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Tanzania Road Trip: Arusha - Ruaha - Katavi and Back


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This is a much delayed report of a trip (September 2013). The intent was to report on this much sooner, but turns out I’m not much of a trip report or blogger sort and my initial efforts to keep some sort of a diary lasted less than 24 hours. I now have a much greater appreciation for those of you who do.

The original plan was to drive from Arusha to Morogoro, on to Ruaha, Kitulo, then Katavi and turn around and come back. Then it morphed into a “circle” of sorts where we would go to Katavi then up to Tabora and over to Babati and back to Arusha. However, it turned back into the original plan for reasons that will be discussed later. This trip has already been posted on Trip Advisor out of loyalty to a couple of people there who have provided us with a lot of info over the years. (We are quite new to ST.) So if you have already read this on TA, it’s pretty much the same info.


Anyway. From US to Amsterdam to JRO. All went well. Left in mid September. Tickets from Chicago to JRO were $1256 each and we cashed in American miles for round trip tickets from where we live to Chicago for a cost of $5. Arrived at JRO. We didn’t need VISA’s because ours hadn’t expired. Luggage arrived. (Yes, I failed at getting it all in carry on. Not by much, mind you, but I did fail.) Picked up by KIA hotel shuttle. Checked in with no issues and collapsed in bed. Although we usually stay in Arusha on first arrival, this trip we had no need to go into Arusha and we find KIA lodge comfortable and very convenient. Up early to meet up with George Mbwambo, our guide, at 6 am. (There are previous trip reports of travels with George posted by Atravelynn.) We met George several years ago on our first safari when he worked for a company we organized the safari through. Then he bought his own Land Cruiser and became a freelance guide and we have contacted him directly ever since. He has taken us many places. Sometimes two of us, sometimes just me and a couple of times with a car full of college students. He had just had his Land Cruiser modified to be the extended safari car version with lots more space and large windows so we felt like we were in luxury. The goal was Morogoro. We have driven there previously but this time took MUCH longer. There was a lot of construction, traffic and more than the usual police stops. So it was almost 6 pm by the time we got to Morogoro. But it is still a lovely drive and we always enjoy it.



Sisal field along the B1 highway


We went downtown to change some money and the guy seemed genuinely happy to see us, telling George that he used to work in Arusha and there just isn’t enough business in Morogoro. One thing I guess I hadn’t realized, and maybe it is this way with all currency, but the marked difference in exchange rate between smaller bills like 10’s and 20’s vs. 100 dollar bills. We have usually had bigger bills and I’ve just not paid any attention before and I don’t know that I’ve noticed this in other countries.


We stayed at the Arc Hotel, which we have stayed at before and really like. This time we were on the second floor in very nice, large rooms that are exceptionally clean with air conditioning that worked unbelievably well, ceiling fans, and bed nets. Lovely balcony. The rooms were 70,000 TS per room. Food in the restaurant is quite good. Beer is cold. Service at the front desk is great. Service in the restaurant is acceptable to good and much improved from previous years. WiFi is available in the lobby but not in the rooms. Just a side note, depending on the time of year we have been in Morogoro, the mosquitoes have been hell. This time of year wasn’t quite as bad. May was horrible and we would always eat inside at the restaurant for dinner because of it.


13199425565_a6880ec786_z.jpgArc Hotel View from balcony by Kilopascal,




13199690543_ef696ec127_z.jpgRoom at Arc Hotel by Kilopascal,


Up and out the next morning at 7 am to go to Ruaha. Stopped in Iringa for lunch. Have long since forgotten where. A brief stop for George to buy a few kilos of rice because it is much cheaper here than in Arusha. Then on our way to Ruaha. We are barely out of Iringa and have our first, and turns out, only flat tire. George quickly changed it then looked for a place to get the tire repaired. George always has two spares but wanted to get it repaired here if we could. It was Sunday afternoon and it turned out to be more difficult than we thought. But, eventually back on the road to Ruaha and Mdonya Camp. Iringa to Mdonya camp took about 2.5 hours.


