Hidden Southern Tanzania

9 days, 8 nights
Price Range: $12,603 – $19,650
(all-inclusive price per person, depending on dates & camps selected)

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“Off the beaten path” is a travel cliché…but every once in a while, a trip comes along that warrants that much-used description. This is that safari. “Serengeti” may be a household word, but Katavi is decidedly not. In this isolated national park in remote western Tanzania, the Katuma River and floodplains attract animals in staggering numbers. Just northwest along Lake Tanganyika lie the Mahale Mountains, where captivating encounters with wild chimpanzees await. Discover why “less traveled” equals “more excitement”!

Photo of Kelly Knowles

Our Expert Says

The vast floodplains of southern Tanzania are home to an amazing variety of wildlife. There is something quite remarkable about looking out across a vast expanse of land and seeing animals of various sizes from huge elephants to tiny beetles co-existing in carefully balanced harmony. Our guide was incredible at sharing the tiniest of details with our group, really giving us a huge appreciation of all creatures big and small.

– Kelly Knowles

Photo: Arusha view image gallery

Day 1: Arusha

Arusha is the safari capital of the world, the jumping-off point for the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Kilimanjaro. In the shadow of Mount Meru, where lush forest intersects grassy savanna, Arusha sits within an agricultural region famed for coffee and tea. Originally a German settlement, Arusha today is a lively city with an international flair. Arusha is noted for handcrafts, and the Cultural Heritage Center boasts an array of carvings, paintings, batiks and baskets.

Photo: Katavi Nat'l Park view image gallery

Days 2-4: Katavi Nat'l Park

Isolated in Tanzania's far southwest corner, this little-visited park offers a genuine wilderness experience. The main focus for wildlife viewing is the Katuma River and floodplains. Seasonal lakes draw myriad waterbirds and Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile. During the dry season, staggering numbers of animals converge on the shrunken river, with thousands of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and impala providing easy pickings for lion and hyena.

Photo: Mahale Mountains view image gallery

Days 5-8: Mahale Mountains

Deep in the African interior, accessible only by boat, lies a range of jungle-cloaked peaks overlooking Lake Tanganyika. These mountains shelter about 800 of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees. Some have been habituated to human contact, providing one of Africa’s most magical wildlife adventures — tracking and watching chimps in their natural habitat. The rainforest is also home to easily observed troops of monkeys and a kaleidoscopic array of birds.

Photo: Arusha/Home view image gallery

Day 9: Arusha/Home

Your safari adventure ends today in Arusha, Tanzania.


  • iSafari.com's Africa safari planner cannot precisely calculate the costs of air and land transfers to all camps and lodges as the locations and travel distances vary slightly. With this in mind, your final quote may increase or decrease by a small amount.
  • The estimated rates given for these itineraries are adult rates, but many properties offer reduced rates for children. Please contact our office for more information.
  • Holiday surcharges may apply for travel in late December and early January, and occasionally over the Easter holiday.
  • The authorities at Mahale are considering the implementation of a permit system for chimp trekking. Whether or not the system will be implemented is currently unconfirmed, but trekking permits are estimated to cost $150 per person per trek. The cost of permits has not been included in estimated pricing.
  • Flights between Arusha and Katavi operate every Monday and Thursday only, so this trip must begin on a Sunday or Wednesday in Arusha.
  • A non-refundable deposit of 25% of the trip fee per person is required upon booking to confirm your reservation.


  • All accommodation on a double occupancy basis
  • Meals at camps and lodges
  • Excursions and transfers unless listed as optional
  • Services of the lodge guides and staff unless a NHA Safari Expedition Leader is booked
  • Relevant park fees
  • Alcoholic and soft drink beverages are included at some camps and lodges
  • Laundry service is available at most permanent camps/lodges and hotels; in some cases this service is included in the tariff quoted
  • Air transfers within countries as specified
  • Accommodation taxes, the applicable Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax (VAT) or Government Sales Tax (GST)


  • Travel to the start and end point of the route
  • Generally lunch and dinner in city hotels
  • Alcoholic and soft drink beverages at some camps and lodges
  • Cancellation, baggage and medical insurance
  • Staff gratuities
  • Any newly-implemented government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control
  • Visa fees where relevant
  • International airport departure taxes applicable from manned airports only, which is to be paid in US$ cash on departure unless included in your ticket cost
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Chimp trekking permits if necessary (approximately $150 per person per trek) - please see notes for more details
  • Optional fishing excursion in Mahale $50 per person per excursion