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Travel Tips

Lake Chala

Lake Chala

Lake Chala is a unique caldera lake, and is thought to be the deepest inland body of water in Africa. This lake is fed by underground springs from Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Lake Chala

The lake has a great diversity of life. From lush lake shore forest to stunning volcanic savannah; from river beds marvelously carved through ancient rock, to thick bush or open ‘mbuga’. Walking at Lake Chala is a magical experience that will put you back in touch with nature.

The lake is fed by groundwater flows, which come from Mount Kilimanjaro, fed and drained underground with a rate of about 10 million m³ / year. Depending on the time of year, it ranges in colour from deep blue to turquoise and green, it is surrounded by a 100 metres high crater rim.

Chala has a huge variety of amazing trees, grasses and plants; some are unique to the area. According to the time of year there are hundreds of species of butterflies and birds, including spectacular birds of prey. The African Fish Eagle, with its haunting techniques, Verreaux’s Eagle, Augur Buzzards and many other species of birds can be seen around the crater walls. Wild mammals do vary including Blue Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, baboons, dik-dik, kudu and elephant. Chala is an untouched part of a truly ancient land and a must visit place.

Activities at this lake: walking safaris, canoeing, swimming and fishing.

Lake Natron

Lake Natron

Lake Natron

A soda lake at the base of the active Ol Donyo Lengai volcano, the area around Lake Natron is often described as having a desolate and almost lunar beauty. Lake Natron is found in the northern part of Tanzania. Nearest towns to Lake Natron are Arusha in Tanzania and Magadi in Kenya. It is the most important breeding site for Lesser Flamingos in the world.

East Africa has 1.5-2.5 million Lesser Flamingos, representing three-quarters of the world population and most of them are hatched at Lake Natron.  Food is plentiful, nesting sites abound – and above all, the lake is isolated and undisturbed.  The lake and its ecosystem provides a source of livelihoods to the local communities.

High levels of evaporation have left behind natron (sodium carbonate decahydrate) and trona (sodium sesquicarbonate dihydrate). The alkalinity of the lake can reach a pH of greater than 12. The surrounding bedrock is composed of alkaline, sodium-dominated trachyte lavas that were laid down during the Pleistocene period. The lavas have significant amounts of carbonate but very low calcium and magnesium levels. This has allowed the lake to concentrate into a caustic alkaline brine

Walks around the lake and to the streams and waterfalls along the nearby escarpment make for a fantastic adventure off the beaten track.

There are a number of campgrounds near the lake, which is also the base for climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai.

Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi National Park is set below the verdant slopes of the spectacular Usambara and Pare Eastern Arc Mountain Ranges and overseen by iconic snow – capped peak of Kilimanjaro, Mkomazi is a virgin breathtaking beauty exhibiting unique natural treasures and immense sense of space – which adds to the fulfillment of high visitor’s enjoyment expectations – a much needed bridge between northern circuit and coastal attractions.

Every day, thousands of people pass within a few kilometers of Mkomazi on one of Tanzania’s busiest highways. These and the northern circuit safari – goers are now most welcomed to discover the treasures of this wedge of hilly semi-arid savannah – home of large herds of giraffe, eland, hartebeest, zebra, buffalo and elephant.

Mkomazi is a vital refuge for two highly endangered species, the charismatic black rhino and the sociable African wild dog, both of which were successfully reintroduced in the 1990s. Nomadic by nature, wild dog might be seen almost anywhere in the park, however the black rhino are restricted to a fenced sanctuary, ensuring their safe keeping for the enjoyment and prosperity of future generations.

Mkomazi supports several dry – country specialists’ species that are rare elsewhere in Tanzania; these include the spectacular fringe – eared oryx, with its long back – sweeping horns, and the handsome spiral – horned lesser kudu. Oddest of all is the gerenuk, a gazelle distinguished by its slender neck, bizarre alien – like head, and having the habit of standing tall on its hind legs as it stretches for acacia leaves that other browsers cannot reach.

