Hippo Pool, Chada Katavi, Katavi National Park, Tanzania

Mahale and Katavi

Although Livingstone and Speke crossed western Tanzania over a hundred years ago, it still remains one of the most unexplored regions of Africa.

Bordering Lake Tanganyika, are two of the most inaccessible parks in the continent – Gombe Stream National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park. Here, you can see and hear chimpanzees screaming in the forests. Behind the mountains, and in complete contrast to Mahale, lies Katavi, the forgotten park, which is dry and arid but excellent for seeing lions.

Chimpanzee, Mahale National Park, Tanzania
Mahale National Park, Tanzania

Wild West: Katavi and Mahale

This unusual safari combines two of Tanzania’s remotest and least visited parks. Spot lions and buffalos on the floodplains of Katavi, before encountering chimpanzees on the forested slopes of the Mahale Mountains, within sight of Lake Tanganyika.

9 days

from £8,395 pp

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Chada Katavi £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Chada Katavi is in the heart of Katavi National Park, said to be one of Africa’s best wildlife experiences. Filling the floor of the Rukwa Valley – a minor fault of the western great rift – the park spans over a million acres. From the blue escarpments, rivers run down through Tamarind, Fig and Albida forests to feed large floodplains. From its elevated vantage point on a peninsula that rises out of the miombo woodland, the camp is perfectly positioned for panoramic views over the grasslands of the floodplain. Chada Katavi offers shared open 4x4s and a dedicated guide for every group, plus there’s the flexibility of activities, game drives and walking with an armed guide.

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Greystoke Mahale £££££

  • Tanzania
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

On a wide, golden beach along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, sheltered by the dense forests of the Mahale Mountains, stands the tiny sanctuary of Greystoke Mahale. This spectacular and isolated setting is home to the world’s largest known population of chimpanzees, with approximately 1000 individuals inhabiting the Mahale Mountains National Park – Greystoke Mahale is within hiking distance of the 60 strong M-group, one of the most habituated groups in the world. As a result, it is one of the world’s premier locations for observing and photographing these great apes.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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  • 01285 880 980

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