Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park is a pearl among Tanzania’s national parks. It is the country’s third largest national park offering a pristine and unique landscape with an incredible mass of wildlife. Katavi is located in the south-west of Tanzania, which is often referred to as the western safari circuit. Its remote location and tricky accessibility together with the high costs to reach Katavi, have slowed down the flow of visitors. In comparison to other parks, this park is relatively unknown and only a few people venture this far.

This national park is best described as incredibly wild with unspoiled and spectacular wildlife viewing – simply original and off-the-beaten-track. Isolated and seldomly visited, Katavi offers a true wilderness experience! The few intrepid souls who make it this far experience a thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been in the past days. Katavi National Park is the ideal destination for anyone looking for an untouched and authentic wilderness experience.

Main Facts

established in 1974 with a size of 4,470 km²

Best Time

all year around – best during dry season: June to October

Common Animals

Antelopes: eland, impala, sable
Big Five: buffalo, elephant, lion
Birds: more than 300 species
Cats: hyena, leopard (both rarely seen)
Mammals: giraffe, hippo, warthog, zebra

Activities

game drives
bird watching
walking safaris

Expectations

remote and untouched wilderness with fantastic photographic options
incredible wildlife encounters throughout the dry season
huge population of hippos – crowded in the hippo pools
large herds of buffaloes and elephants
exclusive safari destination far away from crowds

Further Details – Katavi National Park

Getting to Katavi National Park…

Katavi National Park is remotely located in the south-west of Tanzania – close to Lake Rukwa in the south-east and Lake Tanganyika in the west. This national park is best reached by light aircraft from Arusha or Dar es Salaam, which only operate Mondays and Thursdays. It is also possible to reach Katavi National Park by driving; however, this is only recommended during the dry season from June to October. It is a beautiful, but long drive through the country-side via the villages of Mbeya and Sumbawanga – it is also possible to add a few days at Lake Tanganyika.

Flora and Fauna of Katavi National Park

The majority of Katavi National Park is covered with dense Miombo dry woodland, which provide home to the shy eland, sable and roan antelopes. However, the heart of Katavi in terms of wildlife viewing is the Katuma River with its wide flood plain – also including the seasonal lakes Chada and Katavi. During the rainy season this area is always lush and green and attracts countless wildlife. With the beginning of the dry season the water recedes and a shallow stream remains as the only source of drinking water.

The Katuma River supports the densest concentration of crocodiles and hippos in Tanzania. Especially during dry season visitors can come across of up to 200 hippos with daily territorial flights in the very squeezed remaining waterholes. Katavi is also home to huge herds of buffaloes and elephants, as well as giraffes, hartebeest, impalas, reedbucks, topi, waterbuck and zebras. They provide an easy prey for the various lion packs. Further predators include cheetah, spotted hyena, jackals, leopards and wild dog, who are however a bit tricky to spot. Katavi is a kaleidoscope with more than 400 recorded bird species include large flocks of crested-cranes, pelicans, spoonbills and storks as well as bateleurs, fish eagles, fly-catchers, orioles and lilac-breasted rollers.

Which travelers will particularly enjoy Katavi National Park?

  • travelers who are looking for authentic wilderness experience far off the touristic main areas
  • travelers who prefer small, familiar and intimate camps
  • travelers who are well experienced and not first-time Africa goers
  • travelers who prefer safaris in the higher price segment (higher costs for accommodation and flights)