Katavi National Park

Katavi national park is one of the untouched wilderness areas that is located along the rift valley escarpment in the remote area of south western part of Tanzania. The Tanzania national park covers a total area of 4,471 square kilometers which makes it the third-largest national park in Tanzania. The park is known for its abundant biodiversity which is comprised of Miombo woodland vegetation, flood plains of thick reeds, waterways and seasonal lakes which act as a habitat for animals like sable antelopes, buffaloes, elephants, bird species like open billed stork, saddled billed stork among others. 

Katavi National Park

History of Katavi national park

Katavi national park was named after the Wabende spirit Katabi who according to the local legends lives in a tamarind tree near Lake Katavi. Latabi was the name of a legendary hunter whose spirit lives in Tamarib tree and the local people looking for blessings from his spirit leave their offerings at the foot of the tree. The park was first established in 1911 during the German occupation and was later named Rukwa game reserve under the British occupation until 1932. In 1974 an area of about 2,200 square kilometers was declared a national park and in 1997 it was extended to a larger area of 4471 square kilometers and it was officially named Katavi national park in 1998.

Attractions in Katavi national park

  • Wildlife, Katavi national park is a home of abundant animals which came be viewed during the game drive and they include elephants, roan and sable antelopes, zebras, elands, hartebeest, defassa waterbucks, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, predators like cheetahs, lions, leopards, jackal, hyenas, serval cats, wild dogs among others.
  • Birds, the national park harbors over 400 bird species which makes it one of the best birding destinations in Tanzania. Birders should look out for bird species like open billed stork, crested barbet, paradise flycatcher, African fish eagle, saddle billed stork, lilac breasted roller among others.
  • Katsunga plain, the Katsunga plain is regarded as the small Serengeti because it’s the second vast plain in Tanzania after Serengeti. The plains attract large numbers of wildlife and offer spectacular views of the sunset, sunrise among others which makes it the best place for taking great pictures.
  • Katuma River, Katuma River is one of the best game viewing areas in Katavi national park due to the fact that it harbors large concentrations of hippos, crocodiles and also attracts others animals like zebras, buffaloes among others especially during the dry season.

Top things to do in Katavi

Game drive, the game drive is one of the most done activities in the park and it can either be done early in the morning so as to view predators like lions, hyenas, wild cats going back to their hiding areas or in the evening. During the game drive you will be able to view large herds of buffaloes, elephants, other animals like giraffes, zebras, impala, hippos and crocodiles in Katuma River, water birds among others. 

Bird watching, Katavi national park harbors over 400 bird species including migratory birds which are viewed in the months of November to April and water bird species which are found around to seasonal rivers and lakes hence making Katavi one of the best birding paradise in Tanzania. During the birding safari you will be able to spot different bird species like open billed stork, African fish eagles, yellow billed stork, pink backed pelican, yellow throated sandgouse, red billed stork, saddle billed stork, white backed vultural, sulphure breasted bush shrike, black cuckoo shrike, African spoonbill, crested barbet, little bee-eater, bateleur  

Walking safaris, this is an interesting and adventurous activity in the park where you get an opportunity to get up-close and personal with the untouched wilderness of Katavi national park. Walking safaris are carried out with the help of an armed park guide and during the activity you will follow different trails in the park which will take you Katuma River where you will have great scenic views, trails to the seasonal lakes like Katavi, Chada, swamps, waterfalls among others. You will be able to view large numbers of buffaloes, elephants, eland, zebras, giraffes, impala, sable and roan antelopes, view colorful birds flying up in the air, listen to sweet bird sounds, enjoy the cool environment, relax your mind, take clear pictures among others.  

Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park Wildlife

Best time to visit Katavi national park

Katavi national park can be visited all year round but the best period is during the dry season in the months of June to October when large numbers of animals congregate around the scarce water bodies to drink water and it’s also the period when there is thin vegetation that allows you to clear view different animals and to take great pictures. 

Getting to Katavi national park

Katavi national park is one of the least visited national parks in Tanzania due to its inaccessibility and when using road transport it takes about 2 to 3 days to reach the park headquarters therefore its  best accessed by air transport means. When using air transport you will book scheduled flights which operate twice per week or book chartered flights from Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza to the park. In case you want to use air transport means you can contact focus east Africa tours so that we book the flights in time.

Where to stay on your safari in Katavi national park

Katavi national park has a number of accommodation facilities where you can stay on your safari in Tanzania and they range from luxury, midrange, budget and campsites. The lodges include Chada Katavi tented camp, Mbali Mbali Katavi lodge, Katavi wildlife camp, Nomad tented camp, Palahala luxury camp, Ikuu public campsite, Katavi picnic site, Chada special campsite, Kapilula special campsite, Kapimbye special campsite among others.

In order to have a true taste of wilderness with large concentrations of animals like buffaloes, elephants, hippos, colorful bird species, explore the park on foot and to have unforgettable moments, Katavi national park is the best protected area to visit. We can make your tour to the park possible only if you contact Focus East Africa Tours.

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