(Last Updated On: August 24, 2020)

At slightly below 4,500 km², Katavi National Park is Tanzania’s third largest park. Located within the distant southwest of Tanzania, entry to the park just isn’t straightforward and there are few camps, making certain that the park just isn’t overrun with guests and safari automobiles.

The Katavi National Park is known as after the Wabende spirit, Katabi, who in accordance with native legend lives in a tamarind tree close to Lake Katavi. Locals on the lookout for blessings from his spirit nonetheless go away choices on the foot of the tree.

Katavi National Park History

Katavi NP, within the Rukwa Rift, was prolonged to its current measurement of 4470km2 in 1998 making it the third-largest park in Tanzania.

Katavi’s panorama is dominated by three giant floodplains strung collectively by the Katuma River which boasts one of many largest inhabitants of Hippo and Croc and gives a habitat for an abundance of waterfowl.

The savanna plains fill with big herds through the day time and the equally spectacular number of predators wait patiently for his or her return to the woodland in the direction of the top of the day.

The realm was first protected in 1911 through the German occupation and was later named Rukwa Game Reserve underneath British occupation till 1932.

In 1974, a space of simply over 2,200 km² was declared a Nationwide Park, and the bigger space was lastly gazetted in 1996 and opened formally with the title Katavi Nationwide Park in 1998.

Katavi National Park Location

Situated within the Rukwa Rift Basin, which kinds a part of the Central African Rift Valley, Katavi boasts steep highland cliffs and escarpments, floodplains, huge grasslands, and seasonal lakes, interspersed with woodlands.

Set in an extension of the Rift Valley between Lake Rukwa and Lake Tanganyika in southwest Tanzania, this magnificent safari vacation spot is each wildly distant and both troublesome or costly to get to.

In consequence, far fewer vacationers enterprise right here than to the nation’s extra widespread parks; giving intrepid explorers the possibility to step again in time and expertise the magic of Africa at its most unspoiled.

This park is really wild with few camps and only a few guests. Katavi is without doubt one of the few locations left in Africa immediately the place you genuinely really feel that you would have slipped again a thousand years.

Many safari connoisseurs would argue that that is the quintessential Tanzania safari park; we actually imagine it to be the nation’s finest stored secret.

Mix this park with Mahale, particularly at Nomad Tanzania’s Greystoke, and there’s a good argument that that is the best week available in Africa!

The amount of recreation in Katavi is excellent, with some researchers believing that the concentrations are even increased than in Ngorongoro.

Big herds of buffalo and huge lion prides duel each day, while hippos and crocodiles collect in pods and nests not discovered wherever else in Africa.

The price of getting right here is undeniably excessive, nevertheless, this has protected the park from the crowds which have affected different areas and when you get right here, lodge costs are affordable and nearly all of the camps of a really excessive customary.

about Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park was established in 1974 and covers roughly 1,726 sq. miles, making it the third-largest national park in Tanzania.

Its landscapes are extremely diverse. The Katuma River is the first characteristic and the main focus of most game-viewing safaris.

Its related floodplains are linked by a community of seasonal rivers and host swathes of tall golden grass through the dry months.

Two seasonal lakes (Katavi and Chada) full the park’s aquatic habitats.

To the west, dense woodlands present cowl for forest-dwelling wildlife, whereas the steep escarpments of the Rift Valley overlook the flat grasslands beneath.

The park’s headquarters are positioned at Sitalike, some 25 miles south of Mpanda city.

Katavi National Park Highlights

Distant location with refreshingly low numbers of annual guests
Diverse habitats from open grasslands to wooded areas to seasonal lakes and rivers
Big selection of huge recreation, together with spectacular herds of thousand-strong buffalo
Densest populations of hippo and crocodile in Tanzania
Strolling safaris are allowed at Katavi for an actual bush expertise
Unimaginable birdlife with over 400 species
Quite a few cultural and historic websites, together with the legendary Katabi Tree

Katavi National Park Wildlife

Katavi is legendary amongst these within the know for its huge herds of plains animals, together with a few of the largest concentrations of elephants and Cape buffalo in Tanzania.

Within the drier months, greater than 4,000 elephants have been recognized to converge on the banks of the Katuma River in quest of life-giving water.

Different herbivores embody zebras, wildebeest, and giraffes; in addition to many various sorts of antelope. Preserve a specific eye out for the elusive roan and sable antelopes, and the uncommon Defassa waterbuck.

Carnivores are attracted by the park’s abundance of prey and embody lions, leopards, cheetah, and noticed hyenas.

Wild dogs reside within the park however primarily keep on the escarpment and are subsequently not often seen.

Katavi National Park

The Katuma River is house to the nation’s densest focus of crocodiles and hippos.

Throughout the dry season, a whole lot of hippos are confined to shallow mud swimming pools and spectacular but lethal confrontations typically escape between males searching for to determine their territory.

The park’s wetland areas additionally stand out for his or her astonishing birdlife, with aquatic species starting from open-billed and saddle-billed storks to African spoonbills and pink-backed pelicans.

Forest specials just like the African paradise fly-catcher and the African golden oriole can be noticed within the woodland areas, whereas raptors together with fish eagles and bateleur eagles are widespread.

In complete, greater than 400 avian species have been recorded at Katavi.

We will not consider wherever else that showcases buffalo and lion duels fairly so properly as Katavi; recreation drives right here may be critically explosive!

Katavi National Park is equally well-known for its monumental crocodile and hippo populations – the large hippo pool can see 600 hippos at its peak and nowhere else in Africa do crocodiles hibernate in dens as they do right here. The wildlife in Katavi hasn’t learned the species behavioral rule book!

Sizeable elephant herds and good numbers of zebra, giraffe, topi, leopard, waterbuck, hyena, and really often wild canine make this a park to compete with the best safari experiences on the earth.

