Katavi is remote, very remote, and reaching the park requires a lot of effort. This alone dissuades most travelers from visiting Katavi.
However, take the first step and the park does its bit to ensure that you never have to go home disappointed. Katavi presents untouched wilderness and it is common to run across more predators than humans while you’re here.
The park is famous for its undisturbed natural face compared to other parks in the country. Despite being the Tanzania third largest park, Katavi sees relatively few visitors, meaning that those guests who arrive here can look forward to having this huge pristine wilderness to them.
The landscape is one of open grassy plains interspersed with brachystegia (miombo) woodland, acacia forests, small lakes and swampy wetlands.
Major features of attraction include Lake Katavi with its vast short grass flood plains in the north; palm fringed Lake Chada in the Southeast and Katuma River.
Katavi boasts Tanzania’s greatest population of both crocodile and hippopotamus. In addition to the buffalo, hippo and elephant, the park holds vast quantities of crocs, topi, giraffe, hartebeest, sable, roan, water-buck and reed-buck and large populations of predators – lion, hyena, leopard.
The rare puku antelope can be seen with some luck for some extraordinary reason it also seems to hold vast quantities of mice, especially around the edge of Chada flood plain. The 400 plus species of birds reflect an intriguing balance between east and southern African species.
Katavi is the best visited in the dry season between May and October. This is mostly because all roads in, are strictly four-wheel drive tracks, which become impassable in the rainy season. For accommodation there is a rest house and campsites within the park area, hotels and loges in Mpanda and Sumbawanga towns.
What to do
Walking, driving and camping safaris.
Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) – Offerings are still left here by locals seeking the spirit’s blessing.
Two seasonal luxury tented camps overlooking Lake Chada. A Rest house at Sit-alike and campsites inside the park. Basic but clean hotels at Mpanda.