4,471 sq km (1,729 sq miles).
Southwest Tanzania, east of Lake Tanganyika. The headquarters at Sitalike lie 40km (25 miles) south of Mpanda town.
How to get there
Charter flights from Dar or Arusha. A tough day’s drive from Mbeya (550 km/340 miles) or (dry season only) Kigoma 390 km/240 miles). Mpanda has rail links to Dar via Tabora, and there’s public transport on to Sitalike, where game drives can be arranged. In order to ensure comfort, enjoyment, safety and security of tourists, Across Africa Nature provides dedicated 4X4 WD safari jeeps available 24/7 for the entire safari.
What to do there
Walking, driving and camping safaris. Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarid tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named). Offerings are still left here by the locals seeking the spirit’s blessings.
When best time to go
The dry season (May-October). Internal roads may flood during the rainy season but should be passable from mid December to February.
Where to Stay
Four private luxury tented camps. At the park headquarters, there’s a resthouse, six tourist huts (bandas) and campsite, with access to water and kitchen facilities. A few basic but clean hotels exist in Mpanda and Sitalike. Whether the client’s visit to Tanzania is for business or leisure, Across Africa Nature will always assist in planning and careful selecting the best and affordable places that provide enjoyment, fun and joy of exceptional accommodation and hospitality of Tanzanians.
Katavi in details…
Isolated, untrammelled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been a century ago.
Tanzania’s third largest national park, it lies in the remote southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.
The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localised eland, sable and roan antelopes. But 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.
It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into its own. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. 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.
Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.