A game reserve since 1951, this new National Park takes its name from a word from Pare tribe denoting “scoop of water”, referring to little water. It is a fantastic destination for birdwatchers, with more than 450 avian species recorded, among them are the dry – country endemics such as the cobalt – chested vulturine guinea-fowl, other large ground birds such as ostrich, kori bustard, secretary bird, ground hornbill and some migratory species including the Eurasian roller.

Location:

Northern Tanzania split between Kilimanjaro and Tanga administrative regions. The park borders on the west the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. The Zange entrance gate lies 112 km (69 miles) from Moshi, 550 km (341 miles) 142 km (88.7 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

How to get there
By road, Mkomazi is easily accessible via Same, which lies on the surfaced highway connecting Arusha to Dar es Salaam. The Park is also easily accessible on special arrangement through Njiro, Kivingo and Umba gates. The park can also be easily accessed from the nearby existing tourist attractions in Eastern Arc Mountains, The Coast and Kilimanjaro Mountain. Charter flights are available to Kisima airstrip.

What to do
Game drives, camping, site seeing, bird watching, walking safari, and hiking (uphill).

Accommodation
There is one semi – permanent tented camp near the Park headquarters. Few designated basic campsites where one must bring his/her own camping gears and food. There are several small hotels and guest houses in Same town.

Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park

One gets to relish the palm trees as they sway in a cooling oceanic breeze of Saadani National Park. White sand and blue water sparkle alluringly beneath the tropical sun, brand Saadani is a splendid place to visit. Traditional dhows sail slowly past, propelled by billowing white sails, whilst Swahili fishermen cast their nets below a brilliant red sunrise.

Saadani National Park

Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. The only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast for an Indian Ocean beachfront, it as well possesses all the attributes that make Tanzania’s tropical coastline and islands very popular with European sun-worshipers. Yet it is also the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole!

Protected as a game reserve since the 1960s, in 2002 it was expanded to cover twice its former area. The reserve suffered greatly from poaching prior to the late 1990s, but in recent years a marked turnaround has been seen, due to a concerted clampdown on poachers, based on integrating adjacent villages into the conservation drive.

Today, a surprisingly wide range of grazers and primates are seen on game drives and walks, among them include giraffes, buffaloes, warthogs, common waterbucks, reedbucks, hartebeests, wildebeests, red duikers, greater kudus, elands, sable antelopes, yellow baboons and velvet monkeys.

Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency, and several lion prides are inhabitants, together with leopards, spotted hyenas and black-backed jackals. Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Wami River come along with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine and riverine birds, including the mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo. The beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania.

Location: On the north coast, roughly 100km (60 miles) northwest of Dar es Salaam, and a similar distance southwest of the port of Tanga.

How to get there
Charter flight from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam with a possibility of scheduled flights in the future. Thrice-weekly road shuttle from Dar es Salaam, taking four hours in either direction.
No road access from Dar es Salaam along the coast – Follow the surfaced Moshi road for 160km (100 miles), then 60km (36 miles) on dirt.
Road access from Tanga and Pangani except after heavy rains. 4×4 required.

What to do
– Game drives and guided walks.
– Boat trips. Swimming.
Visit Saadani fishing village, which lies within the reserve, where a collection of ruins pays testament to its 19th century heyday as a major trading port.

Accommodation
The Park offers various types of accommodation and their facilities for both Residents and Non-residents visiting the Park.

Rest house near the beach, with a furnished sitting room, master bedroom, three single rooms and a fully equipped kitchen.
Bandaz which are located along the beach, each with two rooms of four beddings and
single rooms for couples with outside dining and kitchen equipped with cooking gas, deep freezer and utensils.
These facilities offer campers an opportunity to sleep at camping sites by pitching
tents at the public camp site which is located along the beach of Saadani,

Special camp sites: Kiwandi campsite located at Zaraninge forest, Kinyonga campsite located along Wami river and Tengwe campsite located in the wilderness zone.

