The wilderness of Katavi National Park, located in the western area of Tanzania. It offers un spoilt wildlife viewing in the country’s third-largest national 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. The Park situated in Rukwa Region, is one of the most untouched wildlife sanctuaries in Tanzania.
Katavi’s National Park dramatic scenery is as varied as it is pristine. Flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways are home to a huge population of hippo and varied birdlife. Tanzania’s greatest populations of both crocodile and hippopotamus are to be found here. During the dry season up to 200 hippos might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. In the woodlands to the west, forest canopies shroud herds of buffalo and elephant. Seasonal lakes fill with dirt colored water after the rains and animals from all corners of the park descend on them to drink. 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.
The park’s main features are the watery grass plains to the north, the palm-fringed Lake Chada in the south-east, and the Katuma River. Katavi boasts Tanzania’s greatest populations of both crocodile and hippopotamus. Lion and leopard find prey among the huge populations of herbivores at Katavi – impala, eland, topi, zebra and herds of upto 1,600 buffalo wander the short grass plains. The rare, honey-coloured puku antelope is one of the park’s richest wildlife viewing rewards. A kaleidoscope of birds flit across the riverbanks, swamps and palm groves while flotillas of pelican cruise the lakes and elephant graze waist-deep in marshlands.
Katavi National Park highlight include
High habitat and species diversity with high concentrations of large mammals
Home to some endangered and unusual species: wild dog, cheetahs (mostly seen in Mbuga ya Duma) roan and sable antelopes (e.g. in the woods of Ilumbi), eland (often encountered at lake Katavi, Kaselami Mbuga, the northern Chada plain, Kataukasi and Kakonje Mbugas)
Scenic diversity with escarpments, rugged hills, flat alluvial plains, marshes, lakes and rivers. The park host some scenic spots like hot springs, waterfalls Ndido, Chorangwa, Lukima, Iloba, and beautiful views from the top of the escarpment down into the Rukwa valley. Lake and springs including lake Katavi, Ilyandi sandridge, Katisunga Mbuga and Kasima Springs, Lake Chada.
The park offers a large concentration of hippo and crocodile during the dry season and is an excellent Park for exploring on Walking, driving and camping safaris.
A visit to the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) where the locals still take offerings seeking the spirit’s blessing.
Where to Stay in Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park, is home to five camps, a guest house and some bandas. Due to the distance and the remoteness of this park, you will certainly find yourself surrounded by wildlife in the serenity of this beautiful park.
Best Time for visiting:
Katavi is best visited in the dry season between May and October, December and February. During the rainy season the road are flooded and impassable. Katavi is among the wild and remote National Park in western Tanzania.
Getting to Katavi National Park:
By air: Fly directly to Katavi: This is the easiest way to reach Katavi at Sitalike or Ikuu airstrips. Another airstrip is available at Mlele. This can be done via scheduled flight from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar. You can also fly from Tabora or Kigoma with regular to Tabora and Kigoma from where you will have to continue by public transport or other arrangements.
The best option is use of Shared charter flight from either Arusha or Dar es Salaam
By railway: From Dar es Salaam to Tabora and Mpanda: From Dar es Salaam regular trains go to Tabora from Tanzania Central Railways Stataion
You can also take a rail transport to Mbeya or Bus from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya (Iyunga), then by road using public transport or other arragemnets.
By road: By road from Dar es Salaam/Mbeya or Arusha it may take three days of driving (not recommended)
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