Katavi National Park, which is largely unspoiled by human habitation and tourist activities, is ideal for those seeking seclusion amidst breathtaking landscapes and away from the distant hum of safari cars. Katavi National Park, located in Tanzania’s western region, is a relatively unspoiled natural paradise and home to the greatest herds of buffalo on earth.
The park has a wide variety of habitats, including pure seasonal lakes, broad grasslands, dense streams teeming with hippos and crocodiles, and flood plains covered in thick reeds. The fabled tamarind tree, which is claimed to harbor the ghost of a legendary huntsman named Katabi, can be found by curious visitors. They can make an offering at the base of the tree in honor of this remarkable hunter.
History of katavi National Park
The Rukwa Rift’s Katavi National Park, which is now 4470 km2, is one of the top 10 largest National park in Tanzania after being expanded. The Katuma River connects three sizable floodplains that make up Katavi’s environment and are home to a large number of hippos and crocodiles as well as a profusion of waterfowl. Huge herds of animals occupy the savanna plains throughout the day, and an equally remarkable variety of predators wait anxiously for their return to the woodland as the day draws to a close.
Birds and mammals in katavi National Park
Similar to Ruaha National Park, Katavi boasts a diverse range of antelope, including Topi, Roan, and Sable, which are frequently seen in huge herds. Some of the most lavishly maned lions you can find are predators, along with leopards and hunting dogs. The sight of hippo fighting for space in the small ponds as the river dries up and crocodile tunnels become evident along the bank is interesting. 373 species of birds have been spotted in the wider Katavi area. There will be more migratory species during the months of the green season.
A wide variety of animals, such as wildebeest, giraffes, elephants, zebras, African buffaloes, lions, leopards, and cheetahs, can be found at Katavi National Park. Hippos and crocodiles can frequently be seen on the Katuma River’s banks. Hippos unwind in mud holes during the dry season and cover their delicate skin with mud to act as sunscreen.
Scenery and Landscapes of Katavi National Park
Katavi’s surroundings are reminiscent of an earlier time in Africa; mountain ranges serve as a backdrop to the three low-lying seasonal lakes (Katsunga, Chada, and Katavi), which are all surrounded by evocative palm trees and scrub. The Katuma River connects the lakes, which provide a pleasant belt of green, meandering through the landscape and offering contrast to the drier areas around them. The lakes are actually open plains in the dry season and swampy marshes in the wet.
Tourist Activities: Things to do In Katavi National Park
Excellent game drives are a result of expertise, knowledge, and a good vehicle. Open-wheel drive vehicles are used for all game drives in the park. All visitors in these cars will have the best visibility possible thanks to their design. An educated, seasoned English-speaking guide will lead the wildlife drives and make sure you get the most out of each Tanzania safari tour you take.
We believe the name of Katavi’s plain, “Paradise,” is rather appropriate. The journey to Paradise entails a full-day game drive, which is broken up by a picnic lunch on the edge of the breathtaking and endless plains of paradise.
Visiting historical sites.
The history of Katavi National Park is fascinating. The Kabora-Lyonga-slave route, which traveled through this region during the slave trade, can be visited. In keeping with local custom, visitors can also see the well-known tamarind tree that gives the park its name. According to Katavi traditions, the tree is the residence of the illustrious hunter Katavi whom, and residents feed the tree’s roots to provide good fortune when hunting.
With almost 400 different bird species living there, Katavi is a fantastic place to go birdwatching. The prices are roughly $59 per person, with a guided walking fee per group of $23.60 for a quick walk or $29.50 for a longer one.
Walking safari excursions include jungle camping and hikes with armed rangers. You can expect to witness grazing hippos and crocodiles along the walking safari path along Lake Katavi, a seasonal floodplain.
Getting to Katavi National Park.
From Arusha or Dar es Salaam, a 4-5 hour chartered flight to Katavi is the most practical method of transportation. Depending on your itinerary, you may enter Katavi via either the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar or the Kilimanjaro International Airport (46 km from Arusha).
While traveling by car, Dar es Salaam and Katavi are separated by a 22-hour drive and a 2-3 day drive, respectively. To avoid a tiresome road trip, we advise you to fly. The only scheduled flight is Safari Air Link’s biweekly service between Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, and Mahale Mountainous.
Best time to Visit Katavi National Park
The best/optimum time to visit Katavi National Park is from June through December, which is the duration of the annual dry season. The Katuma River offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the area because it is one of the few sources of water during the dry season.
Thousands of topis, impalas, and zebras move around the plains, and hundreds of hippos and crocodiles congregate around the few available waterholes. You will essentially have the park to yourself despite the surge in visitors during the busy season.
Accommodation: where to stay at Katavi National Park
Chada Camp, run by Nomad Tanzania, lies 50 kilometers east of Lake Tanganyika. Six safari tents are available at Chada Camp. They are surrounded by trees and have expansive views of the surrounding grasslands. The camping experience is ideal for youth ages 12 and older, and the tents are dispersed to maximize your privacy. Each tent features a cozy bed, a writing desk, and sheer windows that let the light of day in. Palm matting and cozy natural textiles are used to embellish the lodging. A flush toilet is located in the private bathroom of each tent.
After a long day of activity, you may unwind while taking in the beautiful scenery and maybe even spot an elephant herd. In the spacious communal tent, visitors can unwind, read, or see elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes as they pass by. Meals are served for breakfast and lunch in the dining tent.
Both indoor and outdoor dining options are available to patrons. Visitors congregate around the campfire for snacks and beverages before dinner. Safari excursions are available at Chada Camp, including 4WD game drives, picnics among the wildlife, bird watching, and escorted walking safaris.
Mbali-Mbali katavi Camp
Eight cozy tents are available at Mbali- Mbali Camp, which was entirely renovated in 2018 and now has a modern, minimalist aesthetic. The common areas are two-tiered, open-sided buildings made of thatch and wood.
Each canvas tent has a thatched roof and is constructed on an elevated wooden platform. A sofa, veranda, and a typical Zanzibari bed are included in each room. One family room with an attached double and twin tent on a shared platform is available at the campground.
Modern en-suite bathrooms have glass showers, double sinks, and flushing toilets. A delectable selection of regional specialties and western favorites is available at the camp. On a safari, you can eat a bush breakfast while taking in the expansive vistas of the park, or you can start your day with a buffet at the campground.