Visitors are advised to come with their own food that they may cook using park facilities.

There are other privately owned accommodation facilities inside and outside the park include Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, Saadani River Lodge, KISAMPA, Saadani Park Hotel, Tembo Kijani Lodge and A Tent with A View Lodge. Please visit NatureBoundAfrica for more information.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park

Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, incredible bird life, and breathtaking views.

Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is worth a stop in its own right. Its ground water forests, bush plains, baobab strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds.

The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park.

Lake Manyara National Park day trip

The park famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay a visit to this park. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world — a fact that accounts for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.

Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.

The compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience.

From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside; the blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees; dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and the outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.

In contrast with the intimacy of the forest, is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds congregate on these grassy plains, and so do the giraffes – some so dark in coloration that they appear to be black from a distance.

Inland of the floodplain, a narrow belt of acacia woodland is the favoured haunt of Manyara’s legendary tree-climbing lions and impressively tusked elephants. Squadrons of banded mongoose dart between the acacias, whereas the diminutive Kirk’s dik-dik forages in their shade. Pairs of klipspringer are often seen silhouetted on the rocks above a field of searing hot springs that steams and bubbles adjacent to the lakeshore in the far south of the park.

Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.

About Lake Manyara National Park
Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to 200 sq km (77 sq miles) is the lake when water levels are high.
Location: Northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa Mbu.

Getting there
– By road, charter or scheduled flight from Arusha, en route to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

What to do
– Game drives, night game drives, canoeing when the water levels is sufficiently high.
– Cultural tours, picnics, bush lunch/dinner, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park.

Accommodation
– One luxury treehouse-style camp, public bandas and campsites inside the park.
– One luxury tented camp and three lodges perched on the Rift Wall outside the park overlooking the lake.
– Several guesthouses and campsites in nearby Mto wa Mbu.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park has some of the highest population density of elephants as compared to anywhere in Tanzania, and its sparse vegetation, strewn with baobab and acacia trees, makes it a beautiful and distinctive location to visit.

Tarangire National Park

Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha, Tarangire is a popular stop for people travelling through the northern safari circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The park extends into two game controlled areas and the wildlife is allowed to move freely throughout.

Before the rains, droves of gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, and giraffes migrate to Tarangire National Park’s scrub plains where the last grazing land still remains. Tarangire offers an unparalleled game viewing, and during the dry season elephants abound. Families of the pachyderms play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal. Breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains in the south make a stopover at Tarangire a memorable experience.

Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.

During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km (12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire’s mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.

On drier ground you find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world’s largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys.

More ardent bird-lovers might keep an eye open for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colourful yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling – all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania.

Disused termite mounds are often frequented by colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose, and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like duetting.

Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.

Location: 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha.

Getting there
Easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara following a surfaced road to within 7km (four miles) of the main entrance gate; can continue on to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
Charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti.

What to do
– Guided Walking safaris.
– Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.

Accommodation
Two lodges, one tented lodge, two luxury tented camps inside the park, another half-dozen exclusive lodges and tented camps immediately outside its borders.
Several camp sites in and around the park.

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park (ANAPA) is a gem of varied ecosystems and spectacular views of Mount Meru, the crater that gives the region its name

Arusha National Park

 

It is a popular destination for day trip visitors who are about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern circuit safaris. The small national park includes the slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momela Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and the lush highland forests that blanket its lower slopes. Game viewing around the Momela Lakes is at a laid-back and quiet pace, and while passing through the forest many visitors stop to search for troupes of rare colubus monkeys playing in the canopy.

Climbing Mt. Meru or enjoying the smaller trails that criss-cross its lower slopes is a popular activity for visitors to Arusha National Park. The three-day trek to reach the crater’s summit is a quieter, and some say more challenging alternative than the famous peak of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the lower slopes, the paths to rivers and waterfalls create a relaxing day hike for visitors who don’t want to attempt the rather arduous climb. Ancient fig tree forests, crystal clear waters cascading from mountain streams, and a chance to spot colobus monkeys are the attractions and pleasures of Arusha National Park.

