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Katavi, Tanzania

Wild West: Katavi and Mahale



9 Days

Prices Start from

$9,271 ex. flights

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.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Chimpanzee, Mahale National Park, Tanzania 1

Chimp Trekking

Encounter a family of wild chimps, spending time watching them interact.

Sundowners, Chada Katavi, Katavi National Park 2

Fly Camping

Sleep out in the wilderness of Katavi, under a star-filled sky.

Picnic on the Dhow, Greystoke Mahale, Mahale National Park, Tanzania 3

Sundowner Dhow

Float on Lake Tanganyika as the sun sets, with a drink in hand.

Katavi, Tanzania 4

Lions Hunting

Watch lions stalking buffalos on Katavi’s grassy plains.

Why we like it

This is the trip for those who have been to the Serengeti, Ruaha and Selous. These parks show a different side of Tanzania – one that can be challenging but also immensely rewarding. It is the unpredictability and untamed nature of these parks – not always positive traits – that makes them so appealing.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
    Arusha - Katavi National Park
  • Days 3-5
    Katavi National Park
  • Day 6
    Katavi National Park - Mahale National Park
  • Days 7-8
    Mahale National Park
  • Day 9
    Mahale National Park - Arusha
Game drive with hippos, Chada Katavi, Katavi National Park
Chada Katavi, Katavi National Park, Tanzania

Katavi Safari

Fly from Arusha to the incredibly remote Katavi National Park. One of East Africa’s least explored parks, Katavi is dominated by floodplains, the meandering Katuma River and acacia woodlands.

This beautiful ecosystem is home to healthy populations of zebras, buffaloes, wildebeests and elephants, as well as numerous predators. These include cheetahs, lions, hyenas and leopards. Wild dogs are also said to roam the park.

Fly camping, Chada Katavi, Katavi, Tanzania
Katavi, Tanzania

Fly Camping

As well as driving and walking, have the option to fly camp – something that makes an already wild park feel even wilder.

Set out into this wilderness in the late afternoon, hiking across the grassy plains. Arrive at the preprepared fly camp just before sunset, in the golden light of dusk. After a meal cooked over an open fire, lie down beneath a mosquito net, with the sounds of the bush surrounding you as darkness descends.

chimp, Mahale, Tanzania
Mahale National Park, Tanzania

Chimpanzee Trekking

Get close to one of the last populations of wild chimps in Tanzania, which survive on the thickly forested slopes of Mahale Mountains National Park. Trek in search of these primates, observing their behaviour and photographing them.

Greystoke Mahale is within hiking distance of the 60 strong M-group, one of the most habituated groups on the continent. As a result, the experience here is remarkable. However, it is a privilege you have to earn, thanks to the park’s remote location and the tough nature of the trekking.

View from Lake, Greystoke Mahale, Mahale National Park, Tanzania
Greystoke Mahale, Mahale National Park, Tanzania

Lake Tanganyika

Mahale Mountains National Park is set against the emerald waters of Lake Tanganyika. Stay between lake and forest, in the rustic Greystoke Mahale. After the strenuous trekking, spend time here relaxing in front of the lake.

Explore the lake by kayak or set out in the traditional dhow at sunset, with drinks and snacks to accompany the spectacular views.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

El Karama £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari Lodge

El Karama – meaning ‘treasured possession’ in Swahili – is a small, family-run lodge with a reputation for great, home-produced food and impeccable sustainable travel credentials. Murray and Sophie live on-site with their two young children and provide one of the most heartfelt safaris in Kenya. Located in a wildlife sanctuary on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the lodge sits on 14,000 acres of private land and is still a working cattle ranch. Encounters with lions, leopards, elephant and buffalos are thrilling, particularly at night during the famous sleep-outs in their specially designed hammocks. The handful of stone and thatch bungalows are homely and comfortable, whilst the hobbit-like family cottages, are quirky and fun.

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One&Only Gorilla’s Nest £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is located at the base of the Virunga Mountains, just 20 minutes from where gorilla treks begin. Surrounded by eucalyptus forest, it is spread across fertile grounds, rich with volcanic soil.

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Singita Kwitonda £££££

  • Rwanda
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Looking out towards the volcanic peaks of Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, this stylish lodge is encircled by indigenous forests. Built from a mixture of light woods and volcanic stone, Singita Kwitonda makes the most of these beautiful views, with enormous glass windows featuring throughout the rooms and communal areas. Indoor and outdoor fireplaces keep the chill of the mountain air at bay.

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Meroe Permanent Tented Camp £££££

  • Sudan
  • Tented Camps

Sitting three kilometres away from the Royal Necropolis, the Meroe Camp is located in the small village of Bagarwiya and offers beautiful sunset views of the nearby pyramids.  

