Summary : Tanzania is home to some of the largest concentrations of wildlife on Earth. And, while the Serengeti and Ngorongoro typically come to mind for Tanzania adventure travel, this brand-new journey explores the lesser-visited, but equally as impressive parks in the southern part of the country. On this 17-day Eastern Africa tour, you will visit four national parks—Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, and Mahale—in the company of long-time expedition leader and renowned wildlife photographer, Lex Hes. In addition to seeking out a huge variety of wildlife from lions and elephants to zebras and chimps, Tanzania is well-known for its excellent birding with over 1,000 recorded species.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Photography
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent flight arriving in Dar es Salaam the following day. Transfer to the Southern Sun Dar es Salaam for dinner and overnight.
This morning board your flight for Selous. Located in southern Tanzania, Selous is one of the largest game reserves in the world. With no permanent human habitation, large numbers of elephants, hippos, Cape buffalo, and crocodiles flourish in this remote wilderness. Transfer to Sand River Selous, your home for three nights. Situated on the Rufiji River, each open fronted cottage offers panoramic views of the river where you can observe resident wildlife from the comfort of your veranda.
Spend two full days exploring savanna, wetlands, and extensive woodlands by 4x4 vehicles, on walking safaris, and by river boat. A cruise along the Rufiji River may reveal vast flocks of great white pelicans, wallowing families of elephants, or a pride of lions sleeping off a meal. Birders search for southern ground hornbills, bateleur eagles, and white-headed lapwings, as well as endemic Udzungwa forest partridges and rufous-winged sunbirds, among the 350 recorded bird species. Of the over 400 species of animals that congregate in Selous during the dry season, herds of Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, greater kudu, impala, Burchell’s zebra, and blue and white-bearded wildebeest are common sights. The reserve also provides important habitat for endangered black rhinos and African wild dogs.
This morning board your flight to Ruaha National Park, the largest national park in Tanzania. Check in to Mwagusi Safari Camp; nestled on the sandy banks of the Mwagusi River, the camp is built almost entirely from organic, natural materials and your home for the next three nights. This afternoon begin your exploration of Ruaha National Park.
Ruaha is famous for its large population of elephants, estimated to number over 10,000. A popular destination for birdwatchers, over 500 species have been identified, with several resident species of hornbills, kingfishers, and sunbirds, including the endemic Ruaha red-billed hornbill. An incredible variety of antelope can also be found here including eland, roan, oribi, Grant’s gazelle, and sable. From open game-drive vehicles and during leisurely hikes, observe Ruaha’s abundant wildlife and dramatic terrain. Open plains are filled with baobab, backdropped by iconic purple-tinged hills, and riverine bush and dry river beds provide cover for kudu, sable, and elephants while huge herds of buffalo and scores of giraffe occupy the wide open spaces. Big cats are also plentiful—leopards, cheetahs, and prides of over twenty lions are not uncommon. The Ruaha River provides habitat for huge Nile crocodiles and pods of hippos.
Rise early this morning for your flight to Katavi National Park, and check in to Chada Katavi. Designed to blend in with the surroundings, each spacious tent offers expansive views of the Chada Plain and the constant stream of wildlife. After settling in, depart on your first game drive in Katavi National Park.
Katavi, in the far west of Tanzania, is a seldom-visited wilderness that is almost untouched by humans. The park centers on a series of wide flood plains where large herds of Cape buffalo and elephants can be found. Your visit is timed during the dry season, when shrinking pools and watering holes fill up with huge pods of hippos, and all kinds of animals are drawn to dwindling seasonal rivers. Search for wildlife during game drives, while bush walks across the endless golden plains offer the opportunity to observe more timid creatures that often take flight at the sound of a vehicle.
This morning your flight departs for Mahale National Park which lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Since there are no roads or other infrastructure within the park boundaries, transfer from the airstrip to the park via boat. Arrive at Greystoke Mahale situated on a pristine, white sandy beach overlooking the turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika, with the forested slopes of the 8,000-foot-high Mahale Mountains rising behind.
Mahale is one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in Tanzania, and the population here is the largest in the country. Japanese researchers in the 1960s habituated the chimps to the presence of human observers. Hike into the mountains with local guides to search for the chimps, with the opportunity to sit quietly to watch them go about their daily lives. 335 bird species have been recorded here. Other activities include dhow cruises and fishing in Lake Tanganyika, strolling the forest trails, or simply lounging on the sandy beach to soak in your surroundings.
Enjoy one last morning hike through the jungle before boarding your flight to the Kilimanjaro airport. Board your independent international flight this evening. Arrive in the USA the next day.
All accommodations and group meals, including selected beverages with lunch and dinner; group transfers; guided excursions as stated in the itinerary; entrance fees for parks, reserves, etc.; all gratuities; domestic air transportation within Tanzania; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000)*.
All air transportation, except as listed above; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.