The closest national park to Arusha town – northern Tanzania’s safari capital – Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.

The entrance gate leads into shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons – the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen. In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep rocky cliffs enclose a wide marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog.

Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one having a different hue of green or blue. There are shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos. The lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and also shaggy waterbucks that display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, whilst pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.

Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions are absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, which is only 50km (30 miles) away.
But it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru – the fifth highest mountain in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – that dominates the park’s horizon. With its peaks and eastern foot slopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right.

Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching highly open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately-hoofed klipspringers mark the hike’s progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.

Size
552 sq km (212 sq miles).
Location:
Northern Tanzania, northeast of Arusha town.

Getting there
An easy 40-minute drive from Arusha. It is approximately 60 km (35 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport. The lakes, forest and Ngurdoto Crater can all be visited in the course of a half-day outing at the beginning or end of an extended northern safari.

NOTE: Mountain Climbing Permits duration time is 12 HOURS.

What to do
Forest walks, numerous picnic sites;
three- or four-day Mt Meru climb – good acclimatization for Kilimanjaro.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is the largest and with most biodiversity and a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed as the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly being the delicate African violet.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Brooding and primeval, the forests of Udzungwa seem positively enchanted: a verdant refuge of sunshine-dappled glades enclosed by 30-metre (100 foot) high trees, their buttresses layered with fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns.

Udzungwa alone among the ancient ranges of the Eastern Arc has been accorded the national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 metres (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption.

Although not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers. An excellent network of forest trails includes the popular half-day ramble to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 metres (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below.

The more challenging two-night Mwanihana Trail leads to the high plateau, with its panoramic views over the surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending to Mwanihana peak, the second-highest point in the range.

Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa Mountains National Park for an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species, from the lovely and readily-located green-headed oriole to more than a dozen secretive Eastern Arc endemics.

Four bird species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including the forest partridge, first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl.

Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world – the latter, remarkably, remained undetected by biologists prior to 1979.

Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures: ongoing scientific exploration will surely add to its diverse catalogue of endemics.

Location: Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 kms (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi.

Getting there
Drive from Dar es Salaam or Mikumi National Park.

What to do
From a two-hour hike to the waterfall as well as camping safaris.
Combine with nearby Mikumi or en route to Ruaha.

Accommodation
Camping inside the park.
Bring all food and supplies.
Two modest but comfortable lodges with en-suite rooms within 1km of the park entrance.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park

The Mahale Mountains National Park like its northerly neighbor Gombe is home to some of the Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a population of roughly 900, they are habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience.

Mahale is located in the Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake-harbouring an estimated 1000 fish species.

Best time to visit the park
The dry season (May -October) is the best period. During this period, chimpanzees are likely to be seen in big groups, the sunshine illuminates the fish in the Lake and the beach is an inviting place to relax. However, Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. A visit in the rainy season can also be a memorable experience, made remarkable by views of the neighbouring country DR Congo across the water and by incredible lightning storms that light up the lake at night.

Tourist Attractions
– The Chimpanzees
– Chain of Mountains (Mahale range)
– Forest fauna and flora (Angola colobus, red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, forest birds, alpine bamboo, montane rain forest etc).
– Beach along Lake Tanganyika
– Local fishermen
– Sun set on the Lake horizon

What to do
Chimp tracking (allow 2 – 3 days)
– Hiking to the Park’s highest point “Nkungwe” (8,069ft) held sacred by the local Tongwe people.
– Camping safaris
– Snorkeling
– Sports fishing and many more water sports activities

Park Accessibility
Mahale is accessible by air, road and boat. There are several flights, car and boat options to suit most travelers and chimps lovers:

Direct flights to Mahale
This is the easiest way to reach Mahale. During the peak tourist season (June to October) the three tour operators with camps in Mahale schedule regular flights between the park and Arusha town. Between October and March flights arrive and leave twice each week. Between March, April and the first half of May Camps close therefore there are no scheduled flights.

