Trip to tanzania incl western side





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  1. #1
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    Default Trip to tanzania incl western side

    We are planning a trip to Serengeti and hopefully Masai Mara, but we wish to include the Western side, possibly Katavi and Mohale Mountain, and then to approach the Serengeti from the Western side. Would this be possible for two vehicles travelling together, and which would be the best route. Could we perhaps include Rwanda, since we 'are in the area'

    There are so many knowledgeable people on this Forum, that I am confident to receive the correct advice.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Welcome back to the forum, Alta. A great trip in the planning.

    Yes, of course, it is possible to drive up western Tanzania visiting Katavi en route to the Serengeti. And it is perfectly possible to drive it solo. It is the longer and more adventurous route, but western Tanzania is the unsung jewel in Tanzania’s crown.

    However, it is not possible to get to the Mahale Mountains by vehicle. There are no roads in - and no roads out. It is possible, however, to get to the Mahale Mountains by boat along Lake Tanganyika and for that you will need to contact the lovely Chris and Louise Horsfall of the gorgeous Lakeshore Lodge at Kipili on the lake. Or you could fly in to the Mahale Mountains, but this is an expensive undertaking. There are a number of threads on this forum where the access to the Mahale Mountains has been discussed.

    The route you would want to take through western Tanzania and on to the Serengeti is:
    Sumbawanga - Kipili - Katavi - Kigoma - Tabora - Mwanza - Ndabaka gate into the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. This is a long old way and you would need at least a week to get to the western gate into the Serengeti..

    You will need to give me more information on how long you have available to undertake this trip before I comment regarding Rwanda.

    Safari njema!
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2020/09/29 at 12:44 AM.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    We did this in 2005, many things could have changed by now ito Road conditions etc.

    At the time there were hardly any camp sites along the western side and we just bush camped.

    Roads were not great, cellphone reception better than expected and availability of fuel was not a problem.

    But that was a long time ago

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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side


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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Alta, your ambitions are to be applauded and certainly are feasible. Already you have received solid advice.

    I suggest you search the East African section of this forum, including countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. You will find a ton of information there.

    If you are thinking of adding Rwanda, consider adding Uganda as well. Uganda is a lovely destination and is a logical addition.

    To obtain more information from our more experienced members, at some stage you might want to flesh out your enquiry with more detail such as:

    The interests and priorities of the group?
    Time of year considered?
    Experience of the group?
    Vehicles and equipment?
    How many weeks/months can you spare for the trip?
    Do you have the budget available to spend time staying/camping in the East African national parks/reserves?
    Etc, etc.....

    Looking forward to your response and witnessing your plans evolve and be assured you will receive plenty of help here, although considerable fun is involved in doing your own research and planning. The more detail you can provide on your ambitions, the more pertinent will the feedback be.
    Stanley Weakley.
    Toyota Landcruiser 76SW 4,2L diesel.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-6-SLOW-DONKEY
    OR
    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Welcome back to the forum, Alta. A great trip in the planning.

    Yes, of course, it is possible to drive up western Tanzania visiting Katavi en route to the Serengeti. And it is perfectly possible to drive it solo. It is the longer and more adventurous route, but western Tanzania is the unsung jewel in Tanzania’s crown.

    However, it is not possible to get to the Mahale Mountains by vehicle. There are no roads in - and no roads out. It is possible, however, to get to the Mahale Mountains by boat along Lake Tanganyika and for that you will need to contact the lovely Chris and Louise Horsfall of the gorgeous Lakeshore Lodge at Kipili on the lake. Or you could fly in to the Mahale Mountains, but this is an expensive undertaking. There are a number of threads on this forum where the access to the Mahale Mountains has been discussed.

    The route you would want to take through western Tanzania and on to the Serengeti is:
    Sumbawanga - Kipili - Katavi - Kigoma - Tabora - Mwanza - Ndabaka gate into the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. This is a long old way and you would need at least a week to get to the western gate into the Serengeti..

    You will need to give me more information on how long you have available to undertake this trip before I comment regarding Rwanda.

    Safari njema!
    Dear WW, Thank you for the response and information. As you noticed, it has been a while since we used the Forum to plan a trip. In the meantime, we have visited Zambia three times (love the country), Namibia countless times - especially Zambezi Province, as well as Botswana and Angola. The latter on an organised trip with Live the Journey.
    We will be travelling with our regular touring friends, although it might be only two vehicles this time. We are planning to set two months aside for such a journey - hopefully enough?

    I am aware that Mohale sits on an island on the Lake. It will certainly mean that we will have to use the Horsfalls.

    I am not sure how to go about writing posts to more than one person - in other words, how should I go about to reply to all friends giving information using only one post, and not having to duplicate info several times?

    Best wishes, and thanks again! Alta

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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Alta, your ambitions are to be applauded and certainly are feasible. Already you have received solid advice.

    I suggest you search the East African section of this forum, including countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. You will find a ton of information there.

    If you are thinking of adding Rwanda, consider adding Uganda as well. Uganda is a lovely destination and is a logical addition.

    To obtain more information from our more experienced members, at some stage you might want to flesh out your enquiry with more detail such as:

    The interests and priorities of the group?
    Time of year considered?
    Experience of the group?
    Vehicles and equipment?
    How many weeks/months can you spare for the trip?
    Do you have the budget available to spend time staying/camping in the East African national parks/reserves?
    Etc, etc.....

    Looking forward to your response and witnessing your plans evolve and be assured you will receive plenty of help here, although considerable fun is involved in doing your own research and planning. The more detail you can provide on your ambitions, the more pertinent will the feedback be.
    Dear Stan, It is a privilege to hear from you again! Please also see my message to WW.

