Big Five and Chimpanzees - 12 Day Southern Tanzania Safari
The southern parks of Tanzania offer something very different to the more famous northern parks. While they may not have the majesty of the Serengeti or the notoriety of Ngorongoro, parks such as Ruaha and Katavi offer a distinctly more wild, untamed experience.
This itinerary combines traditional game drives in massive Ruaha and isolated Katavi, with an opportunity to see the chimpanzees of Mahale.
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DAY 1: DAR ES SALAAM – RUAHA
You’ll depart from Dar Es Salaam to begin your safari adventure, headed to the gigantic Ruaha National Park for a few days of unforgettable adventure.
A forested park with rolling hills and a hot, dry climate that means animals tend to stick close to the water sources. This makes for fantastic game viewing opportunities, and the park’s isolation means it is considerably less crowded.
DAYS 2 – 4: RUAHA
Ruaha’s position as a middle ground between traditional savannah and woodlands means that it provides unique game-viewing conditions.
During your two day-long explorations of the park, you’ll see everything from traditional game such as buffalo, zebra, lions, and elephants to less common sights such as the Kudu, African Wild Dog, and sable antelope.
DAY 5 – RUAHA – KATAVI
You’ll board your second flight of the trip for the trek to Katavi National Park, affording you a fantastic view of the vast African wilderness as it unfolds beneath you.
You’ll arrive at the isolated park in the afternoon in time for lunch and an afternoon game drive, with the park offering particularly dramatic numbers of hippos and buffalo.
DAYS 6 – 7: KATAVI
You’ll have two days to explore this isolated, fascinating park. While its huge buffalo herds and great clumps of wallowing hippos are an obvious draw, you’ll also find animals such as lions, leopards, and elephants.
Of particular interest in the park are its more unique antelope species such as roan and sable antelopes.
DAY 8 – KATAVI – MAHALE
After an early breakfast, you’ll board your flight for the Mahale National Park. Much larger than the more famous Gombe National Park, Mahale is famous for both its chimpanzee population and its dynamic terrain.
You’ll take a boat transfer out to the park in time for lunch and an afternoon activity such as kayaking, hiking, or bird-watching.
DAYS 9 – 11: MAHALE NATIONAL PARK
You’ll have three days to experience this beautiful park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, with one of them best spent heading out to see its most famous inhabitants – the chimpanzees. Our closest living relatives are a source of endless fascination for travelers from all over the world, and you’ll have the chance to take a guided trek out to meet them face to face.
On your second and third days, you might wish to take a guided nature walk, a serene boat safari, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of this well-kept secret.
DAY 12: MAHALE – DAR ES SALAAM
You’ll board your flight back to civilization today, returning to Dar Es Salaam for your onward travel.