However it is also possible for visitors to arrange their own charter flights. Tanzania has a large number of charter flight companies such as Air Excel, Northern Air and Regional Air to mention a few. Private charters can be arranged from major cities of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza or Zanzibar.

The airstrip at Mahale is suitable for light aircraft only with the capacity of up to 12 passengers.

Travel to Mahale via Kigoma
Kigoma can be reached via several routes:
– By Air: Air Tanzania schedules daily flights from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The flight takes about 3 hours.
– By Road: Road provides accessibility to Kigoma, but it can be rough and impassable, especially in the rainy season. From Arusha it takes 2 or 3 days to reach Kigoma by car, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is required.
– By Rail: Trains from Dar es salaam leave 2-3 times a week. The journey takes about three days and two nights.

From Kigoma: Mahale can be reached by boat, by light aircraft or by car.
Transport to Mahale by speedboats or timber boats from Kigoma can be arranged with the Park or private operators in Kigoma. The speedboats take between 4 and 5 hours to reach the park while timber boats can take up to 15 hours or more.

A large steamship – MV Liemba – leaves Kigoma twice a month [on Wednesday afternoon], carrying passengers and cargo the length of the Lake to Zambia. It makes numerous stops along the way, including one for Mahale, which is referred to as Lagosa (the old name) or famously known as Mgambo. MV Liemba takes around 10 hours to reach Lagosa-Mgambo from Kigoma, and it passes Mahale again on its return journey [either Sunday or Monday morning].

From Lagosa-Mgambo one may organize the park boats for a pick up.

Mahale is 45 minutes from Kigoma town by light aircraft. A few safari companies offer private charter flights from Kigoma to Mahale and other National Parks in western Tanzania.

Road; Either drive 2 hrs South of Kigoma via Simbo Village (160km ) crossing Malagarasi river to Herembe village (passable during dry season) or drive 122km to Sigunga Village upon arrangement with Park HQ for boat transfer to the Park maximum 1 or 2 hrs boat cruise respectively.

PARK REGULATIONS
Mahale Mountains National Park is home to one of Africa’s most studied chimpanzee populations. The support that visitors give through payment of park entrance fees provides the Park with the means to safeguard and protect this unique population of chimpanzees and the beautiful forest that they inhabit.

Park rules and regulations
– Keep to the authorized trails.
– Do not disturb wild animals in any way. Do not make noise.
– Be considerate to fellow visitors – do not disturb them or the animals they are watching.
– Do not take any pets or guns into the park.
– Do not uproot, pick, cut or damage any plant or be in possession of any part of a plant indigenous to the park.
– Do not light any fire or discard any burning object.
– Do not discard any litter.
– Between 7.00p.m and 6.00a.m remain in the immediate vicinity of designated accommodation facilities (tented camps, tourist bandas, rest house or campsites).
– A permit is valid for single entry within 24 hours only.

Chimp Viewing Regulations
– Maintain a distance of at least 10m from the chimps at all times. This minimizes the risk of you transmitting bacteria and viruses to them.
– Always wear a mask (provided by your guide) over your nose and mouth when you are close (

