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Remote Tanzania: Tango with Chimps

Safari tour package: A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Prices: $6500
Includes internal flights: Yes
Length of safari: 9 days
Best months: All year
Countries visited: Tanzania Tanzania
Parks visited: Katavi, Mahale Mountains
Activity level: Active - Hiking, horse riding
Safari type:
  • Birding
Highlights include: 4 nights on safari in Katavi National Park, remote and uncrowded but packed with game 3 nights in Mahale, trekking to view chimpanzees in the wild and relaxing on the shores of Lake Tanganyika Western Tanzania is truly remote, but for travelers looking to explore Africa away from the crowds and earn a few mind blowing hours with chimpanzees in the wild, this is just the ticket.

Wednesday Day 1: Arrive Arusha Arriving into Arusha’s Kilimanjaro airport in the late afternoon, you will be greeted upon arrival by our warm, friendly guides. You will be transferred to a nearby hotel to rest and relax after the long international flight. Enjoying a leisurely dinner, notice the sounds and smells of Africa all around you! Overnight Arusha

Thursday Day 2: Katavi Depart Arusha on an 8am shared charter flight to Katavi (Thursday Departure only). The flight is just over three hours with a rest stop at the airstrip in Tabora. Arrive in Katavi around noon, sweeping down towards the airstrip over the flood plain as the water birds erupt from the water and elephant scatter. After a short transfer to the lodge, enjoy lunch and a siesta before heading out on an early evening game drive. Enjoy sundowners around the camp fire and overnight at Katuma Bush Lodge.

Friday Day 3: Katavi Rising early, enjoy a light breakfast at the lodge before heading out on a morning game drive. Explore the flood plain where herds of elephant relax, or follow the resident Hyena and Lion near camp. Moving further from camp, explore the river area where you’ll find a high concentration of game including giraffe, hippo, zebra, buffalo and more. Return to camp for a hearty brunch and spend the afternoons relaxing in camp. After tea, you will venture out for your evening game drive, enjoying sundowners in the park and dinner and overnight back at camp.

Saturday Day 4: Katavi Today you will enjoy a full day game drive in Katavi National Park. With the full day to explore the park you will be able to drive to the far ends of the park, accompanied by a packed picnic lunch and sundowners. Return to camp for dinner and overnight.

Sunday Day 5: Katavi After a light breakfast, depart for a walking safari. A great way to appreciate the African bush from a different perspective, walk at a leisurely pace with an armed guide near the river. You will receive a thorough safety briefing. During the walk examine animal tracks, droppings, and the plants all around you. Return to the lodge for brunch and an afternoon at leisure.  After your evening game drive return to camp for a festive bush barbeque and enjoy your final night at Katuma Bush Lodge.

Monday Day 6: Katavi – Mahale After breakfast at the lodge, game drive to the airstrip for your mid-day flight from Katavi to Mahale. This short flights takes you up and over the Mahale Mountains and landing one of Africa’s most exciting airstrips at the edge of Lake Tanganyika. Enjoy a packed picnic lunch on the boat that will transfer you from the airstrip to camp, about a one and a half hour ride. Along the way pass small villages and fisherman until you enter the national park zone where you will no longer see people living.  Enjoy lunch at the lodge and a short afternoon forest walk with a guide, who will tell you about the various flora in the area, as well as wildlife such as the monkeys you’ll see in the treetops. Sundowners on the beach and overnight at the lodge.

Tuesday Day 7: Mahale This morning, wake to the sounds of the water lapping against the beach. After breakfast depart for your first trek to see the amazing chimpanzees in person! The scouts will have gone out a few hours before and will be in radio contact with your guide as to the location of the chimps.

While trekking in Mahale, the difficulty of the trek depends entirely on the location of the chimps. They could be as far away as a 4 hour trek, but usually will be less than that. If they are not visible from the existing paths, the scouts will assist in cutting temporary paths through the forest so you can access the chimps. The guide will carry extra water, snacks and first aid. All you will be expected to carry is one small bottle of water and your camera equipment.

Coming face to face with the chimpanzees, human’s closest relative, is a moving experience. You’ll notice how human like their movement is, including their actions in eating, caring for their young. Your guide will fill you in on the social dynamics and history of the particularly chimps you are seeing. You have exactly one hour to spend in the presence of the chimps, and must wear a medical mask to cover your nose and mouth during this time to prevent disease transmission. 
Spend the afternoon cooling off in the lake either from the beach or out on the camp’s dhow. The snorkeling and fishing are also fantastic in this area. After sundowners on the beach or in the boat, enjoy dinner and a restful night sleep.

Wednesday Day 8: Mahale This morning enjoy one more chimp trek in the morning followed by an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Thursday Day 9: Arusha After breakfast bid farewell to the Mahale team and enjoy a boat ride back to the airstrip for shared charter flight back to Arusha.

This safari is a rare opportunity to visit the home of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. In Rwanda, there are 7 ...

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