“Amazingly remote wilderness camp in Tanzania’s little-visited Katavi National Park”
Chada’s tents are pure authentic bush: beige canvas, quite spacious, and simply furnished with wooden beds spread with colourful African blankets. The bathrooms are just outside, with straw walls, a long-drop loo, and a canvas bucket shower suspended from the branches of a tree. Hot water is brought morning and evening (or on request) rather than being constantly on tap. A shade net window offers views out on to the plains. It’s a very heady feeling washing one’s face outside in the chilly dawn before a game drive, with zebras moving across the plain in front.
The tents are quite spread out from each other for privacy, and the lack of fences or boundaries means that at night, the sounds of animals going about their business come from just the other side of the canvas walls. All in all it's what you might call a genuine safari camp rather than a luxury lodge.
Breakfast and lunch at Chada Katavi take place in the open mess tent, on a long table with a panoramic view of the plains. Breakfast is a hearty affair with porridge, toast, and fry-ups being cooked to order. For lunch, wooden bowls are laid out containing a selection of salads and stir-fried vegetables accompanied by cheese, quiche and cold meat or fish. Picnics in the bush are very popular - Land Rovers drive out in advance and spread out lunch in a beauty spot under palm trees or on a riverbank. Rugs, giant cushions, deckchairs and books are provided for an afternoon spent lounging, reading or birdwatching.
Dinner is taken in the canvas mess tent, around a single table. Conversation is usually both erudite and lively, with the world being put to rights nightly, and tall stories flying. The youthful lodge manager Richard Pye contributes aplenty; his companion Mara, who trained as a chef in the UK, looks after the cuisine. Food is fairly simply cooked, but delicious and plentiful - mustard-glazed roast leg of lamb with fresh vegetables, followed by crème brûlée. Steaming cups of tea and coffee are served as a wake-up call before game drives; gin and tonic is a ritual at sundowner time; fine wines flow freely at dinner.
Game drives are very flexible - you can go out at any time of the day, for as long as you like, including driving off-road (forbidden in most parks). This means you can get pretty close to the herds of buffalo, wildebeest or zebra - sometimes several thousand strong - for which the park is famous. Hippo and crocodile are present in their hundreds in the creeks that crisscross the plains; and lions can also be seen in action.
After years of being famous for its ancient vehicles, Chada has recently invested in some smart new open-sided Land Cruisers.
Children over 8 are welcome and, provided they are robust and interested in wildlife, should have a great time. Only children over the age of 12 are permitted on the walking and fly camping activities. Each tent can fit an extra bed in, or children can share a tent (enquire for pricing in this instance). Kids aged 12+ are treated as adults.
Extra Beds Available