South-West Tanzania Safari including Mikumi, Ruaha Mahale and Zanzibar This south-west Tanzania safari offers you fabulous opportunities to view wild chimps on foot in the Mahale forest and game filled drives in open sided vehicles in Ruaha and Mikumi. This safari finishes off with a few days of pure relaxation on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Day 1:Depart UK with KLM to Tanzania
Depart from London Heathrow on board an airline of your choice. Arrive Tanzania and transfer to the Southern Sun Hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Fly to Mikumi National Park – Vuma Hills Tented Camp
This morning you will be met and transferred to the domestic terminal for your flight with Safari Air-Link to Mikumi National Park. The first of your south-west Tanzania safari parks.
On arrival at the airstrip you will be met and transferred to Vuma Hills Tented Camp where accommodation has been reserved for you for the next three nights.
Vuma Hills Tented Camp is set in the hills overlooking the Mkata flood plain of Mikumi National Park, nestling between the Ulguru and Rubeho Mountains. Being just 15 minutes from the park, it’s easy to get close to the wildlife or if you prefer, to go trekking, to see fantastic waterfalls and views of the Rift Valley at Udzungwa which is approximately 1 hour from Vuma.
The camp has an’ Out of Africa’ feel to it with traditional fixtures and fittings. The location is excellent, on the hill allowing a cool breeze to blow through the camp. The word ‘Vuma’ translated from Kiswahili means ‘a good rumour that is spread by the blowing wind’. This is an ideal opportunity to experience this feeling for yourself!
Days 3 & 4: Mikumi National Park – Vuma Hills Tented Camp
Spend the next two days exploring Mikumi.
Mikumi National Park is a protected area of outstanding natural beauty and high biodiversity. Mikumi is the closest National Park to Dar es Salaam, nestled between the Uluguru and the Rubeho mountains.
As part of the Selous ecosystem, it benefits from a high game density and supports a wide range of large mammals including: elephant, lion, leopard, hyena, jackal, giraffe, sable antelope, zebra and buffalo.
Like Ruaha it is still possible to spend a day in the park without seeing another tourist vehicle. Besides recreation, Mikumi National Park offers a unique conservation, education and research opportunity. More Tanzanians visit Mikumi, than any other National Park in Tanzania, not only through organised visits, but also through education and research programmes.
Resident mammals include African wild dog, elephant, and giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, Cape buffalo, blue wildebeest, eland and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. At the southern end of the flood plain, in the Kikoboga area, live families of yellow baboon. Hippos wallow in the waters of the hippo pools and are frequently joined by flocks of open-billed storks and other water birds searching for molluscs.
Day 5: Fly to Ruaha National Park – Mdonya Old River Camp
Today you will check out of Vuma Hills and transfer back to the airstrip for your flight with Safari Air Link to Ruaha National Park.
On arrival you will be met and transferred to Mdonya Old River Camp where accommodation has been reserved for you for the next two nights.
There are cleverly constructed hides at both ends of the camp where you can sit and watch the game pass by. Most of this area is a corridor route so animals pass through at all times of the day!
The dining and lounge tents are located under shady Acacias and Sycamore Figs overlooking the dry riverbed. The camps positioning on the banks of the Mdonya River offers guests a good all round wildlife experience.
Day 6: Ruaha National Park – Mdonya Old River Camp
Spend today exploring Ruaha National Park.
Day 7: Fly to Mahale – Mahale National Park – Kungwe Tented Camp
This morning you will have an early start as you will be transferred to the airstrip for your flight at 0700 hours to Mahale. On arrival at 1000 hours you will be met and transferred by boat (the journey takes about an hour) to Kungwe Beach Lodge where accommodation has been reserved for you for the next four nights.
Kungwe Beach Lodge overlooks the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika on a stretch of golden sand beach. The lodge consists of light, spacious tents which are furnished in a traditional safari style with views of the Congo Mountains in the distance. Each tent is built on a raised wooden platform with an ensuite bathroom which has a flush toilet and shower. The beds are enclosed under mosquito netting for a bite free sleep! The tents each have a roofed porch area with a table and chairs where you can relax and watch the world go by.
The lounge and dining area is constructed of hard wood with a thatched roof. There is a jetty stretching out onto the Lake and sun loungers with umbrellas are available on the beach. Please bear in mind there is no swimming pool currently.
Days 8 -10: Mahale National Park – Kungwe Tented Camp
Set deep in the heart of Western Tanzania, inaccessible by road, is the Mahale Mountains National Park, just 100km south of where Stanley uttered that immortal greeting “Doctor Livingstone, I presume“. The Mahale Mountains, rising almost 2 km above the shore, are home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees.
There is a population of roughly 800 chimpanzees, with about 60 individuals forming what is known as “M group” who were habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s. Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. You will need to be used to hiking fairly long distances on steep terrain and be in good health in order to track the chimps. No one with any respiratory or infectious diseases will be allowed to take part in the trekking. You will also need to bring a pair of sturdy but lightweight walking boots or shoes with you.
The chimp viewing is limited to 6 guests for one hour at a time and you will be required to wear a mask and keep at least 10 metres away from the chimps.
While the chimpanzees are the star attraction here, the slopes of the mountains also support a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful forest birds.
As well as Chimp trekking, also included during your stay are forest and waterfall walks, swimming and snorkelling in the lake, kayaking and one boat cruise or fishing expedition – Lake Tanganyika offers some of the best fresh water fishing in Tanzania. You can, of course, take extra boat or fishing excursions during your stay, which you can arrange to purchase locally at the hotel.
Day 11: Fly to Ruaha National Park – Mdonya Old River Camp
This morning you will make a return journey to the airstrip at Mahale for your flight to Ruaha at 1015 hours, arriving at Ruaha at 1315 hours. You will be transferred to Mdonya Old River Camp where accommodation has been reserved for you for the next three nights.
Days 12 & 13: Ruaha National Park – Mdonya Old River Camp
Spend the next two days exploring Ruaha National Park even more.
Day 14: Fly to Zanzibar – Beyt al Chai
Today you will check out of your camp and transfer to the airstrip for your flight with Safari Air Link to Zanzibar, departing at 1345 hours and arriving at Zanzibar Airport at 1740 hours.
On arrival you will be met and transferred to the Beyt al Chai, where accommodation in the Prince category of rooms has been reserved for you for the next three nights.
Each of the 6 rooms is furnished in silks and antique furniture and is very slightly different to any another. Every room is air-conditioned and has a ceiling fan, although it is possible to open the windows and enjoy the sights and sounds of the town nearby. There are 3 room categories, Princess, Prince and Sultan, of varying size. Each has en-suite facilities.
As well as sightseeing in Stonetown itself, it is also possible to arrange many excursions and activities in and around Zanzibar.
Day 17: Fly to Dar es Salaam and onwards to the UK
Have a restful day today before being transferred to Zanzibar Airport to begin your journey home. This flight time will be advised in due course as it depends on which international flight you are booked on. Your flight will, however, be overnight.
Indicative Cost per person £5,100.00
What is included?
Full board accommodation, shared game excursions in Mikumi and Ruaha, daily chimp treks in Mahale Mountains, all national park and concession fees, all internal flights and road transfers.
What is not included?
International flights, drinks, visa, extra meals, extra excursions, travel insurance, TIPS and items of a personal nature.