So, when we were setting up this trip we looked at several options for accommodation in Ruaha. Our initial email to Flycathchers apparently got lost someplace in the land of lost emails, so we started checking with others. If you are driving in with a guide instead of just flying in to a camp, make sure and check when you are booking what the cost of the driver accommodation will be. It varied from nothing to half-price or not available (or essentially full price). We had mixed feelings about Mdonya. It is absolutely a lovely setting with nice tents and the “shower under the stars” was something I really liked. The service here was very good. This is a nice camp, but wouldn’t rank among our favorites although I’m not sure we could identify why. Dinner is all guests together which we enjoy. Most guests raved about the food but in our experience with camps in Tanzania, we would rate it good, but not outstanding. It is true, that this camp is a bit of a drive, but we enjoy that and would just leave very early in the morning, take lunch with us, and return in the evening. Booking with Mdonya was quite easy, and they let our guide stay free of charge. Flora responded almost immediately to every email and the money transfer for deposit and payment was painless. We spent 4 nights here and absolutely loved Ruaha, but I have to say we found the tsetse in some sections of the park worse than Katavi. Only really annoying one day, however. Beautiful park and we particularly liked the day we drove to the “little Serengeti”. I think we may go back someday in a trip combined with Selous. We did not however, find a sable antelope. Bummer.
















Kudu eating from toothbrush bush











Giraffe at mineral lick



Elephant pair digging for water


Now a bit about George. George loves birds. We enjoy birds but are basically the “look, cool bird” type. However, by the time we’ve spent a few days with George we are really in to it. Unfortunately we don’t remember year to year as well as we’d like and George has to start his tutoring all over. It’s difficult for us to judge just how good of a bird guide George is, since our knowledge of birds is so basic, but he certainly invests the time and effort into finding them, seems able to identify most of them and then will find a description for us in his guide book or in his I-pad ap. He is also willing to say he doesn’t know and we all work at finding it out. This only happened twice on this trip and never in the north, which is his regular safari “territory”. One of the highlights was watching a martial eagle consume an entire guinea fowl Bones, feet, and all, dropping a few bits to the two jackals below. We spent 4 nights in Ruaha and our time came to an end too soon.









Martial eagle cleaning beak





White-crested helmet shrike



Ruaha hornbill



Red-headed weaver



Lesser-striped swallow



Northern white-crowned shrike



Collared palm-thrush



Red-necked spur fowl





That's all for now. A big thank you to Kittykat for her tutorial that was posted on how to import pictures from flickr. There is not a chance in hell I'd have figured that out on my own. Any suggestions on how to improve the posting of said pictures is welcome. Or correction on any of the names I have randomly assigned to the birds.

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Thank you for starting this report @@kilopascal! Enjoyed the lion pride with cubs, greater kudu, leopard and birds photos. This is of a particular interest for me, since myself and my wife are heading for Ruaha at the end of September. How many lion sightings did you have for four days? I would love to see more photos from Ruaha, if possible...

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Thank you for sharing your safari with us.


I am going to Ruaha and Katavi in sep. Camping at special campsites around Mwagusi river in Ruaha and different places i Katavi.


So like @@FlyTraveler I want more:-)

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Thank you for posting. A very interesting report with really good photos. Beautiful leopard!

When you talk about the difference in exchange rates for large or small dollar bills, which got the better rate?

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Here it is! I was wondering if you ever would report. Glad you did.


Funny you mention your email to Flycatchers got lost. Lots of mine did, or that's what I am assuming. I eventually used them through an agent and all was great. Good hint on checking what cost of the driver accommodation will be if it varies so widely.


Fascinating Martial Eagle dining on Guinea Fowl. Gorgeous leopard!


Thanks for joining and posting. Any more adventures with George? I believe I saw a kudu photo George took on your trip. It was on his ipad.

Edited by Atravelynn
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What a great idea to do it this way - with George and your own car. Lovely photos and I too look forward to hearing more. I loved the elevated landscape shot.

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Thank you for the words of encouragement. Maybe that will keep me focused. @ Fly Traveler we had lion sitings 3 out of 4 days and we weren't really looking for them. I think if you were with one of the Ruaha camps drivers they would probably know where to head and the sitings would be even more. On several of them we were the only ones there for any period of time. Other cars tended to move on. The only time there was a bigger group was when a pride with several cubs was less than 3 minutes from the camp and the cubs were really wound up playing.


