Katavi National Park

Best time to visit Katavi national nark

Like the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park, Katavi is a classic dry season-best time park with the game viewing getting progressively better towards the end of the year.

As the water holes and rivers dry up, the game moves down from the surrounding hills and congregates around the remaining river system – now the viewing gets seriously good.

July to October is absolutely peak season for Katavi but more and more travellers are trying Katavi out of season if only to have the park completely to themselves!

(During the wet season, the floodplains turn to lakes and offer spectacular birdwatching opportunities)

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Description

                          Katavi National Park

The far west of Tanzania gives home to two of Tanzania’s lesser-known national parks: Katavi National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park. This western circuit is extremely remote, tricky to access and pretty costly to visit. As a result, few people make the effort to come here and so it has remained an untouched, unique experience, and absolutely worth visiting.

In the Rukwa Rift Basin, which forms part of the Central African Rift Valley, Katavi boasts steep highland cliffs and escarpments, floodplains, vast grasslands and seasonal lakes, interspersed with woodlands.

The park is named after the Wabende spirit, Katabi, who according to local legend lives in a tamarind tree near Lake Katavi. Locals looking for blessings from his spirit still leave offerings at the foot of the tree.

Located Game in the park is plentiful, with large populations of elephant, buffalo, zebra, a wide variety of antelope and giraffe. There are plenty of predators here, including lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog. The main river through the park, the Katuma River, dries to a few muddy pools during the dry season and it is here where you can see huge numbers of hippo crammed into small pools, resulting in terrifying fights between the males.

At just under 4,500 km², Katavi National Park is Tanzania’s third largest park. Situated in the remote southwest of Tanzania, access to the park is not easy and there are few camps, ensuring that the park is not overrun with visitors and safari vehicles.

Katavi National Park is a name to conjure with. It is one of the best parks in Africa and many safari operations would love to start camps here. However, the logistics and costs are so difficult, that there are only a couple of small, permanent safari camps sharing this 4,500km² of wilderness. You sometimes run across more pride of the lion than other people on a game drive.

The volume of game in Katavi is outstanding, with some researchers believing that the concentrations are even higher than in Ngorongoro. Huge herds of buffalo and vast lion prides duel daily, whilst hippos and crocodiles gather in pods and nests not found anywhere else in Africa.

Katavi National Park safari holidays Full Story

The area was first protected in 1911 during the German occupation and was later named Rukwa Game Reserve under British occupation until 1932. In 1974, an area of just over 2,200 km² was declared a National Park and the larger area was finally gazetted in 1996 and opened officially with the name Katavi National Park in 1998.

Katavi National Park is a name to conjure with. It is one of the best parks in Africa and many safari operations would love to start camps here. However, the logistics and costs are so difficult, that there are only a couple of small, permanent safari camps sharing this 4,500km² of wilderness. You sometimes run across more pride of the lion than other people on a game drive.

Tanzania 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.

About Katavi National Park in Tanzania

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.

The Katuma River

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.

Flora & Fauna of Katavi Park

Once in Katavi, Tanzania’s third-largest national park won’t disappoint you. Two enormous plains of knee-high golden grass – Chada and Katasunga – dominate the park, surrounded by varied woodlands and an unusually abundant amount of game.

Katavi National Park Animals (Wildlife)

The wildlife in Katavi hasn’t read the species behavioural rule book!   Sizeable elephant herds and good numbers of zebra, giraffe, topi, leopard, waterbuck, hyena and very occasionally wild dog make this a park to compete with the finest safari experiences in the world.

We can’t think of anywhere else that showcases buffalo and lion duels quite so well as Katavi; game drives here can be seriously explosive! Katavi is equally famous for its enormous crocodile and hippo populations – the huge hippo pool can see 600 hippos at its peak and nowhere else in Africa do crocodiles hibernate in dens as they do here.

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.

During the dry season, the Katuma and Kapapa rivers are the only water for miles. As the game files down to drink, hundreds of hippo congregate in the tiniest waterhole and enormous crocodiles sit out the heat in river-bank mud-holes.

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 behavioural 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.

