From lions and chimps, to mountains and lakes. Experience the wonders of Tanzania's Western Circuit.
Paul Doig, Trade Account Manager for Mbali Mbali has just returned from a simply amazing journey to the Western Circuit in Tanzania. Along with five experienced UK Tour Operators, a journalist and a representative of the Tanzania Tourist Board, we completed a journey full of experiences never to be forgotten. Here are just some of the highlights....
After a 3 hour charter flight from Arusha (including a quick refuel in Tabora), we landed in Katavi National Park and following a short briefing from TANAPA, we were off into the park itself. Overlooking the Katsunga Plains, Mbali Mbali Katavi is in a prime location to explore this barely touched wilderness. Sightings were abundant, with lions, leopards, giraffe, elephant and 100's of hippos and crocodiles all relatively easy to see. National Geographic study the strange phenomenon of the crocodiles burrowing into the side of the rivers here in Katavi and we agreed it was a somewhat bizarre sight! I now understand why so many safari aficionados call Katavi their favourite park in Africa and my travel colleagues agreed it deserves far more visitors.
Next stop, Mahale for chimp trekking. Mahale Mountains National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is a truly magical place and Mbali Mbali Mahale in particular is wonderful....in fact, more and more travel professionals are describing it as the best in the area. Recently refurbished to a very high standard, its guides, staff, food and accommodation were all outstanding.
The highlight of our stay was inevitably the chimp trek which saw Rama, the head guide (whose father had worked with Jane Goodall) lead us deep into the jungle with his team of trackers. Within a few hours of steep terrain and hacking through the jungle, we found our quarry - chimpanzees. The next hour delivered so many amazing moments that I am sure no one in the group will ever forget them. We talked excitedly at our meal on the beach that night and it was sad to leave Mahale the next day, but onto Gombe we went....
Gombe Stream National Park might be only small but it's packed with adventure and excitement. Snorkelling and swimming off the beach were a dream (and anywhere else, surely a highlight) but being the home of Jane Goodall's original ape research, it was sure to be yet another amazing experience on our incredible journey.
The trek itself was quicker and easier than Mahale and the chimps we found were playful and a joy to observe, despite our face masks (obligatory in both parks when close to the chimps). We spent an hour with them as they played, ate, squabbled and groomed (sometimes seemingly all at once). We left them to visit the impressive Kakombe Waterfall to relax, before making our way back down to the boat. Another unforgettable day that was emotional and exhilarating at the same time.
It was all over too quickly and I'd would like to say 'thank you' to everyone involved in this once in a lifetime journey. It was thanks to everyone at Mbali Mbali, as well as Takims Holidays who arranged the pre- and post- night accommodation and transfers.
All the group agreed, the whole trip had been a real success and offers great potential in the UK market, with travellers able to enjoy some of Mbali Mbali's amazing unique experiences.
...Go Mbali Mbali, Go Far Far Away...
Mbali Mbali is a collection of five stunning lodges in one of Africa’s ultimate natural treasures; Tanzania. Each location has been carefully selected for their unique experiences, across incredibly diverse ecological areas, taking you on a trail less travelled to some of Tanzania’s most untouched and unique National Parks.