Hear about travel to western Tanzania to Katavi National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park as the Amateur Traveler talks to Jen Curran from globeandtribe.com about these less visited destinations.
Jen says, “There’s so many amazing things about Tanzania. The people are great. The culture is great. Not just the Swahili coast culture. Tanzania just has a breath of natural wonders. It also has a lot of history, particularly on the coast, like Zanzibar. There’s just a lot in western Tanzania. It has amazing natural wonders that I think get lost in the big Serengeti/Ngorongoro/Tarangire area. The nature of the wildlife is incredible there. It’s not full of other tourists. It feels like what it was like a century ago. Granted, you’re staying in a fancy tent, which might not have been there 100 years ago. But you do feel when you’re out there. It’s this vast wilderness and you’re kind of almost alone, which is pretty incredible. It was one of the places I think in the world where you can really feel like wow, I am remote. This is wild. And that I think that’s one of the reasons I think I love it so much.”
Jen spent years working in Africa before starting her own tour business. She has been on more than a hundred safaris so when she says that a place is special, that should get your attention.
One of the days she was in Katavi National Park, she was the only tourist. There are less than 1,000 visitors to the park each year. So you can find large herds of elephants, hippos, and buffalo, but you won’t have to share them with loads of other visitors.
Jen also found the walking safari experience there to be particularly interesting. Many walking safaris she has taken are more like a “nature hike” than a safari. On this walking safari, she was able to get close (but from a safe vantage point) to the animals.
Getting Katavi National Park from Arusha or Dar es Salaam will take a flight or two or a very long time driving.
If you try and get Google map directions from Katavi to Mahale Mountains National Park, Google will just tell you “no”. You can’t drive to Mahale which is part of its attraction. Instead, you have to fly or drive to the shores of Lake Tanganyika and then take a boat into the park.
Mahale Mountains National Park has other wildlife but is best known for its chimpanzee treks. Jen also relates taking a boat to the middle of the lake where you can safely swim. They swam with freshwater stingless jellyfish.
If you have more time, Jen talks about other lesser-known parks in Tanzania like Ruaha National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Usambara Mountains, Lake Natron, and Empakaai Crater which are worth a visit.
We explore the less-visited regions of Tanzania. Come for the wildlife but come back for the wonderful people.
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Globe and Tribe
Katavi National Park
Mahale Mountains National Park
Gombe Stream National Park
Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – Episode 682
Ruaha National Park
Selous Game Reserve
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