Katavi & Mahale - which camps?

Reply

Nov 30th, 2009, 01:15 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Katavi & Mahale - which camps?

I am starting to plan our next trip to Tanzania which will be in August, 2011. We will be going to Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale. I have pretty well decided on staying at Mwagusi in Ruaha unless anyone out there can give me another suggestion. I am looking at either Chada or Katuma Bush Lodge in Katavi and Nkungwe or Greystoke in Mahale. I know there is a price difference (especially with Greystoke) and need any info, as I have already read everything posted about them on this forum. I was looking at Flycatcher camps at one time, but I can't seem to find enough info about the camps and they don't answer their e-mails, so I have pretty well written them off.
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 30th, 2009, 02:38 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 44
I have stayed at Chada and Greystoke and both were absolutely fabulous. I dont know anything about Katuma but the pro's of doing Greystoke and Katavi together are that they are sister camps, you probably have some of the same in the group doing the same rotation and transportation can be seamless. Chada is smaller, intimate and very relaxing. Certainly not over the top but a very mellow relaxing camp with excellent guides and the wildlife in August should be great. Greystoke is every bit worth the experience. The other camps in the area are fine but Nothing compares to the Greystoke accomodations and experience. I would not hesitate to return to Greystoke for its staff and facilities. Pricey yes---but when you are that remote its worth the extra spend. Their guides are the ones who's radios are tapped by the other camps to locate the chimps. Its a terrific contrast with Katavi. Make sure you go boating on the coast at Greystoke on their old wooden boat---its remarkable and so is the coast. You've picked some great remote locations and you won't go wrong! Best of Luck.
MONYLINE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 30th, 2009, 04:50 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
"Pricey yes---but when you are that remote its worth the extra spend. Their guides are the ones who's radios are tapped by the other camps to locate the chimps."

That is an advantage.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 1st, 2009, 01:56 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 88
What a lovely trip. Mwagusi is still my favorite camp in the Ruaha – though you should check the guide situation closer to the time as guiding can be a bit hit and miss depending on whether Chris is in camp and who he has hired recently. In Katavi I would also look at the Foxes camp - http://www.tanzaniasafaris.info/Katavi/intro.htm - which personally i prefer over Chada and is somewhat cheaper. For Mahale you can not go wrong with Greystoke
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 3rd, 2009, 08:24 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
We stayed at the Mbali Mbali camps, Katuma in Katavi and Kungwe in Mahale. Each camp was well-run with expert guides and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either one. Kungwe's main "chimp guide" Sixtus was exceptional! Their camp is located between the Flycatcher and Greystoke camps and their strategy is to be the last visitors with the chimps because of the one-hour time limit; with no one waiting in line behind you, you will probably get more than one hour. When we were there in September, the chimps came into camp twice and guests from the other camps were coming to Kungwe to see them.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 3rd, 2009, 04:12 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Interesting tidbits ShayTay. Very helpful!
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 3rd, 2009, 07:36 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
ShayTay, I was looking at a posting you made in April saying that you were going to be staying in Authentic Tanzania's "Authentic Camp" in Ruaha. Could you please tell me what it was like. Great info about Katuma and Kungwe Beach Lodge.
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2009, 09:14 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
This was AT's first foray into this type of seasonal camp. The location was great, as was the small size of the camp, but they have some operational issues that they need to address. There were no charging points at the camp, something that we were not aware of in advance. It turns out that they had the equipment on order from South Africa, but it hadn't arrived, yet. One of the camp staff took my batteries over to the ranger station and stayed with them until they were charged up. There was nothing to drink at the camp except for Coke, Sprite and bottled water. This was apparently a miscommunication between AT's management and the guide, who was supposed to have told us that and let us shop in Iringa for wine, G&Ts, etc. I addressed these and other issues with David Barker and I think that they will have all the wrinkles worked out by next season. AT was supposed to have had a similar camp in Mikumi, but when they arrived in August to set it up, the park management decided not to let them in, even though they had booked it well in advance. AT really had to scramble to get alternative lodging, which they did at their expense. We stayed at Vuma Hills Camp, which was nice. I really enjoyed Mikumi (lots of eles, good waterhole viewing, etc.) and would recommend it for those travelers who might want to travel by road from Dar through Mikumi to Ruaha. I always enjoy going through the countryside and seeing the villages, farmland, and the everyday life going on around us. We even passed by what appeared to be a Masai funeral procession.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2009, 05:38 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Shaytay, did they refund any money on the AT Ruaha camp since, presumably, you had prepaid for services you didn't receive?
LAleslie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2009, 06:37 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
LAleslie, I wouldn't say that we didn't receive any prepaid services. It was just that they had to do some work-arounds, such as for charging the batteries. Drinks weren't part of the included price and we managed to get a few bottles from the store at the ranger station.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2009, 11:21 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Phew, that's good. Go on safari without wine, the horror!
LAleslie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2009, 06:53 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
... or G&Ts. Sundowner didn't care much for the G&S (Gin and Sprite.) The tonic finally arrived our last night.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 5th, 2009, 09:14 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
ShayTay, what were the tents like at the Ruaha camp? We plan to spend four nights there and want to be comfortable. I can't imagine a safari without gin & tonic, with lime even better!
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 7th, 2009, 08:21 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Raelond, the tent setups were fine. Here is a link to some photos:
http://www.authentictanzania.com/aut...rnesscamps.htm
The "stretcher beds" are cots with a small mattress on top. I personally could have used a bit more padding, but I have back problems. None of the other travelers mentioned having any problems with them. If you'd like to contact me directly about any issues, you can e-mail me at divedive99 at aol.com. Then, you can contact David Barker at AT directly and confirm that any problems we may have experienced have been corrected.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 8th, 2009, 03:21 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Ah, yes, G&Ts, a fine tradition on safaris everywhere...
LAleslie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 9th, 2009, 07:24 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
LAleslie I think I read that you used Expert Africa for your Southern Tanzania trip. How did you find their pricing compared to other companies? I, like you have been to Botswana (2006) and am going to Egypt this March.
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2009, 06:06 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Raelond,
Their prices were excellent. In fact, we had another England-based agency price out the same itinerary. Their quote was considerably higher. When we quoted them EA's price (without naming the agency) they couldn't believe it. They worked for days trying to bring down their price to match, but couldn't. They kept insisting we must have been getting some special insider's rate. We didn't.
I was impressed with two things about EA: one, they never suggest a place they haven't been. (We assumed English agencies know this area of Africa better than American ones.) Two, EA agents don't work on commission. Ellie, our contact, really seemed to know her stuff. And their Web site is highly detailed. But the proof is in the pudding, so we'll see when we get there.
LAleslie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2009, 12:07 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 88
As an England based Tanzania specialist i would agree that UK tour operators tend to know their stuff backwards, and certainly in this market, most of us are charging less than rack rate – so the price that you would pay would be less than that of booking with the lodges direct. In the UK there are 3 main players in Tanzania – Expert Africa, Tanzania Odyssey and Africa Travel Resource
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 14th, 2009, 06:03 PM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
I am now considering adding a few days in Selous or Tarrangire. Which park would compliment Katavi and Ruaha?
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 15th, 2009, 12:58 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 88
Personally i would recommend the Selous - much easier to combine with ruaha / Katavi as it is effectively a stop off on the way back to Dar. As well as walking it will also offer you boat safaris which you would not get in Tarangire.
I would look at Lake Manze tented camp (about $400 pp pn) or Selous Safari Camp (about $600 pp pn)
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:55 AM.