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Nubian Rest House £££££

  • Sudan
  • Boutique

Incorporating local architecture and influenced by Nubian styles, this charming small hotel is surrounded by carefully cultivated gardens. Its weather-worn and ornate Nubian door presents an intriguing welcome for arriving guests.

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Lemuria Resort £££££

  • Seychelles

Lemuria is a 5-star luxury resort with its own golf course. The first of its kind, it enjoys the idyllic location on the Northwest coast of the island. Surrounded by luxuriant and rare vegetation, washed by the warm waters of the calm lagoon, the hotel lies shaded by the prevailing winds. The sea with its many hues of turquoise, the fresh green hinterland and the three, secluded white sand beaches all combine to make it a truly exceptional site. The main building lies on the slopes of a hill, overlooking the beaches and the greenery. The majestic simplicity of the hotel buildings incites respect and awe.

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White Pearl Resorts £££££

  • Mozambique
  • Beach and Island Escapes

White Pearl Resorts is on the south-east coast of Mozambique, just north of the South Africa/Mozambique border. This beachside escape is nestled in a sheltered white-sand bay. The 21 stylish white suites have private plunge pools, both indoor and outdoor showers, 24-hour butler service and in-suite dining is available.

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The Delight £££££

  • Namibia
  • City
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

Bright and modern, this colourful hotel is positioned in central Swakopmund, only a short distance from the main beach area, known as the ‘Mole’. The cheerful interior is matched by the friendly service, with staff only too eager to help. There are 54 rooms, with 10 of these designated as family rooms. All rooms are bright and spacious, with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning and heating. The family rooms are loft rooms, split on to two levels, with twin beds on both.

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Masoala Forest Lodge £££££

  • Madagascar
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Masoala Forest Lodge is a tented camp in Parc National Masoala, in a secluded sandy cove, surrounded by forests full of wildlife. Offering the best of both worlds, the handful of palm-thatched treehouses sit on raised wooden platforms, not only creating privacy but a cool, shady spot to take in the sea views in the shadow of the forest. Solar lighting, local materials used for the building and clever use of the rainwater in naturally cooling the rooms, is a nod to the lodges green credentials.

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Kicheche Laikipia Camp £££££

  • Kenya
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge
  • Tented Camps

Kicheche Laikipia is an intimate and classic camp in the heart of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, overlooking an active waterhole and the friendly staff and excellent guides make this camp a firm favourite. The camp consists of six custom-designed tents, comfortable and simply furnished, with en-suite bathrooms and hot showers. There are comfortable chairs on each veranda overlooking the waterhole and the main mess areas are cosy and welcoming with dining often al-fresco.

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchase through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From $9,271 Per person

When to travel

Tanzania in January

Generally, most places are quite humid and wet, although the north around the Serengeti can experience a brief dry season. This makes it a much quieter time to visit and see rhinos.

Tanzania in February

It remains a good time to head to the Serengeti and the north as it experiences a brief dry season.It is also one of the driest months in Zanzibar, so a great chances to spend some time on the quiet beaches.

Tanzania in March

The start of the long rainy season, as humidity builds. Some lodges close and roads can become impassable. The landscapes are lush but it makes wildlife harder to spot.

Tanzania in April

The wettest month, with uncomfortably high levels of humidity, so we advise against travel at this time.

Tanzania in May

The rain continues with uncomfortably high levels of humidity, so we advise against travel at this time.

Tanzania in June

The start of the dry season and one of the best months to visit. Clear skies dominate despite the lush landscapes, and it is a fantastic time to see thousands of wildebeest migrate in the Serengeti.

Tanzania in July

The driest and coolest month across the country. A popular time to travel, so heading to the south and west of the country is a good option. You can see all the wildlife that you can get in the northern parks but also chimpanzees.

Tanzania in August

Peak season, as the land dries up and makes spotting wildlife much easier. Spot elephants in Tarangire, or relax on the pristine white sandy beaches of Zanzibar. Just make sure to book well ahead as this is the busiest time of year.

Tanzania in September

After the European school holidays are finished, it is quieter. The great weather remains though, with less mosquitoes around too due to the low humidity. The water visibility improves and you can enjoy diving and snorkelling too.

Tanzania in October

Temperatures rise a little, as does the chance of a shower or two. The landscape is at its driest before the start of the rainy season, creating fantastic opportunities to see elephants in the sun-baked open plains.

Tanzania in November

A quiet time of year as the short rainy season starts. The rains are usually overnight but it can rain in the day too. Plenty of game can still be spotted in the Serengeti, but if you are searching for drier weather it is a good time to head south to the Selous.

Tanzania in December

The short rainy season continues throughout much of the country, but there is still plenty of game viewing in the Serengeti and it is peak season in Zanzibar. It can get very busy over the festive season so it is worth booking in advance.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?

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