain. Each tent has an en suite bathroom accessed through a zipped flap and has eco-flush toilets. Bucket showers help to conserve water in the area and also add to the authentic safari experience. The dining tent and library are inviting settings, as are the open spaces between tents. Nightly campfires are a signature here at Chada Katavi.
Undisturbed bush will entice you to explore the local area on foot (with a good pair of boots) and often you don’t even need to leave the camp to experience animal sightings. However, night drives, boat trips and fishing are all highly recommended. Guides and armed scouts will escort guests to nearby rivers and water holes to find elephants, crocodiles, hippos and a range of bird life. An incredible option is to go ‘flycamping’ whilst staying here – sleep out under the African stars and receive a three course candlelit meal and a glass of wine.
Greystoke Mahale brings a touch of luxury to the plains of west Tanzania. Standing on the shore of Lake Tanganyika and flanked by a tall forest on the Mahale Mountains, this is the ideal spot to take in the diversity of the region. It is also home to one of the largest remaining communities of chimpanzees in the world.
Built largely from the reclaimed wood of old canoes and dhows, as well as thatch from the local palm trees, Greystoke’s six sustainable rooms sit unobtrusively at the edge of a forest. Guests have a clear view of the lake from each. The main mess allows guests to look out over the lake and to the Congo mountains in the distance; this is also where you can start your day, eat breakfast and wait to hear news of the chimps. A lamp-lit bar on the headland rocks serves as the perfect place for sundowners in the evenings.
From Greystoke Mahale guests can hike up into the mountains, take a dip in the refreshing rock pools underneath picturesque waterfalls or take a kayak out for a dawn paddle towards the centre of the lake. The main attractions though, are the chimpanzee families living in the area; tracking and watching the incredible interactions between chimps young and old is often the highlight of a stay at Greystoke.