Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park


Katavi  is the 3rd largest park (4,471 sq km 1,727 sq miles), located in southwest of Tanzania east of Lake Tanganyika; within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa. The headquarters is at Sitalike located at 40km (25 miles) south of Mpanda town.

Main features:

 It is one of the most untouched wilderness of the entire country. It offers unspoilt wildlife viewing in the country’s park, in a remote location far off the beaten track. The park is Africa at its most wild — unadulterated bush settings, spectacular views, and rich wildlife. Katavi’s most dramatic scenery is its pristine nature. The main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad waterbirds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.  Flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways are home to a huge population of hippo and varied birdlife. In the woodlands to the west, forest canopies shroud herds of buffalo and elephant. Seasonal lakes fill with dirt coloured water after the rains and animals from all corners of the park descend on them to drink. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains. The park is also home to the rare roan and sable antelope species, and is a must-see for the visitor intent on exploring the wilds of the continent.

With Classic Tours & Safaris to KataviKatavi is one of the least-visited in Tanzania. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, including lions and leopard. In the dry season, particularly between August and November, the Katuma River provides the only source of water in the area, and this draws animals in great numbers. As the river shrinks in the heat, the wildlife is forced into an uncomfortable proximity, offering a good chance of seeing many different species at the same time. It is an ideal destination for people who have been on safari before and are looking for a remote and unspoilt wilderness area.


Walking, game 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.

When to visit:

The best time to visit Katavi is during dry season (May-October). Roads within the park are often flooded during the rainy season but may be passable from mid-December to February.

Getting there:

Katavi is accessible by both road and air from Arusha or Dar es Salaam 

Note:  Visit Katavi as a safari incorporating the southern tourist destinations of Mikumi, Ruaha, Udzungwa MountainsKitulo Plateau, Selous Game Reserve Mahale, or Gombe Stream National Parks

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