<50m) to chimps.
– DO NOT eat or drink while you are near the chimps – move at least 250m away.
– DO NOT leave personal belongings on the ground or where they are accessible to the chimps. They are curious animals and your belongings can transmit disease. If you need help carrying bags, your guide will be happy to assist you.
– DO NOT leave any rubbish behind. It can be harmful to all kinds of wildlife and it can transmit diseases to the chimps.
– If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the chimps, please cover your nose and mouth to reduce the distribution of germs.
– Try not to go to the toilet in the forest. If it is unavoidable, move at least 250m from the chimps and ask your guide to dig a deep hole.
– It is not permitted to visit the chimps if you are sick or have infectious disease. Please be responsible and tell your camp managers if you don’t feel well. You are risking the chimps’ health by visiting them while sick. The manager will decide the best way.
– No person under the age of 12 is permitted to visit the chimps. This is for their own safety and because young people are more likely to transmit infectious disease.
– No more than 6 visitors (plus one guide) are permitted close to the chimps at any one time. If another group is with the chimps when you arrive, please wait at a spot chosen by your guide, at least 250m away from the animals.
– Maximum viewing time is one hour. If the chimps are moving and viewing is interrupted, your time will be paused until they have been relocated, but tracking is not permitted for longer than 3hours after the initial chimp sighting, even if the one hour total has not been reached. This is to minimize disturbance to the animals and to the forest.

GENERAL SAFETY RULES
Mahale’s chimps have been studied and habituated for more than 40 years and are well accustomed to people. Nevertheless, they are wild animals and it is important that you avoid doing anything that may antagonize them or that they may see as a challenge or a threat.

– When near the chimps, please remember to keep your voices low. This will also help you to observe the other wonderful and varied wildlife of the Mahale forest.
– Do not point at the chimps or make any sudden movements.
– Avoid direct eye contact with them because they may perceive this as aggressive or threatening behavior.
– Do not use perfume, smoke or spit.
– When near the Chimps: Stay in a tight group, try to sit or squat rather than standing, as this minimizes disturbance. Also be sure that your group does not completely surround the chimps.
– In the unlikely event that a chimp charges towards you, move to the nearest tree, stand up and hold on tightly to the trunk. Above all, don’t panic or run, adhere to your guide’s instructions.
– If the chimpanzees move closer to you than permitted distance (10 meters), don’t make any sudden movements to increase the distance. Simply move back slowly away from them.
– Camera flashes must be switched off. Flash photography can disturb and antagonize the chimps.

ACCOMMODATION
Park facilities
The park has five self-contained tourist bandas. Each banda has two rooms with twin beds and a private bathroom. Kitchen facilities are available for self-catering and cooks can be hired locally to prepare your meals. Visitors may bring their food staff and drinks.
Bandas are suitable for budget travelers and students.
Currently the park has three luxury tented camps owned and run by private investors

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park offers un-spoilt wildlife viewing in the country’s third-largest national park, in a remote location far off the beaten track. The national park is Africa at its most wild — unadulterated bush settings, spectacular views, and rich wildlife.

katavi-national-park

Katavi National Park dramatic scenery is as varied as it is pristine. Flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways are home to a huge population of hippo and varied birdlife. In the woodlands to the west, forest canopies shroud herds of buffaloes and elephants. Seasonal lakes fill with dirty coloured water after the rains and animals from all corners of the park descend in them to drink. The park is also home to the rare roan and sable antelope species, and it is a must-see for the visitors intending to explore the wilds of the continent.

Isolated, untrammeled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as if it must have been a century ago.
Tanzania’s third largest national park; it lies in the remote area southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.

The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localised eland, sable and roan antelopes. Nevertheless the main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad water birds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles.

It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into life. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffes, zebras, impalas and reedbucks provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.

Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday incident, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.

Location; Southwest Tanzania, east of Lake Tanganyika.
The headquarters at Sitalike lie 40km (25 miles) south of Mpanda town.

Getting there
Charter flights from Dar or Arusha.
A tough but spectacular day’s drive from Mbeya (550 km/340 miles), or in the dry season only from Kigoma (390 km/240 miles).
It is possible to reach Mpanda by rail from Dar via Tabora, then to get public transport to Sitalike, where game drives can be arranged. If travelling overland, allow plenty of time to get there and back.

What to do
Walking, driving and camping safaris.
Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) – Offerings are still left here by locals seeking the spirit’s blessing.

Accommodation
Two seasonal luxury tented camps overlooking Lake Chada. A Resthouse at Sitalike and campsites inside the park. Basic but clean hotels at Mpanda.