@@TonyQ the $100 bills have a better exchange than the smaller denominations. So there have been times when we have tipped someone with several $20 bills instead of $100, and I guess this would mean less money for them. Not a lot, mind you, but still interesting. It went down with each less denomination (or at least this was the case in Morogoro). So $50 was less than $100, $20 less than $50 etc.


@@Atravelynn - we almost always have something in the works with George. We are addicted to Tanzania but I think we need to branch out. Kenya is the only other African country we have been to. Maybe we'll see what George thinks about driving to Zambia :rolleyes:


So - onward...

We left Ruaha around 7:30 with a lunch packed for us by Mdonya and a goal of Kitulo. The drive was all new for the two of us. George had been this route before when picking up a car from Mbeya with a friend. Amazingly no traffic stop today. We love road trips and George stops along the way to buy our favorite car foods of cashews, dates, and bananas from various hawkers along the road. We also brought a couple of thumb drives loaded with music that we plugged into the USB port on George’s radio. We learned from previous adventures with George that we’d best supply some music or we might spend 10 days listening to Reggae or Alan Jackson. Over, and over, and over. We did make an effort to bring music that we thought George would enjoy along with us and we left the thumb drive for him at the end. The Tanzam highway is very busy with all the trucks on the road. We usually do our own driving in most countries but, quite frankly, I would find doing it here just too much work and not enough time to be a lookie loo. It feels like luxury having a driver. There were some areas along the road with numerous curves that are apparently notorious for truck accidents. There were several guys sitting alongside the road and George told us they will wait for a truck to wreck and then quickly make off with the goods. We witnessed a minor example of this when a truck lost its fire extinguisher and a couple of guys went sprinting at top speed across a field toward it. George flashed his lights at the truck and when they pulled over he told them what they had lost, but we are not sure they were able to retrieve it.


We turned south at Chimala onto a dirt/gravel road that Bradt’s guide says is called Hamsini na Saba or ‘57’ which refers to the number of hairpin turns along its length. The drive was beautiful and I wouldn’t describe most of the turns as “hairpin”. I don’t recall how long this trip took but it was not as long as I expected, and it helped that we were thoroughly enjoying the scenery and the little communities along the way. George had a minor family emergency and we had stopped to ask some locals at a football match where we might get cell service. They said there were a couple of places at the top, along the road that were marked. And yes indeed, we came upon 3 sticks that had been “planted” in the road and magically Vodafone service appears. We did know that this was not the time of year to go to Kitulo but felt it was unlikely that we would be in this area again so decided to go. Turns out it was especially bad timing as the park had just, and I do mean just, undergone a controlled burn. But, no worries. We decided that we would still check it out a bit the next day but then get an earlier start on the trip to Mbeya.


The village of Matamba sits close to the park and we started to look for a place to stay in the town. This village is lovely and clean with a lot of very friendly people. We started searching for a place to stay and started with the Zebra Motel. They only had one room availabe but offered us the owner’s room, but it would take a while to clean it. George has taught us to ask to see the rooms. George didn’t particularly like the look (or smell apparently) of the place and so declined. Then we happened upon the Super Eden Motel. Small family run guest house that looked inviting and clean from the outside anyway. The owner’s son showed us a couple of rooms. The first with three beds for “all of us”. Hmm. “ Have you got anything else?” The next was two rooms, each with a double bed. Nice thick blankets because it gets fairly cold at this altitude. Ensuite bathrooms and a very low price. Deal! The rooms were very clean including the bathrooms that had the usual sink, toilet and shower head. None of which, it turns out, have running water. Not a problem. A bucket of water to flush with and they were heating water for “bathing”. Since they weren’t expecting us though, the water heating took a fair bit of time but we checked out the village and had a beer. Dinner was also a bit of a wait. You have to catch the chicken, kill the chicken, clean the chicken. Oh darn……we have to have another couple of beers. Many people wandered by to have a look at the wazungu and were a very friendly lot. Dinner finally arrives. Chicken and rice for us and chicken and ugali for George. Now here is where we had a drastically differing opinion to George on the quality of the meal. I have an iron stomach and will try almost anything. George starting eating and said “good chicken”! What!!!! I swear we could barely rip it off the bone and chewing was akin to eating a rubber hose. This was, without question the toughest piece of a bird I have ever eaten. I thought maybe ours was somehow different to George’s but could see that he was happily ripping it off with his teeth just like us. Hmmm. More rice please. And maybe another beer. We said nothing, ate it and laughed about it later in bed for quite a while. We were very tired and it was nice and cool in the room, so despite the combo goat and chicken pen just outside the window our sleep here was glorious. All in all a very fun day.