Katavi National Park Landscapes

Katavi National Park is historical Africa as one may think from days passed by; mountain ranges present a backdrop to the low-lying seasonal lakes (Katisunga, Chada, and Katavi), each encircled by the evocative palms and scrub.

The lakes, in actuality open plains within the dry season and boggy marsh within the moist, are linked by the Katuma River, which helps a refreshing belt of inexperienced, winding by way of the landscapes, and offering distinction to the drier areas round.

Top Things to Do at Katavi National Park

Guests to Katavi National Park come for one cause: to take pleasure in world-class wildlife-viewing in a setting so distant that the probability of seeing different vacationers from at some point to the following is slim.

Game drives in an open-sided safari car are the preferred methodology of on the lookout for animals; though some lodges supply strolling safaris as properly.

Exploring the African bush on foot is the last word journey, providing you with the possibility for shut encounters underneath the safety of skilled armed information.

If you are interested in native tradition, you should definitely go to the sacred tamarind tree close to Lake Katavi.

It’s stated to be inhabited by the spirit of a legendary hunter, Katabi, after whom the park is named.

The principle exercise, after all, is recreation viewing, which may be completed on each recreation drives and guided strolling safaris.

The bonus of recreation drives in Katavi Nationwide Park is that you’re unlikely to return throughout other people.

Strolling safaris are an expertise to not be missed to essentially rise up near the African bush, its sights, sounds, and aromas.

Fly tenting is obtainable. That is the definition of bush tenting, the place regular tents (do not count on luxurious!) are set up within the bush at a brief campsite. No fences, no flush bathrooms or showers.

It is dwelling within the wild; cooking meals over a hearth and spending evenings chatting across the campfire, staring upon the breathtaking African nighttime sky, and listening to the nocturnal calls of untamed animals.

There are a variety of locations of cultural and historic curiosity in Katavi. These covers Stone and Iron Age websites and sacred websites such because the Katabi Tree, the place the Wabende spirit, Katabi, lives.

The place to Stay

Because of the logistics of organizing a camp in such a distant location, there are solely a handful of everlasting and seasonal lodges to select from in Katavi.

Mbali Katavi Lodge is positioned within the middle of the park, with 10 luxurious safari tents overlooking Katisunga plain.

All-inclusive charges embody two recreation drives per day with the choice of a further night time drive. This can be a nice household choice since children of all ages are welcome.
Katavi Wildlife Camp by Foxes sits on the sting of Katisunga plain and contains six Meru-style tents, every with an en-suite lavatory and a non-public veranda with a hammock and chairs.

The company can participate in twice-daily recreation drives and swap tales over dinner at the restaurant.

Chada Katavi by Nomad Tanzania enjoys the shade of a grove of tamarind timber on the sting of Chada plain.

The camp, open through the dry season solely, contains six canvas tents and an officer’s mess for eating and socializing.

Actions includes recreation drives, bush walks, and fly tenting (the magical expertise of sleeping out underneath the African stars).

For these on funds, Tanzania Nationwide Parks (TANAPA) affords a self-catering relaxation home and bandas at Sitalike headquarters.

Weather and When to Go

The local weather in Katavi National Park is scorching all year long, with daytime temperatures usually sitting at around 90 levels F (32 levels C).

Not like different areas of Tanzania, which have two distinct dry seasons, Katavi has one steady moist season from November to April and one dry season from Might to October.

Throughout the dry season, days are usually clear and sunny, with decrease humidity and nearly no rain.

Throughout the moist season, it should rain nearly day by day though often just for a short interval within the late afternoon. Thunderstorms are widespread and the humidity is excessive.

Katavi may be visited all 12 months spherical. Historically one of the best times to journey is through the dry season when giant numbers of recreation congregate across the river (now the one water supply for miles around).

At the moment the park’s roads are simpler to navigate, circumstances are higher for images, and there are fewer bugs.

That is essential as a result of malaria is a danger in this space of Tanzania, though prophylactics are really helpful all year spherical.

Throughout the moist season, a few of the park’s lodges shut, and getting around is tougher.

Nevertheless, there are causes to go to right now, together with the spectacularly inexperienced surroundings and the considerable birdlife. Migrant species are in residence from November to April.

Getting There at Katavi National Park

Because of the problem of attending to Katavi by highway, most guests select to fly in. Flights will often be organized by your lodge and a number of other of them embody the worth of their charges.

You may have two choices: Safari Air Hyperlink, which flies twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays, and connects to Katavi from Dar es Salaam, and Arusha with a cease in Ruaha.

The journey from each city takes roughly three hours. Alternatively, these headed for Mbali Mbali Katavi Lodge can reap the benefits of a shared constitution operated by Zantas Air Providers.

This flight departs from Arusha twice per week (additionally on Mondays and Thursdays). The expense of those flights is what makes Katavi such a unique vacation spot.

For the adventurous self-driver with loads of time on their arms (or for backpackers on funds), it is usually doable to drive overland to Katavi.

It’s 340 miles from Mbeya and 240 miles from Kigoma with the latter route solely doable through the dry season.

Whichever approach your journey, the journey is prone to take no less than a full day as a result of circumstances of the highway.

Katavi National Park Rates

When it comes to conservation charges, Katavi is definitely extremely low-cost by Tanzanian nationwide park requirements.

Entry prices $30 per day for adults, $10 per day for youngsters aged 5 to 15, and nothing in any respect for youngsters youthful than 5.

For those who’re touring in your individual car (together with a rental), you will want to pay a further price.

For normal vehicles and/or pick-ups, the speed is at the moment 20,000 Tanzanian shillings ($8.65) for a domestically registered car or $40 for a foreign-registered car.

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