Facts about Katavi National Park

Facts about Katavi National Park: Katavi National Park is located in the remote south western part of Tanzania about 40 km south of Mpanda town and it’s the third-largest protected area in Tanzania after Ruaha and Serengeti national parks. The national park was first established in 1911, it was later named Rukwa game reserve until 1932, in 1974 the area of about 1,823 square kilometers was declared a national park and in 1997 it was extended to 4,471 square kilometers and named Katavi national park is 1998. Katavi national park is dominated by woodlands, savanna plains, Miombo forests, Riverine forests, grasslands which act as habitats for abundant animals like elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, waterbucks, impalas, buffaloes  and large floodplains which are connected together by Katuma River which harbors many hippos, crocodiles  and water birds.

Facts about Katavi National Park

Katavi national park derives its name from Wabende spirit Katabi who according to the locals was a legendary hunter that lived in a tamarind tree near Lake Katavi. Locals looking for blessings from Katabi spirit still bring offerings at the foot of the tamarind tree. 

Top attractions in Katavi national park

Wildlife, Katavi national park is an isolated protected area with untouched wildlife including large herds of elephants, buffaloes, hartebeests, giraffes, zebras, defassa waterbucks, roan and sable antelopes, hippos, crocodiles, predators like lions, leopards wild dogs, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, serval cats among others. 

Birdlife, Katavi national park is one of the best birding destinations in Tanzania with more than 450 recorded bird species including migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa, water birds and many resident bird species. Common bird species that can be spotted in the park include yellow billed stork, African fish eagle, bateleur eagle, saddle billed stork, white backed vulture, African open bill, lilac breasted roller, pink backed pelican, African spoonbill, black cuckoo shrike, little bee-eater among others.

 Katuma River, this is an important water body in the park that pours its water into the seasonal floodplains such as Lake Katavi and Lake Chada which harbor large concentrations of hippos, crocodiles, other animals like elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, waterbucks which come along the banks to drink water, predators like lions and hyenas which come to hunt and water birds during the rainy season.

Katisunga plains, these plains are found in the heart of the park and harbor woodland vegetation that attracts large populations of wildlife such as roan and sable antelopes.

Chada plain, this is the best place for game drives and walking safaris where you will be able to view large numbers of  animals like lions, buffaloes, elephants among others.

Activities in Katavi national park

Game drives, this is one of the popular activities where visitors will explore the woodland and savannah plains in a pop up safari vehicle. Game drives in Katavi national park are best carried out very early in the morning because that is the perfect time to view animals when they are most active. During the game drive you will follow different game tracks such as tracks to Chada plains, Katisunga plains, Katuma river among others where you will have incredible views of animals like elephants, waterbucks, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, lions, leopards, view colorful bird species among others. 

Guided nature walks, Katavi national park offers amazing nature walks which allow visitors to move around the park on foot. Nature walks in the park are done with the company of an armed park guide who is well conversant with walking trails. During the interesting nature walk you will be able to enjoy great views of the sunrise, butterflies, get up close and personal with animals in their natural habitat, listen to sweet sounds of birds singing in the trees, enjoy the cool breeze, take clear photos among others.

Bird watching, Katavi national park is a home of more than 450 bird species including migratory, water and resident bird species which make it one of the birders paradise. Bird watching in Katavi national park can be done early in the morning or late in the evening with an experienced birding guide. During birding bird lovers will be able to spot different bird species such as yellow throated sand grouse, red billed hornbill, crested barbet, African golden oriole, orange breasted bush shrike, grey crowned cranes, paradise fly catcher, pennant winged nightjars among others. 

Camping, the national park is also the best place for camping in that it harbors various campsites like Chada fly camping, Katavi wildlife camp, Chada camp among others. Camping gives you an opportunity to experience the bush, have great views of the stars and animals moving around the tents.

When to visit Katavi national park

Katavi national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to October and December to February because that’s the time when vegetation in the park is scarce and also animals gather along the Katuma river to drink water which gives you an opportunity to have spectacular views of animals like elephants, lions, topis, giraffes, zebras, elands, buffaloes among others.

The national park can also be visited in the rainy season during the months of March to May and November because it’s the best period for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species.

Facts about Katavi National Park
Facts about Katavi National Park

How to get to Katavi national park

Katavi national park is an isolated protected area located in the remote western part of Tanzania and can easily be accessed by air transport means where you book scheduled and charter flights from Dar es Salaam or Arusha to Katavi air strip and flights can be arranged by your trusted tour operator.

Katavi national park is a must-visit destination in that it offers breathtaking experiences due to its untouched wildlife that can’t be found anywhere in Tanzania. For more information you can contact Focus East Africa Tours.

book a safari