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Tanzania Chimpanzee Trail

9 Days / 8 Nights

Arusha / Katavi National Park / Mahale Mountains National Park

DAY 1, Sunday:  Arrival in Arusha

Arrive today in northern Tanzania, where you are met and transferred to your tranquil, countryside retreat just outside Arusha.  Check into your chalet-style accommodations on the shores of Lake Duluti.  The day is at leisure to relax poolside or on your private deck.  Or get active, paddling a canoe with a naturalist-guide, or touring the coffee estate that once operated at this site.
Overnight:  Lake Duluti Lodge

DAY 2, Monday:  Arusha / Katavi National Park

Depart by light aircraft to the western hinterlands and Katavi National Park, a vast undisturbed wildlife haven and a rich mosaic of savannas, woodlands, floodplains, seasonal rivers and lakes.  Meet your naturalist-guide on arrival and game view en route to your  comfortable bush camp.  After lunch, take your choice of a walking safari or an afternoon game drive where you are unlikely to encounter other travelers.  View great herds of buffalo, and vast concentrations of hippo and crocodile on the floodplain.  Back at camp, you are perfectly positioned to observe the constant stream of animals over the plain.  Cap your day with dinner under the stars and drinks around the campfire.
Overnight:  Katuma Katavi Luxury Camp (BLD)

DAYS 3 & 4, Tuesday & Wednesday:  Katavi National Park

Spend two rewarding days exploring Katavi’s abundance of wildlife on foot and on game drives.  View Tanzania’s largest concentrations of buffalo and hippo, huge herds of elephant, abundant crocodile and frequent antelope including roan and topi, impala, eland, waterbuck and species more typical of southern Africa such as puku, sable and tssessebe.  Predators are well represented in the numerous lion,  leopard, cheetah and wild dog.  Savor the tranquility of the wilderness, and close connections with nature in countless unforgettable moments.
Overnight:  Katuma Katavi Luxury Camp  (BLD)

DAY 5, Thursday:  Katavi / Mahale Mountains National Park

Continue your safari off-the-beaten-path with a flight to the Mahale Mountains, rising 1,684 feet from the shore of Lake Tanganyika, its undisturbed forests inhabited by 800 to 1,000 chimpanzees.  Transfer by boat to your intimate beachside camp nestled beneath shady palms between the sparkling shore and rugged peaks.  Settle into your spacious accommodations under canvas, with private verandah overlooking the lake.  This beautiful location offers access to a very limited numbers of guests to spend time with a group of about 70 wild chimpanzees, found within as little as an hour’s walk from camp.  By allowing yourself a three-day visit, your chances are optimal for seeing and spending thrilling observation time with the  chimps.  You may also see warthog, buffalo, zebra and bushbuck, leopard and lion, and smaller primates such as red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys.
Overnight:  Mahale Nkungwe Tented Camp  (BLD)

DAYS  6 - 8, Friday - Sunday:  Mahale Mountains National Park

You have three days of guided tracking excursions in search of the habituated ‘Mimikere’ community of chimpanzees, a group of about 70 individuals living in the territory surrounding our camp.  The group has been studied by Kyoto University primatologists since  1965; a few years after Jane Goodall arrived at Gombe Stream 93 miles to the north.  As a result, the chimps are accustomed to the presence of humans.  But being truly wild, they can move their sleeping nests long distances overnight, so tracking times vary and sightings cannot be guaranteed.   Departing from the beach after a briefing, you enter the forest in the early morning, an intensive feeding period when the chimps forage mainly for fruit, but also leaves, buds, blossoms, honey, termites and ants.  Listen with your guide for the chimps’ telltale grunts, hoots and shrieks as you try to locate individuals and small, sociable groups.  When found, stop for up to an hour to observe the chimps’ behaviors and facial expressions, their high degree of parental care and problem-solving abilities.  Ponder their similarity to humans who pose their greatest threat to survival, during your compelling and exhilarating experience with the chimps of Mahale.    Return to camp to review your photos and experiences over lunch.  In addition to chimpanzee tracking, your camp offers guided forest walks, cultural visits to local communities, swimming, snorkeling and fishing in Lake Tanganyika.  Celebrate each day’s adventures with a beautiful sunset over the lake, followed by delicious dinners of local fishes and African specialties, and a nightly campfire on the beach.
Overnight:  Mahale Nkungwe Tented Camp (BLD)

DAY 9, Monday:  Mahale / Arusha / Depart

After breakfast, you return to civilization as you ride a boat back to the airstrip by boat and fly to Arusha.  After lunch at a local restaurant, you are transferred to the airport for your onward flight home or to your next destination.  (BL)