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Katavi and Mahale Trip Report 21st to 28th August 2007

Katavi and Mahale Trip Report 21st to 28th August 2007

Oct 1st, 2007, 02:40 AM
Posts: n/a
Katavi and Mahale Trip Report 21st to 28th August 2007

So why did we go to Katavi and Mahale, the chief reasons were what was said on tour operators web sites and in travel groups.

OK they are a long way from Arusha or anywhere else, and the flights are extremely expensive.

You are told that there is limited access to flights and limited accommodation at both of these parks.

None of these statements turns out to be the entire truth.

You can fly directly to both Katavi and Mahale you do not need to visit one before the other or use a whole seven days split between the two camps. Although if you do decide to go given the distances and prices of flights 7 days would seem reasonable

Katavi has a lot more than the one camp, which is generally offered. Chad is the oldest camp and is run by Nomad Safaris. This camp is situated by the plains of “Lake Chada”; this lake is in fact not a lake but a seasonal flood plain. We saw no evidence of an abundance of crocodiles there only very vicious Tsetse flies, given the fact that this is an expensive camp it is strange that the tents are on the ground and the toilet and bucket shower are separate from the tent.

There are two further camps near the airstrip, Flycatchers have a very basic camp which is seasonal, it is situated near the Kaduma River this is a reasonably cheap option. Almost opposite is Katavi Wilderness which is run by Fox Safaris, this has six tents and looked to be the next step up from basic. The camp at which we stayed was Kaduma Katavi which is run by Chimpanzee Safaris, this turned out to quite luxurious, with proper showers and toilet en-suite.

Having gone all of this way you discover that Katavi is vast with much of the usual game from East Africa, the Zebras are supposed to be unique. When we were there we saw 21 different lions and saw at least one of them on each game drive, there are also reasonably large amounts of Elephants, Topi and other plains game, and leopard was seen by other visitors during our stay. There are masses of hippos and crocs, the hippos in particular were mainly gathered in the drying pools in concentrations unheard of in South Luangwa.

We spent an interesting 4 days there apart from our visit to Chada Plains when we saw no animals only Tsetse.

The park is interesting but not essential.


Once again despite rumours to the contrary there are at least 3 camps in the park, strangely enough they are run by Nomad, Chimpanzee Safaris and Flycatchers.
From what we could see from the boat traveling from the airstrip Flycatchers seems to be a basic camp and Greystoke seemed similar to Nkungwe where we stayed.
Here of course you come for the chimps, treks are usually limited to the mornings, and they can be extremely hard work unless you are reasonably fit. Photographers should note that is very dark in the forest, and you will need a fast lens to get good photos.
We saw chimps on two out of three treks unfortunately the second was completely ruined by the presence of a group on non-paying visitors (Camp Designer, photographer and girlfriend) who continually got in the way at photo opportunities and never stopped talking. Afternoons can be spent fishing snorkeling or cruising on boats, Mahale is definitely a one trick pony!

Was it worth it YES, would we go again NO!

Anybody entertaining the idea of doing this trip should do a lot of research, especially asking what is offered and how much it costs. We would also recommend asking for prices of drinks at each camp as these vary widely and can be extortionate.

Finally TANAPA will be shortly introducing limitations on Chimpanzee trekking, and charging for a permit. We are told that only 3 groups of 6 plus guide and tracker will be allowed at any one time, how this is going to work is unclear as the 3 camps currently have around 50 beds. The cost of the permit is proposed to be $50 per trek per person.

Good Luck!
Oct 1st, 2007, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Hi Sniktawk,

Thanks for your report, as always. Sounds like you had another good safari.

Was wondering where you were, since you didn't respond to a couple interesting threads in recent weeks ....... it definitely is more interesting, being on safari vs talking about one, on this website.

HariS is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 06:52 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Sniktawk: welcome back. Were drinks and activities extra at Nkungwe? At Greystoke they are all included, as they should be at the very high rate.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Drinks were extra at Nkungwe, and more expensive than their sister camp at Katavi.
Oct 1st, 2007, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 108
I was really interested to read this, as I looked at booking to go to the Chimpazee Safaris camps at Katavi, Mahale and Gombe Stream this coming Christmas.

In the end we decided that the restrictions they imposed, coupled with the much greater cost, made it not do-able for us - so we return to the Northern circuit instead.
Wingi is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thanks for your perspective on these locations. I am sure the chimps were awesome. How terrible you had to endure a threesome that did not appreciate the privilege they were given. Glad it was worth it overall. And with the Mara, those are some outstanding locations.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 07:31 PM
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If you would like to try thes areas,please have a look at Flycatchers.
Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 108
Thanks, sniktawk, I will have a closer look at that site when I have more time - no time tonight!

Chimpanzee Safaris quoted for us and told us to contact a company in England - World Primate safaris - as they would be able to give us a cheaper price. It was cheaper, but still very expensive!

I don't really understand how they could offer it cheaper tahn the owning company.
Wingi is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 11:20 AM
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There was a problem with your e-mail last week. Don't know if it's already solved or not.


Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:10 PM
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Another puzzling aspect of Africa rears it's head, unbelievable


Yes my email box is limited it is now emptied and working again.
Oct 3rd, 2007, 02:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Many thanks for your report, especially on accommodation options, game viewing and the change to permits.

Very useful!

Any photos?
Kavey is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:29 AM
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My ohotos are now available on


in Arusha/Katavi and Mahale galleries
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