Reviews of Chada Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Chada Camp review
This was a step back in time towards the original pioneering camps. Although the rooms were well-kept and hot showers readily available, the need to unzip and re-zip tent doors was a bit tedious. We discussed this with Mohammed the excellent manager who told us that he had already raised it with management with a view to re-designing certain aspects of the camp.
Once again, we saw a wide variety of birds and animals and our guide Gabriel was a font of knowledge and passionate about "his" wildlife. Although he has worked all over Tanzania, he clearly loves Chada and Katavi.
Sadly, the main drawback for this camp at this time of year was the Tsetse flies. While I can accept that their presence ensures the habitat is preserved from population and cultivation, their incessant biting is off-putting to say the least. None of the proprietary gels and sprays seem to deter them although a locally made citronella-based lotion seem to have some effect.
Tanzanian Birthday Adventure
Chada camp was delightful with nice tents well spaced out and with en suite facilities and great bucket showers on request, The staff lead by Mohammed were all very helpful and charming. Our guide Emmanuel was superb - displaying and sharing his great knowledge of the area, the vegetation and the wildlife. His time keeping was, perhaps, a little lax which did upset our companions in our safari vehicle but was not a problem to us.
Wildlife was sparse with the vast herds of buffalo having disappeared just prior to our arrival but that is beyond anyone's control and seeking them out does add to the sense of adventure ! Another addition to the excitement is the regular visits, to the camp, by elephant. On one occasion we could have touched them they were so close to our tent.
We could not fault the camp in any way
The tsetse fly are a problem and seem to like Deet and the like but after some research I discovered Dettol, put on the skin did seem to deter them. It is not the perfect solution as you have to walk around smelling like a hospital (or worse, a public toilet) but It really did seem to work whilst Emmanuel was covered in the wretched things we were only troubled by a few. I tried one game drive without the Dettol nd I was eaten alive!!
Our disappointment was the area of Katavi - from all the reviews we had read we had not expected to be aware of several other camps and their associated vehicles ! It was not the isolation we had anticipated. A large dirt road runs through the national park and we often encountered buses and lorries using this road which passed very close to an area of water with many hippo, crocodile and birds.
Eleanor was right to advise us to make this our first stop as I think our disappointment would have been greater had we already visited some of the other wonderful places on our trip.
Our overall view is of a great camp and I am sure that other folk visiting will enjoy the experience especially if they are lucky with the game spotting.
Chada Camp review
Buffalo herds and concentrations of hippos very impressive. Night drive, walking safari and fly camping all very good. Our guide Paulo was good an knowledgable. The camp askari Francis was kind and helpful at all times and had a great sense of humour. The tent was good, but the large number of zips that needed to be opened and closed to get to the bathroom was tedious.
When we arrived we were not made aware of the fact that the manager was not there as he was ill. A young private guide called Ethan had been drafted in and all he said was that he had been asked to give us a safety briefing. He was at the camp while we were there and he was kind and helpful.
Unfortunately, Shireen fell badly on the first night as the steps down from the mess tent were not well lit. We did have torches, but she missed seeing the drop at the side and bruised her back quite badly.
Hopefully they will now have kerosene lamps at the edges and maybe paint the edges of steps in white as they have done successfully at Greystoke Camp.
Chada Camp review
Good place and well located and certainly a very good set of staff both at the camp and the game drives.
Lots of game to see and good sightings of both grazing animals and cats, lion and leopard.
They do carry out walks but be a little wary of who you guides you as the qulaity of the guides for walks varies and thus how much you get out of it.
Well worth the journey
Getting to Chada Katavi involves a three hour plus light aircraft flight across Tanzania from Arusha (or Ruaha) but is well worth the effort. We were impressed by the camp, expertly run by Mark and Kristen who are great hosts and really nice people, and really enjoyed our stay there.
The sheer distance, time and cost involved getting there means that visitor numbers are low (for now - that appears to be changing as word gets out about Katavi) so we seldom saw other vehicles as we explored a small corner of this enormous park, expertly guided by Mark, Paul and Gabriel.
The fly-camping trip to a section known as Paradise was particularly worthwhile (indeed we would strongly recommend either a day or overnight trip there for anyone staying four nights or longer); and it was good to be able to do a couple of decent walks during our total four night stay.
Mammals are plentiful - especially hippos crowded into diminishing pools as the dry season bites - and we were very impressed by the bird life.
Very remote and quiet camp
We did something which seems to be pretty unusual - visit Mahale first and then Katavi. When we got to Katavi at first; I thought that was going to have been a mistake. It was so dry and burnt after Mahale! However while it turned into a running joke with our guide Philip, that I would start everything with "when we were at Mahale....", and while I think I probably would advise people to do it the other way round if possible (also because doing it this way means a lot more flying and more cost), we did really enjoy our stay in this unique environment.
Chada camp was nice. Obviously our room/tent was less luxurious than the ones we had in the previous two camps, but we expected that and were very happy with it. It was good to have a change and a spell in a more traditional camp.
The only problems with the tent at Chada were (a) it was very, very hot and so almost impossible to go into the tent in the afternoon for a siesta; and (b) there were bees living in the drop shower which made having a shower in daylight extremely hazardous! We only tried it once.
