This is Tanzania’s third largest national park, located in the southwest of Tanzania.
Vegetation features in Katavi is a vast cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localised eland, sable and roan antelopes. The main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad waterbirds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.
Animal features include; an estimated 4,000 elephants,together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans during the dry season.
Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.
How to get there
Shared charter flights from Dar or Arusha.
Walking, driving and camping safaris.
Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) – offerings are still left here by locals seeking the spirit’s blessing.
Best time ot visit
The dry season (May-October).
Roads within the park are often flooded during the rainy season but may be passable from mid-December to February.
Two seasonal luxury tented camps overlooking Lake Chada. A resthouse at Sitalike and campsites inside the park. Basic but clean hotels at Mpanda.