Just returned from an amazing trip in Tanzania with my wife. We organized everything through a company called mbalimbali. We arrived nov 20th and spent our first 3 nights at Katavi park which we arrived at by a 3.5 hr flight on a small plane. Katavi was amazing, we were met t the airstrip by our guide and saw a leopard and a groupe of lions en route to our lodge. We stayed at Katuma bush lodge and it was great. Tents raised a few feet off the ground with hardwood floors a large deck and hot shower. The staff was fantastic the food great and our guide (West) was superb. We were the only guests in the entire park. During our time at Katavi we saw 4 leopards 2 up very close, lions eating an elephant, lions mating, lions eating a young hippo and a lion large male with a fresh buffalo kill. We also saw heyena, many girrafe, hundreds of hippo (some fighting) some herds of buffalo and lots of elephant. Our camp had a resident elephant that spent most of his time beside our tent. We also had a group of 20 elephants walk through our camp. Night time in Katavi was very loud elephants breaking trees and hippos fighting. Katavi was an un believable experience, during breakfast we would watch countless animals walk right by the lodge, my wife actually cried when we left.
Next we flew to Mahale mountains for 4 nights. Mahale park I would have to say is the most beautiful place I have seen on earth. We stayed at Kungwe lodge in the same type of tent/cabin we had in Katavi. The jungle in Mahale is just phenomenal, chimp tracking is the main thing to do hear and we saw large groups of chimps every day after about 30 min of hiking. The chimp experience was the best animal encounter I have ever had, even better than swimming with wild dolphins. You get to hang out with the chimps for 45 mins. The chimps were fighting quite often, they are very noisy and extreemly active. Some of the chimps would run right beside people slaming their hands on the ground. Our guide Given was fantastic, very knowledgeable about the chimps but not in your face at all. The staff at the lodge was also superb as was the food.
After Mahale we flew to serengetti wher we stayed at soroi lodge. The lodge and cabins here were fantastic. The cabins were bigger than in Katavi and the views amazing. Staff here was great as well as was the food. Since we flew in we used the lodges driver/guide Abas who was very good as well. We found game viewing in the serengetti to be good but no where near as good as Katavi. We stayed at soroi for 4 nights. Then we went from soroi to Ngorongoro with a private driver/guide from leopard tours named Joseph, he was also very good. The drive to Ngorongoro was one of our best game drives as we drove right by about a hundred thousand wildabeast. Ngorongoro crater was great and the views from our lodge were amazing. Game viewing in the crater was great to lots of lion heyena and some rhino. From our 2 nights at serena lodge we left for 2 nights at Tarangire river camp. I loved Trangire we saw some cheetah up close as well as a couple huge lion right next to our vehichle that were very active. We also saw lots hundreds of elephant and had about 20 of them come right up to the deck of our tent, we also saw 2 serval there. After that we were driven to Arusha airport for a flight to Mafia island where we spent 8 nights. Many thanks to Adele from mbali,mbali who organized pur trip, everything ran flawlessly. We paid about the same or even less than a 10 night land trip from thompson safaris or abercombie and kent. Our favorite game park was by far Katavi, but Mahale was my favorite place. The only thing I would maybee change would be staying in the Ndutu area vssoroi just due to the time of year we were there. Although we did have some good viewing of game especialy cheetah and elephant just down the road from soroi. If you are thinking of going to Katavi just go it is amazing.