Birds

Katavi hosts large flocks of open-billed and saddle-billed storks, spoonbills, crested cranes and pink-backed pelicans. Raptors are plentiful whilst the woodlands of the national park are home to species as diverse as African golden orioles, paradise fly-catchers and pennant-winged nightjars.

Vegetation in Katavi

Katavi is situated on the northern side of the ‘Rukwa Rift’, an extension of the Western Rift Valley. Katavi’s dry woodlands are dominated by Brachystegia species, which are mostly native to tropical Africa and dotted very densely around this area.

Getting There to Katavi National Park

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 aircraft it takes four or five hours to reach here 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 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.

Katavi National Park Tanzania 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.

Things to see and do in Katavi National Park (activities)

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.

  • The main activity in Katavi is daytime game driving with large populations of elephant, lion, hippo and more, game viewing is beyond spectacular, especially during the dry season when water sources are few. The bonus of game drives in Katavi National Park is that you’re unlikely to come across any other humans. Guests can enjoy game watching and bird watching on game drives.
  •   Walking safaris are an experience not to be missed to really get up close to the African bush, its sights,       sounds and aromas

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.

Strolling safaris are an expertise to not be missed to essentially rise 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.

Weather and climate of the park 

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.

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.

Best time to visit Katavi national park (when to go)

Like the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park, Katavi is a classic dry season-best time park with the game viewing getting progressively better towards the end of the year.

As the water holes and rivers dry up, the game moves down from the surrounding hills and congregates around the remaining river system – now the viewing gets seriously good.

July to October is absolutely peak season for Katavi but more and more travellers are trying Katavi out of season if only to have the park completely to themselves!

(During the wet season, the floodplains turn to lakes and offer spectacular birdwatching opportunities)

Katavi National Park Entry Fees (Prices and 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.

Katavi National Park Lodges (4 best lodges & safari camps)

Where to stay in the park (accommodation)

Listed below are our recommendations for nice places to stay in Katavi National Park. Ask us for more details of what’s likely to suit you best!

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.

  1. Chada Camp Katavi national park

Chada Camp, in the heart of Tanzania’s remote Katavi National Park, is a serious safari camp in a wild and relatively inaccessible part of Africa. Chada is the most famous, and our favourite, camp in the park.  With only six classic safari tents, it epitomises the essence of a remote safari camp.

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

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

  1. Chada fly-camping

Fly-camping from Chada Camp, in the heart of Tanzania’s remote Katavi National Park is as wild as Africa gets.

Katavi Wildlife Camp

Katavi Wildlife Camp is a simple tented camp – one of only four in the remote Katavi National Park – with good wildlife sightings all year round.

  1. Mbali Mbali Katavi

Mbali Mbali Katavi is a luxury, tented camp situated in the centre of Katavi and the only camp in the park with a swimming pool.

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.

  1. Foxes Katavi Wildlife Camp

Foxes Katavi Wildlife Camp has probably the best location in the park; although larger and not quite as well-tuned as Nomad, it has come up in recent years and is a more economical option than Chada.

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

Katavi  National park| Reference map | Tanzania

Detailed map of Katavi National Park showing the location of all major lodges, tented camps, attractions, campsites, rivers and roads!

Common Asked Questions About Katavi National Park

Where is Katavi national park in Tanzania?

Tanzania parks Katavi National Park is a Tanzanian national park created in 1974 and is located in Katavi Region, Tanzania.

Is Katavi National Park worth visiting?

This western circuit is extremely remote, tricky to access and pretty costly to visit. As a result, few people make the effort to come here and so it has remained an untouched, unique experience, and absolutely worth visiting. Katavi National Park is a name to conjure with.

What to see in Katavi National Park?

Katavi National Park is at its best in the dry season, when the plains fill with thousands of zebra, topi and impala. Hartebeest, giraffe, and Defassa waterbuck are also very common, there’s a large population of resident elephants, and some impressive herds of buffalo. Katavi is a great park for watching lion-buffalo interactions.

We don’t just know Tanzania! 

For more information on Tanzania, the best thing to do is to give us a ring for an impartial chat. On Katavi in particular, please refer to our blog post for further information. Although we love Tanzania, we also love the rest of Africa too and have experts in all the main safari countries. If you are undecided as to where to visit, please do just drop us an email or give us a call!