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Chimp Trekking in the Mahale Mountains

An incredible off the beaten track adventure incorporating boating, swimming, and trekking into verdant mountains to visit habituated chimp families. Top it off with a wild safari experience in Katavi.

Safari tour package: A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Prices: $8000 - $12000
Includes internal flights: Yes
Length of safari: 12 days
Best months: July - October
Countries visited: Tanzania Tanzania
Parks visited: Katavi, Mahale Mountains
Activity level: Very Active - Trekking, mountain biking, kayaking
Safari type:
  • Birding
  • Boating
This is your kind of safari if you want to: ◾Travel to the remarkably remote and lush mountains of Western Tanzania ◾Experience chimp families in their natural habitats ◾Get active and go hiking in the mountains, or boating / swimming in the lake ◾Enjoy game viewing in the really wild and remote Katavi NP ◾Have a real sense of adventure, far away from civilization The Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the most magical and remote places in Tanzania. Inaccessible by road, a visit to this incredible place is best enjoyed as part of an itinerary combining some of the more remote areas of Tanzania. Mahale is one of the most exclusive destinations for viewing some of the world’s most fascinating and intelligent creatures: chimpanzees. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness chimps in their natural environment comes at a price however. For many though, an experience of this magnitude is worth every cent. In addition, the geography of this beautiful area on the shores of the lake is an experience in itself. Once you've been awed by the chimps, travel to the unique Katavi NP for a rarely experienced safari adventure in a much lesser known and very wild part of Tanzania. This safari can only be booked from July to the end of October (dry season) and due to flight schedules, departures are only on Mondays or Fridays from Arusha. It also comes with a high price tag due to logistical complications, but if you are into adventure it could be very much worth it.

Day 1, 2 & 3 Flight Arusha - Mahale Mountains - Chimpanzee tracking - Greystoke Mahale

This morning you will be driven to Arusha Airport to catch your flight to Mahale Mountains. On arrival, a guide from Greystoke Mahale will take you by boat from the airstrip to the National Park. It takes around one hour to get to the camp which is located on the shore of Lake Tanganyika.

During your stay in Mahale Mountains NP, you will go chimpanzee tracking every day (apart from the days you arrive and leave). The main purpose of a visit to this remote area is to encounter and observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Mahale Mountains is home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees: one group of approximately 800 chimpanzees are habituated, allowing close observation. Smaller and larger groups of these chimps are spread over a huge area. You will be guided by a tracker/ranger of the park in the mornings and it usually takes 1-2 hours to find the chimps.

The terrain is steep, passing through diverse forest fauna and can be quite demanding as, naturally, the animals do not always remain in the same place. More than 90% of clients to Mahale have seen chimps, so your chances of success are very good. You can stay one to two hours with the apes, depending on how many visitors there are on each day. The ranger/tracker decides when it is time to return to the camp. The best time to meet the animals is during a rest period, which they normally spend on the ground. When hiking and climbing in the forest you can also see beautiful plants, other monkeys, small mammals and birds. In the afternoons simply relax in this green, completely undisturbed environment.

Day 4, 5, 6,  Flight to Katavi - Game drives Katavi National Park – Chada Katavi

Today the boat takes you back to the airstrip of Mahale Mountains National Park, where you will catch your flight to Katavi National Park. On arrival you will be met and driven to Chada Katavi  for lunch. You can choose between full day game drives with picnic lunch or morning and afternoon drives with lunch at the camp.

Katavi is the most remote and inaccessible of the Tanzanian national parks, which is what makes it so special. Here, nature is completely undisturbed and the fauna is amazing. Typical pictures of Katavi show big herds of buffaloes, zebras and topis, ponds with hippos and crocodiles and elephants in small families. Roan and Sable antelope are the highlights of the park. You can see lions and with a bit of luck, leopards, as well as rare sightings of wild dogs. Game driving in Katavi is all about discovery, even for experienced driver guides. The tranquil atmosphere in the camp and the animal sounds at night top off your stay in this pristine wilderness.

Day 7 Flight Katavi - Arusha
Today you will fly back to Arusha. This is where your safari ends!

Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.

  • Greystoke Mahale
  • Chada Katavi
Swimming near Greystoke Mahale
Swimming near Greystoke Mahale by Planet Africa Safaris
Chimp in Mahale Mountains
Chimp in Mahale Mountains by Planet Africa Safaris
Katavi crocodiles piling up!
Katavi crocodiles piling up! by Planet Africa Safaris
Boating in Mahale Mountains
Boating in Mahale Mountains by Planet Africa Safaris
Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains
Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains by Planet Africa Safaris

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Shortlisted tour operators: Operators: 1 You can shortlist up to 10 tour operators Up to 10 operators