Super Eden Motel Matamba


The next day another bucket of very hot water was waiting outside the door early in the morning. Then we met the mama and the grandmother during breakfast who were very warm and welcoming, and we were off after George paid the man who guarded his car for the night. The chance to walk around Kitulo a bit was a welcome change from the car. New birds added to our list And we really enjoyed the drive up and the stay in the village. I now greatly regret not stopping and taking pictures of the villages along the way and my efforts at landscape photography of the area just didn't cut it. On to Mbeya.



Our car and George on the road down to Chimala


George had been to Mbeya recently and took us to the very reasonably priced Diamond Hotel. We had the obligatory beer and then had a shower while George went off to get a haircut and the car washed. Nice rooms. Service varied from excellent to very surly. Oh well. Small restaurant and bar with cold beer, okay food, and a very unpleasant young woman serving. The same woman who the next day said to George that someone had stepped on a towel in our room and there would be a 5000 shilling fee. George said “hey, did you step on your towel” and I said, “uh … maybe”. He just shook his head and forked over the 5000. This fee forever after known as my’ towel fine’. Okay, I get it. Laundry is done by hand. It would be helpful however, if you could shower without the entire bathroom getting wet and staying wet for several hours after. I had laid the towel down at the entrance to the bathroom and when I was checking the room just before leaving I stepped on the towel. I would feel better about my ‘towel fine’ if I thought for one minute that the person washing my towel actually got the money. But, the beds were great, the rooms very clean, and the price was right. A little noisy but overall okay experience. Moved the car inside the gate at night and George once again paid someone to guard it. Next goal, Sumbawanga.


On the way out of Mbeya, we stopped at a market/bus station to stock up on water. Everything from clothes to food and beyond being sold here and George tries a few places before getting the price he wants. The Diamond hotel is on the east side of Mbeya so there was a little bit of time getting through the town but once again, we are in our glory of taking in the sights while George does all the work. As we get close to Tunduma and the border with Zambia we find a mass of trucks extending for about 10 km waiting to cross the border. It takes over an hour to weave our way through this, coming to a complete halt at various points where we have people pounding on the windows telling us they can be our guide in Zambia. George tells them his name is Frank and that we are just going to Tunduma, not letting anyone know we are driving to Sumbawanga. We finally get through and the going gets much better. All but 50 kms of the road to Sumbawanga was new tarmac and there is very little traffic. It was a beautiful, smooth drive and a relatively quick trip.


Sumbawanga was a surprise to me. I was expecting something smaller I guess. Nice size town. We check out the Forest Inn. George announced it was time for me to practice my negotiation skills so I got out to have a look. Strange hotel. A little creepy. The room was very dark and the whole place strangely deserted so we moved on. Next we stopped at the Kalambo Falls hotel because we had seen a sign for it earlier. Beautiful new hotel but no vacancies. And I suspect a little above what we are used to spending. I asked at the desk about a hotel they would recommend and they directed us to the Holland Hotel. Awesome place!! Enormous rooms with these big, kind of Victorian style windows and some comfy sitting chairs. Unfortunately once again I forgot to take pictures but there are a couple online at the hotel web site. They do not, however, do the rooms justice.


George is going out for petrol and asks us if we want to go with him and check out the town. As we are leaving the parking area, a pickup with several men with large guns comes roaring in through the gate. Some are in police attire, some not. They jump out of the back and head for the hotel. George is very curious but still quickly leaves. We chuckle at his hypothesis that the daughter of a local dignitary must be having a liason in one of the rooms. Upon our return to the hotel he asks the desk staff and they say someone had been using counterfeit money and they believed the person was at the hotel, but that turned out not to be the case. Wow. A lot of fire power for that! The rest of the stay was uneventful. Cold beer. The usual fare for dinner that was good but not exciting. Service all around was excellent. The parking area is gated and, as usual, George paid someone to guard the car.