    To answer your questions -
    We might be only two couples, both having done several Southern African trips over the years. We love nature, we love to take the road less travelled, we love to see new and remote places, and we have a fair sense of adventure. We have done several dune trips, including the Death Acre in Angola. I would imagine that we qualify as reasonably experienced.
    We drive a Landcruiser 100 Petrol V8, and a similar Lexus. We camp on the ground and do not tow. We are equipped to carry a fair amount of extra fuel and water. We have solar power and fridge/freezer.
    We have put aside about two months for this trip. We plan to leave Cape Town around the middle of May. We are wondering whether we should do this trip clockwise or anti-clockwise, especially taking wet roads etc into consideration? We do not plan to spend time in Zambia on the way up. We should be able to afford the National Park fees, but we also hope to camp at several private campsites along the way, if there are any available?
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards, Alta

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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Quote Originally Posted by faniedup View Post
    We did this in 2005, many things could have changed by now ito Road conditions etc.

    At the time there were hardly any camp sites along the western side and we just bush camped.

    Roads were not great, cellphone reception better than expected and availability of fuel was not a problem.

    But that was a long time ago
    Hi Fanie, thanks for your comments! We are very keen to see a bit more of Tanzania, other than just rushing up to Serengeti!
    Kind regards, Alta

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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Welcome back to the forum, Alta. A great trip in the planning.


    However, it is not possible to get to the Mahale Mountains by vehicle. There are no roads in - and no roads out. It is possible, however, to get to the Mahale Mountains by boat along Lake Tanganyika and for that you will need to contact the lovely Chris and Louise Horsfall of the gorgeous Lakeshore Lodge at Kipili on the lake. Or you could fly in to the Mahale Mountains, but this is an expensive undertaking. There are a number of threads on this forum where the access to the Mahale Mountains has been discussed.

    The route you would want to take through western Tanzania and on to the Serengeti is:
    Sumbawanga - Kipili - Katavi - Kigoma - Tabora - Mwanza - Ndabaka gate into the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. This is a long old way and you would need at least a week to get to the western gate into the Serengeti..

    You will need to give me more information on how long you have available to undertake this trip before I comment regarding Rwanda.

    Safari njema!
    We went to Mahale (not on an island, by the way, it's a peninsula) from Lakeshore Lodge with Chris in their boat. You can get there by driving south from Kigoma to Karago and taking a boat from there, which is a shorter trip.

    An alternative route (the way we went) is Sumbawanga - Kipili - Katavi - Kigoma - NYAKANAZI - Mwanza - Ndabaka gate. It's shorter than via Tabora; you take a ferry at Kikongo to cross to the Mwanza road. WHen we travelled this route, from Kigoma to Nyakanazi was vert attractive - dusty but the road was OK. From there the CHinese were building new roads which should now be finished, so this section will be good. The Western Corridor of Serengeti (Grumeti) is well worth the time. FOr what it's worth, my opinion is that if you visit Serengeti there's little point in visiting Masai Mara as well - it's the same ecosystem - I'd spent the time in Rwanda (or perhaps Uganda).

    Rwanda is a jewel - very different from the rest of East Africa, and well worth visiting.

    Have a look at https://unochoenafrica.blogspot.com/...l-cielo-y.html and subsequent posts for ideas for Western Tanzania and Rwanda (and a bit of Eastern Tanzania as well).

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  15. #10
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    Default Re: Trip to tanzania incl western side

    Quote Originally Posted by alannymarce View Post
    We went to Mahale (not on an island, by the way, it's a peninsula) from Lakeshore Lodge with Chris in their boat. You can get there by driving south from Kigoma to Karago and taking a boat from there, which is a shorter trip.

    An alternative route (the way we went) is Sumbawanga - Kipili - Katavi - Kigoma - NYAKANAZI - Mwanza - Ndabaka gate. It's shorter than via Tabora; you take a ferry at Kikongo to cross to the Mwanza road. WHen we travelled this route, from Kigoma to Nyakanazi was vert attractive - dusty but the road was OK. From there the CHinese were building new roads which should now be finished, so this section will be good.
    As far as I am aware, there is nowhere safe to leave your vehicle at Karago in order to visit the Mahale Mountains NP. I asked the question of the then warden of Mahale NP in 2014. It might well have changed since then, but I would ask the question at JacobsenÂ’s in Kigoma before embarking on the Kigoma to Karago route. You would also need to book a banda in the park and organise the boat transfer. And then move all your camp stuff and food on the boat. Possible, but complicated, I fear. And yes, the Mahale Mountains are on a peninsula.

    The route you propose from Kigoma to Mwanza is not necessarily shorter or quicker. The road along the Burundi border, as you say, has (had?) extensive roadworks and the recent reports on this forum talk about long dusty diversions and roadworks. The route via Tabora was very interesting when we did it in 2014. It was mostly still a dirt road, but the Chinese were working on it. I have read that it is now mostly tarred. It is the route I wrote about in the excerpts from our blog which is on a thread on this forum currently one below or one above this thread. It took us 8 hours from Tabora to Kigoma in 2014 and I would say that this is still the time it would take. There is somewhere decent to stay or camp in Tabora. There is not really anywhere decent to stay or safely camp on the route you suggest via Nyakanazi. We camped at the old German boma at Biharamulo when we drove from Rwanda to Mwanza on a different leg of the journey. It is fine.

    Both the routes - Kigoma-Nyakanazi-Mwanza AND Kigoma-Tabora-Mwanza - are realistically both two day drives.

    Safari njema!

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