Fly fishing in Tanzania for Tiger Fish
Your destination is the Mnyera and Ruhudji rivers, located in an extremely remote area of Tanzania. The rivers are located in a private game concession of about 2,000,000 acres. The 100 km or so of fishable water is your private playground while in camp. Except for an occasional native tribesman, there is no one else on the water and you can’t help but feel a little like a kid in a candy store. The rivers are divided into beats, and in a week of fishing you don’t fish the same water twice. Habitat ranges from fast rapids and rocks in the upper sections of the rivers to slower, meandering deep water cut banks and sandbar drops.
To a certain extent the outfitters combine efforts with Kilombero North Safaris, the big game hunting operation using the same concession, although the hunting camp is completely separate and not in the same location as the fly fishing camp.
One of the things that make the trip memorable is the extensive knowledge of the natural history exhibited by all of the guides. You won’t find harder working guides anywhere. There is something to be said for blind enthusiasm and energy, and these guys exhibit excessive amounts of both.
You will split your stay in Tanzania between two camps, allowing 3 days of fishing on each river. The overland transfer between camps is quite an adventure.
Dhala Camps (Mnyera River)
Dhala Camp, comprised of 4 wooden fishing cabins and a central thatched mess and lounge area, is the base for your stay on the Mnyera River. The camp consists of 4 cabins with twin or double configurations. All cabins have a view overlooking the river. All cabins are en suite, offering a shower and toilet. Fall asleep to the sound of a rasping leopard, and wake up with the rising sun and splashes of feeding tiger fish, all in the privacy of your cabin.
Meals are enjoyed in the main central camp area under the thatched roof overlooking the river. This area contains a small library, lounges, and electric points for charging cameras and laptops, and a comprehensive fly tying station.
Samaki Camp (Ruhudji River):
This rustic bush camp is your base on the Ruhudji River. It too is erected each season and is the smaller sister of Dhalla Camp. Its location on the banks of the Ruhudji River allows immediate access to these productive waters. Samaki camp is comprised of traditional Safari tents, all en suite, with twin or double configurations. The mess area is situated in the shade of the riverside forest, although most meals are enjoyed alfresco, under the stars on a beautiful sandbank in front of the camp. Samaki camp has no electricity.
Fly Fishing in Tanzania: The Tiger
A Tiger Fish is something out of a bad dream. Their jaws are equipped in a fashion superior to a barracuda, and their big forked tales and generally bad attitude make them supercharged for the initial strike and run. Add dodging crocodiles and avoiding the bad tempered hippos, and you have a real adventure on your hands.
You will fish our custom 1/0 to 4/0 flies with 250 to 350 grain sink tips. You can also fish intermediate and even floating lines in some sections of the river. The fish and sink tip lines call for a 9 to 10 weight rod. Expect 10 to 20 grabs per day, and about one fifth of the fish hooked actually landed. Tigers have a nasty habit of holding their prey in their sufficiently large teeth until it is dead. Your fly is often simply held in the teeth, for as long as five minutes sometimes, and a solid hook up never occurs. A really hard strip strike is always in order. Expect the fish to range from 3 pounds (rats to the guides) to 25 pounds. Most will be in the 8 to 10 pound range. You will likely loose fish in excess of 25 pounds.
When the fish are on, the strikes are some of the most aggressive you will ever experience. Gloves or waterproof tape area a must.
This rivers have received very little fishing pressure over the centuries, and with our controlled fly fishing venture will continue to do so. The system is also extremely rich in bait fish (predominantly red finned barbs). The combination of these factors has resulted in this population of tiger fish obtaining otherwise unheard of sizes. Trophy fish in this system are measured above 20 pounds. Be prepared to have you fly fishing paradigms shifted!
Fly Fishing in Tanzania – The Fishing Day
If you don’t want to spend some hours on the water, then this trip may not be for you. You will generally get started at about 6:00 AM with a light breakfast before leaving in the boats at about 6:45 AM. You will have a snack before lunch. There is a good break for eating and relaxing at lunch, generally under a massive tree. You will return to camp just before dark each evening. The lounge area at the main camp is great for tying flies and having that well deserved beer.
Our trips are generally 6 full days of fishing with addition of a long ½ day on the day you arrive.
All fishing is done by boat, and two anglers can cast simultaneously. You will work structure, drops, and riffles as the boat is slowly poled down river. An outboard helps in out-running the hippos.
Sixteen foot ‘Go Devil’ aluminum boats are used. These boats have been chosen for their application and are ideal for fishing the Mnyera and Ruhudji Rivers. All boats are fitted with 25 – 40hp motors. Each boat caters for two anglers and their professional guide, as well as a coxswain. Boats have ample storage areas and seating for three people. All boats are fitted with line stripping bins and equipped with two way radios and first aid equipment.
Travel to Tanzania to Fly Fish for Tiger Fish
How to get there and get back
For the American citizens, you will take an international flight from the U. S, connect somewhere in Europe or Africa, and arrive in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. United, American, and Emirates all provide reasonably good schedules and connections. Upon arrival a representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in Dar.
You will stay one or two nights, depending on preference, at the Sea Breeze Resort and Hotel. This is an excellent facility located on the ocean. It has great views, a great pool, and good food.
The morning of your departure a representative will pick you up for a connection with a private charter. Cessna caravans are the plane of choice, and comfortably accommodate 8 anglers. The flight takes about 1.75 hours to arrive at Dhala Camp, where you will have lunch and start fishing. Expect elephants on the runway when you arrive.
On your return, you will depart Dhala Camp at about 11:30 AM. Most people take a red eye out of Dar that night, and a day room can be arranged for you at the Sea Breeze. You always have the option to stay over in Dar. All accommodations are arranged for you in advance.
Passport and Visas
All visitors require a valid passport with at least 6 months validity. Visas are necessary for all visitors – these are obtainable on entry at a cost of USD $100.
Valid yellow fever inoculations are required by most countries (on return from Tanzania) please enquire with your local travel clinic.
There is no cell phone reception in camp. We do have a camp satellite phone that is available should it be needed – this is charged at USD2 per minute.
Tanzania Shillings are the official currency. US dollars are accepted for most transactions. There are foreign exchange departments at the Airport and your hotel.
Swahili and English
Rates for fly fishing in Tanzania for Tiger Fish
For the 2024 season the price for 7 Nights / 6 Fishing Days is $9,350. In addition there is a $1,500 charge for the roundtrip air charter from Dar to camp.
The observer rate per person is $5,000, plus the $1,500 for the charter flight.
The private charger flight is about one hour and forty-five minutes each way. There is a 20kg per person luggage limit.
The prices include: transfer from airport to from Sea Cliff on arrival in Dar es Salaam; Transfer from Sea Cliff to charter flight on morning departure; Transfer from charter terminal to airport or Sea Cliff on arrival back in Dares Salaam; All lodging, meals, and guided fishing. Also included are fishing and concession licenses and VAT taxes. The trip provides access to 120 km of waters with a maximum of 8 anglers per week.
The prices do not include: International flights to Dar Es Salaam (DAR), Visa and entry fees into Tanzania (obtainable on arrival in Dar), hotel overnights and other costs in Dar Es Salaam , rods, reels, terminal tackle, and flies, specialty liquor and wine (BYO), travel and medical evacuation insurance, and guide and staff gratuities.