As nice as the road was to Sumbawanga we were sort of hopeful that it would continue all the way to Katavi. Nope. A few kilometers out it turns to dirt road with very little work toward tarring apparent, so I suspect it will be a while. This was, however, last September, so things may have progressed some.

Beautiful areas as you approach Katavi with much different topography. We enter the park at the south and the park headquarters is at the north near Sitalike so we drive all the way up here. Turns out we could have just gone to our camp and someone would have been out to collect our fee when other clients come in to the air strip. We had yet to eat and George was starving. We eat at one of the local food stands with the owner’s very young child happily joining us then head back to Flycatchers camp. On our way into the camp, we drive for a bit along the Katuma river and there seem to be African fish eagles everywhere. Then as we are crossing the bridge an African Harrier Hawk appears on the railing and I turn around to see a water monitor crossing the road. Wow. And we’ve only just got here. There are numerous hippo and enormous crocodiles. There is still a reasonable amount of water and various water fowl everywhere.



African Fish Eagle



African Harrier Hawk









Marabou storks sunbathing



Striated Heron





Yellow-billed Stork



Grey Heron



Saddle-billed Stork, male






Flycatchers camp. Excellent!!! Our kind of camp. Small camp. Outstanding value for money. The camp manager, Nazir (please excuse any misspelling of the name), is also the head guide. Food was outstanding. Tents are basic but have everything you need and, it seems to us, more fitting for coming to this remote park than staying in the more luxurious camps. The first night there were 4 other people from Switzerland who were lovely company and also a camp manager from one of Flycathcher’s other camps. As I said previously, my first email to Flycatchers went unanswered so George checked in at their office in Arusha. They emailed me and arranging our stay here was very easy. We wired the money to George and had him pay at the office in Arusha. The camp is very reasonably priced and when we enquired about the cost for our guide they said he could stay in the guide’s quarters for no charge or in one of the client’s tents for half the fee. We told George we were happy to pay for him to stay in one of the tents but he declined. He knows several of the guides here, since the camp moves to Ndutu for part of the year, and he enjoyed being with them. Meals are served all together and the first and third night Nazir and George ate with us. Laid back yet outstanding service. Excellent food and the people who went out with Nazir had nothing but praise for his skills. I would be interested to try out their camp in Ruaha.



Our tent at Flycatchers Katavi


Like most people we loved Katavi and would like to make a return trip to just Katavi, flying in and staying at Flycatchers. Nazir gave George some thoughts on where to head each day. The first day out we were exceptionally excited about our Roan siting. There was constantly something to hold our attention and rare to see another car. We did come across a lion with cubs on the second day, but darned if I can find the photos.









Southern Ground-hornbill





Roan Antelope





Lilac-breasted Roller









Yellow-throated Sandgrouse


The last day we went to Paradise Valley which is gorgeous. Too many birds to count or remember. Reed buck. Roan antelope. Elephants. A big herd of water buffalo although way in the distance. Owls. Water monitor. We parked under a tree with an owl just above us and had a leisurely lunch and rested a bit. It was extremely hot this day and we spent a bit of time with the car opened up, just waiting to see what would wander by. On the drive in we happened on a small herd of elephant. One turned to give a bit of a warning as we got close when they were crossing the road and she kept on eye glued on us and blocked the road for quite a while. As she did this, another elephant turned away from the herd, quietly circled around the back of our car although she was a fair distance away from us, then she joined back up with the rest on the other side, watching us the entire time The tsetse were not near as bad as I was expecting. There were two sections on our way to paradise where you absolutely had to roll up all the windows and power through, but other than this, it wasn’t a problem.



