Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park
This rugged and untouched corner of pristine wilderness has a varied landscape with dry woodland, seasonal lakes, rivers and vast floodplains. The attraction of Katavi is its remoteness and prolific wildlife. The park is home to large herds of buffalo, huge pods of hippo along with elephant, impala, zebra and even roan antelope. The predators are well represented too with healthy populations of lions leopards and hyena. Its remoteness offers a wild safari experience in untouched wilderness, visitor numbers here are very small, making it a choice destination for any discerning safari addict and one that is difficult to replicate anywhere else. The remote location does however come with a price tag, so it is worth spending a minimum of 3 nights here to justify the expense of getting there.
Things to do in Katavi National Park
- Game Drives – wildlife viewing is what it is all about here and you will feel like you have stepped back in time, there are very few visitors here so you get a very exclusive experience.
- Walking Safaris – this will give you a totally different experience to game drives. It heightens the senses and highlights the smaller things that often go unnoticed.
- Fly Camping – Katavi is vast so in order to see more may want to consider fly-camping for one or two nights, this can be done from Chada Camp. You’ll stay in small dome tents and dine under the stars in remote wilderness.
- Birding – with over 400 species recorded here, birding is excellent, particularly in the wet season.
- Bush Breakfast – making the most of your time here, head out early morning on a game drive and rather than coming back to camp, dine out in the wilderness.
- Picnic Lunch – picnic lunches also give you the opportunity to see as much as possible during your time here, and avoid having to return to camp to ‘refuel’. Delicious lunches can be pre-prepared and enjoyed under a shady tree when you get peckish.
- Combine it with a trip to Mahale – with the remoteness and expense of reaching Katavi, we would recommend combining it with a visit to see the chimpanzees at Mahale Mountains National Park – a true bucket list safari.
When to visit Katavi National Park
The dry season which runs from May to November sees the wildlife concentrations increase, sightings become better as the season goes on and the game moves to the plains and the only remaining water sources. From November to March the game diminishes, but throughout this period, the birding is superb.
Excellent Good Fair Poor
MAY TO OCTOBER
- This is classed as the dry season and is also peak season though Katavi seldom gets busy
- Vegetation is sparse making wildlife easier to spot
- Animals congregate at waterholes and rivers
- Humidity is not an issue
- With no rainfall the landscape becomes dry and dusty
- Some lodges are still closed during May and will only open June onwards
- Concentrations of animals at the beginning and end of season can vary depending on the rains
- Early mornings and evenings can be cold. Wearing layers is the key
NOVEMBER TO MAY
- Low season usually means lower rates for accommodation
- You will have more choice of accommodation when it is less busy
- Many migratory birds will be in the park at this time
- Vegetation is lush and green, perfect for photography
- Wildlife viewing is not as good, with plenty of water available, the wildlife disperses
- March to May sees the peak of the rains and many lodges will close during this period
- Travelling by road can be challenging
- Heat and humidity can be an issue
- Humidity and water generally indicate an increase in mosquitos
Where to stay in Katavi National Park
Due to its remoteness and low visitor numbers there are only a few options in Tanzania’s third largest National Park. A high level of service is offered with a more authentic safari feel. Whilst all your comforts are catered for and you will be well looked after, the focus is on the safari together with excellent guiding.