Chada Camp

Chada Camp: Our full report

Rooms
6 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 11 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
June–November

Chada Camp is a simple camp occupying a woodland spot on the edge of Chada Plain in the heart of Tanzania’s Katavi National Park. It aims to offer guests an authentic safari experience in this remote park 50km east of Lake Tanganyika – and is sometimes known as ‘Chada Katavi Camp’.The six safari tents at Chada face out towards the plains. While some have slightly better views than others, they all enjoy a great degree of privacy thanks to the fairly generous spacing between the tents. Each room has big gauze windows that allow the breeze to pass through – this is especially welcome August–October when it’s very dry – but keeps the insects out. Each tent is decorated with subtle natural fabrics and palm matting and feature a large, very comfortable beds, and a writing desk; outside, practical canvas chairs sit on the veranda. The rooms are simple in design, yet comfortable and well equipped.

Unusually for safari camps these days, each tent has a private tented bathroom which is slightly separate; it is a few paces from your tent and not en suite. In here you’ll find a chemical toilet and an outside bucket shower (hot water is available on request).

Chada Camp’s communal areas consist of a lounge-cum-library tent, where guests are welcome to sit and relax – a pair of binoculars in hand. On out last visit, in June 2013, we sat watching numerous elephants wander by, as well as a herd of several hundred buffalo on the plains. Afternoon tea will usually served here before you head out on your afternoon activity, while breakfast and lunch are dished up in the dining tent (if taken in camp) and dinner served outside on the decking under the stars. There’s a campfire set a little in front of the lodge, where guests usually gather for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles.

As you'd expect, safari activities are the main focus at Chada Camp. Chada's knowledgeable safari guides will lead you on 4WD game drives, accompanied by a picnic lunch and perhaps even a picnic breakfast too. Katavi National Park has plenty of open country, including the fringes of its great plains and often it can take a whole day to explore a section of the park. It's particularly good for walking safaris, which are always accompanied by an armed game scout. Game here is at its best towards the end of the dry season (August–October), when the small pools of water dry up and huge quantities of game file down to drink what little-available water there is each day.

Be aware that Katavi does have tsetse flies, which bite – and whilst the camp takes precautions to minimize these, few people will stay here for 3-4 nights without getting bitten. Thus it’s probably not the best destination for anyone who reacts very strongly to insect bites.

If you do stay here for more than 3–4 nights, then consider spending at least one night out in the bush, on an adventurous fly-camping trip

Our view

Chada is a wild camp, aiming to suit those who want a traditional safari experience, with good food, comfortable beds, and great guiding. You’re immersed in Katavi National Park bush, not insulated from it – and in one of the most remote and wild reserves in East Africa.

Geographics

Location: Katavi National Park, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: There are two flights a week into Katavi (Mondays and Thursdays), so guests usually stay 3–4 nights, unless they charter privately.

Directions: The camp is about a 30-minute straight drive from Ikuu airstrip. However, guests will usually take a leisurely hour’s game drive en-route to the camp.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Nomad

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Breakfast at Chada Camp is often taken with you if you choose to leave on an early-morning game drive. If you want to stay in camp, there is a selection of fruits and cereals, followed by cooked eggs, bacon and sausages, as well as tea, coffee and fruit juice.

Lunch can again be taken along if you’re out on a full-day game drive. However, many choose to return to camp and if you do you’ll probably be offered similar fare to what we ate on our last visit in June 2013: a light and fresh buffet selection of ham-and-tomato quiche, tomato and avocado salad, vegetable salad and freshly baked bread, followed by some pineapple for dessert.

Dinner is usually eaten together with all guests sharing a communal table. It’s generally a three-course set menu with the chance – as was the case on our last visit – to sample some local dishes. We started with a cheese soufflé, followed by a buffet selection of flame-grilled beef and pork, accompanied by some fresh vegetables, beans, tomato sauce and ugali – a porridge-like maize dish. Dessert was a vanilla cream. We really enjoyed the food at Chada – it was one of the highlights.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included at Chada except premium wines and spirits.

Further dining info: Room service isn’t really possible here as there are too many insects, which would be attracted to the food.

Special interests

Wildlife safaris: Chada camp is a very serious safari camp in one of Africa's most remote national parks. It's particularly noted for its sense of wilderness, and for large herds of buffalo hunted by big prides of lion!

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: The camp welcomes families with older children.

Property’s age restrictions: The minimum age at Chada Camp is 12 years.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Katavi National Park is a very remote and very wild. We’d only recommend this for well-behaved, older children who have an interest in nature.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: Chada has a backup generator and the lights in the tent normally work 24 hours a day. Any battery charging must be done in the main areas.

Communications: There is intermittent cellphone reception at Chada and no WiFi for guests to use. Internet is available in the office, but it can be only used in an emergency.

TV & radio: There is intermittent cellphone reception at Chada and no WiFi for guests to use. Internet is available in the office, but it can be only used in an emergency.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The camp has first-aid kits on-site and has links to flying doctors for any serious issues.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are askaris (armed guards), who escort guests to and from their tents as soon as it’s dark.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the rooms.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry – which is hand washed, line dried, and ironed with a coal iron – is currently included but, as with most camps in Tanzania, women’s underwear is not accepted. They are usually able to provide a same-day service if the weather is good.

Money: Any valuables can be given to the manager who will store them in the office.

Accepted payment on location: Although it is technically possible to pay with card for any extras here (Visa and MasterCard only), they have an old card machine which doesn’t always work, and so cash is recommended. (US$, GB£, euro and Tanzanian shillings are all usually accepted).