Chada Camp Have you ever dreamed of the wildest safari on earth? Well, it can be yours at a game park in a remote part of Tanzania that is virtually unknown to the outside world - the Katavi National Park. The park lies south of the Mahale Mountains near Lake Tanganyika. Recent studies have found that the park's million acres may contain higher density of wildlife than either Ngorongoro or Serengeti. Vast herds of elephant and buffalo (sometimes as large as a 1000), hippo, crocodile, lion, leopard, hyena and rare antelopes, such as puku, sable and roan, roam the flood plains of Katavi undisturbed. Katavi is also the place to find over 400 species of birds many of which some are rare.
Fortunately for the die-hard safarists, there is an excellent camp inside the park which truly does justice to this raw, alluring wilderness. Chada Camp (formerly Katavi Tented Camp) has intentionally been kept small and as simple as the old-style camps of the early 1900s, not only to cause minimal impact on the environment but also to relive the golden era of the Roosevelt and Hemingway safaris. The four accommodation tents are classic old bush style yet very comfortable, furnished with two beds, blankets, linen sheets and mosquito nets. Each tent has a long drop loo and its own hot bucket shower hung from a tree at the back of the tent. There is also an exotic bathhouse with splendid view of the swamps. Meals are served in a simple mess tent or in the open air, while paraffin lamps and candles light the camp, just like they used to in the old days. Solar lighting has recently had to be introduced to satisfy the demands of modern digital equipment.
From your camp you may often observe vast herds of elephant and buffalo, waist deep in the reeds, wandering in and out of the Chada flood plains and occasionally sneaking past your tent. Roland Purcell, who also owns the exotic Greystoke Camp at the foot of Mahale Mountains, enjoys giving guests a first-hand experience of these untamed wilds of Africa. He will organize walking safaris to more remote areas of the park and encourage sleepovers in fly camps or under the stars (costs extra). Landrovers are however at your disposal if the walking proves too tiresome. Katavi has not been affected by mass tourism nor human encroachment like other parks in East and Southern Africa and therefore remains one of the most natural, undisturbed game parks in the world. Now that makes it a hugely exciting park to visit - try to make it there once in your lifetime.
- Game drives in 4x4 vehicles
- Walking Safaris with fly camps
- Video batteries can be charged in camp
- Bathhouse next to the swamp
- 4 twin tents with private bucket shower and loo and with sweepings views of the flood plains where elephants saunter through in the mornings and evenings
- Entry into the camp is either by way of a dhow sailing from Mahale or private charter from Arusha or Mahale. There is a small strip beside the camp suitable for Cessna 206's or similar. Another strip, 45 minutes' drive from the camp, is suitable for larger aircraft up to 10 seaters. It is a 45-minute flight from Mahale, 4 hours from Nairobi and 3 hours from Arusha.
- Closed during the rainy season (mid-October to mid-December and mid-March to May).