Palm-nut Vulture









Grey Kestrel



Grey Crowned Crane





Verreaux Eagle-Owl







African Jacana






Bohor Reedbuck



Water buffalo at Paradise Valley



Sunset as seen from our tent


We spent 3 nights at Katavi and our original plan was to drive to Sitalike then onto Tabora, Singida, Babati. About 2 weeks before we had arrived there were two instances of banditry around Tabora that had been reported in the news. One involving a bus and one a car and one person in the car was injured with a machete. George had told us this and said he was a little concerned but that we could ask the “guys” at Flycatchers what they thought. They told us that if it were just George it would probably be fine, but “with wazungu in the car don’t even think about it”. George said he would do whatever would wanted but, despite the fact that we were kind of looking forward to the adventure of the drive, we decided why risk spoiling what had been a near perfect holiday and we heeded their advice. So, after three nights we left and drove back to Mbeya. We were expecting the same issues around the border, but amazingly there were only 4 trucks! Shortly after this we were stopped by police at a speed trap. I have no idea if we were truly speeding. As many of you know, it may or may not be the case but they pointed to the number on the radar gun and claimed we were. George gets out and starts with the usual pleasantries and denials, but it’s all very collegial. At almost the same time a truck that had been following us is pulled over. As we are waiting for George we see an argument is ensuing between one of the gentlemen from the truck and the police. It is getting more heated, his friend is trying to calm him down and they briefly speak to George, then more heated discussion with the police and a lot of gesturing toward our car. We are mildly concerned but George does not seem at all alarmed so we decide it must be okay. George pays whatever fine (or bribe) the offense calls for and gets back in. He is laughing and tells us that the guys are upset because the police are claiming that they were going 20 km faster than George was going. Since they were not gaining on us at all, they are insisting that this is impossible. Which is probably true. We get to Mbeya and return to the Diamond hotel. Same room for us but a ‘closet’ for George this time as they were booked up. Wasn’t really a closet, just very small, but also very cheap. Still, it was spotlessly clean and had everything you need for one night. Surly girl tried to ‘forget’ about my change when paying for the rooms. She said she would have to go get change from the store next door. I said no problem that I would wait. Not the answer she wanted. I did not incur a ‘towel fine’ this time.


We struck out the next day with the goal of Morogoro. We were pretty much out of shillings and arrived in Iringa and looked for a place to change money. It was not open, but the locals told George to go talk to Uncle Said at the furniture store and he would change our money. So, off we went and when George sees Said he immediately recognizes him as a taxi driver that he knew from Arusha who had left with no one really knowing where he went. So, it was a bit of old home week and Uncle Said gave us the best exchange rate of the trip. We arrived in Morogoro, with the plans of staying two nights and chilling out a bit. Turns out this was an excellent idea because the next day I was very under the weather and a day in the car would have been torture. George went to have the car serviced and we connected briefly with some friends that live in Morogoro but then I spent most of the afternoon snoozing and felt much better by that evening. I think George was grateful for the day off from this marathon as well.


We leave shortly before sunrise the next morning because we need to get back for our flight and we want to have time for any delays. Within 5 minutes of being on the road we are stopped for speeding along with at least 6 other cars and more to come. As George is talking to one of the police, we watch the police woman with the radar gun, randomly pointing it at nowhere in particular and just waving people over. It’s a complete farce. The rest of the trip back to Arusha was uneventful and faster than the trip down. George stopped to buy a couple of bags of charcoal at his favorite coal truck but other than that, no excitement. We get pulled over at one point by another police woman who wants George to take her friend to another town. George tells her “no, my bosses are in the car and I will get fired”. As we drive off he mutters “this is not a bus” which makes us laugh. We went to the bar at Kia lodge and got a beer and something to eat and squared away all the financial stuff. It was still a bit early, but we told George we wouldn’t mind waiting at the airport. He only had two days before his next safari and we thought a bit of family time would be nice. So we said our thank you’s and goodbyes and joked about where we would make him take us next. Ultimately we’ve decided on a short trip up around the Mara river this September, so we will see George again in about 5 weeks.


Mission Accomplished! (I think. When I preview this, some of the photos show up some of the time and then the next time not. So I guess we will see.) Sorry about the lack of important details. I’ll try and do better in the future!






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What better way to start a new week of work than with a splendid trip report like this?


Thank you, I very much enjoyed this. Terrific sightings, and quite the adventure. Had to chuckle at your towel fee, first time I´ve heard of such a thing. :)


Flycatcher´s has been on my mind for some time now, so good you enjoyed it so much there. Unfortunately they seem to have stopped doing Mahale, at least they have stopped mentioning their camp there.




turns out I’m not much of a trip report or blogger sort and my initial efforts to keep some sort of a diary lasted less than 24 hours. I now have a much greater appreciation for those of you who do.


I don´t keep a journal either - tiresome affair! Pics have to be enough to remember. ;)




We did not however, find a sable antelope.


But lots of roan apparently, so that should make up for that!