We soon found that the camp was no stranger to large visitors. Elephants were common sights. One came to try to get the dregs of the water from our shower and gave us a bit of excitement; another reason for being a little wary of using the shower! We also had giraffes and at night there were numerous passing hyena.
Our guide, as I have said was Philip. We really enjoyed being with him. He had a great sense of humour and was very knowledgeable and intent on ensuring that we had a good time. We were lucky to be sharing the safari vehicle with a South African who was also a guide (and who was doing a tour of Tanzania for work purposes) so we did not miss much with two pairs of eagle eyes in the vehicle!
I think it would be fair to say that the concentration of animals in Katavi was not as high as some places, although we did see a lot - but the great thing was when you did see something you did not end up with lots of other safari vehicles converging on it - as did tend to happen at Sayari. We spent quite a bit of time watching the poor hippos packed in to disappearing pools and the crocs.
We also tried very hard to see lions hunting successfully but while we watched a few attempts, none was successful. One day we drove to an area called "Paradise" which was quite a distance from the camp and had it all to ourselves. There we saw large herds of buffallo which were impressive. We also went on an enjoyable walking safari.
We went fly camping. That is something I would definitely recommend. It was amazing how they managed to take every comfort-pretty much-with us-and the food was great. While the main camp was not exactly in a metropolis(!), in fly camping you do really feel out in the middle of the bush. However there was one thing which rankles a bit with us. We were asked when we arrived on which of the 4 nights we wished to go fly camping. I think we were the only guests that had booked it (although our safari-vehicle- companions ended up coming and one of the other guests who was a Nomad manager from another camp). We decided on the 3rd night of the 4. However having planned with our guide what we were going to do that night etc, -which was to go to the Paradise area - we were then asked if we would mind changing it to the last night. While we did not mind which night it was, we were looking forward to it - thinking it would be a bit of a highlight - and did not want the morning to be rushed. We suspected it would be rushed if we had to get back to the airport. But we were assured that it would not be rushed as we would camp in the direction of the airport. So we agreed.
Admittedly we were not pressurised to agree but we did get the impression that for some reason it would be awkward for them if we did not, as they needed the vehicles that would transport the equipment etc somewhere else. However what we feared happened. Our guide was obviously tense on the last morning about getting packed up to go. We had a very short walk but it felt very time pressured. Then at breakfast we felt we had to hurry. So I am afraid while we enjoyed the experience, we felt that it was a bit spoiled by this.
The food was really good at Chada as well and the staff were very friendly again. The managers were great raconteurs, of an evening particularly! Because it was such a small camp, similar to Greystoke, it was easy to get know everyone and felt like a house party.
The tstese flies were a big problem here. They were appalling. We got very badly bitten as did some of the other guests. We had to constantly fan ourselves while in the vehicle but it did not work. We were particularly badly bitten on the ankles, even with socks on. I think this may have been the worst time of year for them but I think you should probably warn people. We met a few people on our trip who said they would not go to Katavi for that reason.
I should also mention that as far as we were aware at none of our first four destinations did we get troubled by mosquitos, or even see one. Again that is no doubt a seasonal thing.
Chada Camp review
The co-managers were very attentive and personable.
The staff was uniformly friendly and on top of everything.
Our driver/guide Frederick was excellent.
A top-notch experience.
Chada Camp review
Great camp, great guide. Three nights fly camping was everything it should be. Lucky enough to get a guide to ourselves for most of the time - which meant we could spend hours at some good spot just sitting watching animals come out of the bush and "birding". Four hours sitting by the river watching lions mate, pied kingfishers fish, and crowned cranes wander.
Did not leave one fly camp site (Paradise) until well after midday - just sat watching hippos, a variety of waders and herons, and eagles fighting. Three hours at a waterhole watching two elephants drink slowly from the only clean water supply whilst everyone else (including playful young elephants) waited patiently or drank from the muddy pool shared with giraffe, zebra and mud bathing warthogs.
Apparently Nomad will guarantee a guide to yourselves for a supplement - why isn't EA mentioning this?
Fantastic camp to explore wild Katavi
Katavi was probably the highlight of our safari - great game and untouched by tourism and modernity, it truly feels like a world away from modern life. The concentration of hippos, crocs and buffalo was truly incredible and the varied, untamed landscape of plains and woodland serve as a great backdrop.
Chada blends in perfectly into this landscape as highlighted by the frequent camp visits of all kinds of wildlife and we really got the feeling of being immersed in this wilderness.
One can see how much thought has gone into every little detail of this remote outpost, from the tents to the library tent and the comfortable 4-seater vehicles. Food was great, service flawless and camp managers Nicola and Peter made you feel very welcome every step of the way and their personal attention only added to the experience.
Regarding the much written about Tse-Tse flies - we felt that they were a distraction during the afternoon activities, but not really a major issue - and the camp itself is free of them.
Chada Camp review
Very friendly management.
Our guide was a bit staid but he was very conscientious. The vehicle was the best we experienced.
The tsetse flies were appalling! I got a few bites in Ruaha but in Katavi I was eaten alive!
Food was excellent.
The tents were good but it was frustrating the number of zips you had to negotiate to get to the loo at night. The zips did not always close properly. The tents were well spread out.
It was disappointing that you always had to set off for a game drive in the same direction. The safari breakfasts were good but it was sometimes a challenge to find some shade without tsetse flies.
It was nice to have a drink with your guide in the evening before dinner.