There were some areas along the road with numerous curves that are apparently notorious for truck accidents. There were several guys sitting alongside the road and George told us they will wait for a truck to wreck and then quickly make off with the goods.


Wow, what vultures. Despicable.




You have to catch the chicken, kill the chicken, clean the chicken


"You" as "you yourself"? :huh:


Great pics, especially enjoyed the leopard, the martial eagle and the bushbuck. And love all the bird pics. Your African Jacana might be a Lesser Jacana.


Thanks again.

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I have really enjoyed this report!

It is great to hear about your travels through the country as well as the wildlife and parks.

Katavi looks excellent.

So many good photos - I especially like the baby elephant enjoying the water, the 2 friendly giraffes and good that you saw the roan.

It sounds like you have a gem in George

Thank you for putting this together!

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@@kilopascal, what an adventure! So glad you took the time to write and post for us. It is always fun to hear of the out of ordinary, driving expeditions that I would be completely out of my element. Well, probably just scared to death if pulled over by police :wacko:


What a delight hearing about George!


Great images and happy you were able to post them. I am already worrying about my abilities in a few months. I forget these things and always need refreshers!


Love Ruaha; hear Katavi is wonderful as well. Thanks for sharing - esp. the baby; cute as can be giraffes and all the birds, and of course roan. Saw my only Sable last year first time ever. Keep looking, it will turn up :D

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You have a great traveler's attitude and seem to take all these adventures in stride and with good humor. And this is to say nothing of your photos! I particularly like the "two-headed" giraffe shot. I hope to be reading of your Mara River trip in a few months' time.

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You have to catch the chicken, kill the chicken, clean the chicken


"You" as "you yourself"? :huh:


Great pics, especially enjoyed the leopard, the martial eagle and the bushbuck. And love all the bird pics. Your African Jacana might be a Lesser Jacana.


Thanks again.



No, fortunately, I was not the chicken executioner. Although that would have really added to the adventure.


I originally thought this could be a Lesser Jacana when reviewing pictures. I asked George. He said no, juvenile African. He based this on the beak and head. In some pictures, if you blow them up, the beak is a distinct blue. I thought about just calling it a baby duck but then I would get George's "teacher look", which is hysterical.


Thanks to all of you who have responded because Safari Talk now says I'm hot.... Oh wait. That's probably not about me is it.

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Great fun reading your tripreport, especially since I wil bee there in less than 4 weeks.

Nice to hear that tsetseflies are not that big a problem in Katavi.

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@@Africalover - I am very jealous. You will be there just a couple of weeks earlier than we were. I would love to go back and spend a week or so at each park. Have a great time. I look forward to reading about it, or just seeing some pictures if you are a relunctant trip reporter like a lot of us.

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Thank you I will.


I am really looking forward to this trip. I have been camping wild in Ruaha and Selous before. But since I "discovered" Katavi some years ago I was dreaming of going there. We will camp wild around Paradise, Lake Chada, ect.

I hope to make a TR.


It will be a great adventure.

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Funny chicken and rice tale!


"We had the obligatory beer and then had a shower while George went off to get a haircut and the car washed." That is so George. So is "This is not a bus."


Hilarious towel fee story and I can imagine the counterfeit caper playing out, along with the police woman waving the radar gun indiscriminately.


Glad to know Nazir is still at Flycatchers. I still remember he could smell a snake in the area. A talent likely developed over many years. I too loved the camp. Very prolific for game viewing right from the camp.


Excellent tales and photos. Nice going with the roan.

Edited by Atravelynn
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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest kuduuu

GREAT trip report! Fun fun fun sightings! Loved that you took so many pictures of birds, ugh, and I am absolutely in love with your leopard moment, simply beautiful.

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I've only just seen this, not sure how I missed it before but I'm in awe of your adventurous spirit. What a wonderful thing to do and it's so nice when you build a relationship with a guide whose prepared to try these sorts of trips.

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Kuduuu and Twaffle

Thank you very much. It was indeed a very fun adventure. As to the bird photography, not the greatest but it is improving. Before going, I finally invested a significant amount of time with an online tutorial on how to use my camera, especially the autofocusing features, instead of just winging it. So much still to learn! Only 20 more days and I'll be back in Tanzania.

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