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Katavi National Park

Welcome to Katavi National Park – Tanzania Safari Destination

Established in 1974, Katavi National Park features among the wildest and spectacular wildlife destinations in Tanzania. It is one of the least visited national parks in Tanzania and thus rewards visitors with true African experiences that you may not find anywhere in this country.

Katavi National Park covers an area of about 4471 square kilometres making it the 3rd largest protected area in Tanzania. This park comprises of the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains.

It was established mainly to offer refuge to wide range of wildlife species most of which include elephants, cape buffaloes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, antelope families, leopards, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, African wild dog, golden and wild cats, serval, caracals and civets, mongoose, hyrax, Defassa waterbuck, topis, hartebeest, giraffes, nocturnal bush babies, armoured pangolins, snakes, frogs, lizards, bird species especially open billed and saddle-billed storks, crested cranes, pink backed pelicans, raptors including the African golden orioles, paradise flycatchers, pennant winged nightjars and many more.

Katavi National Park also features incredible vegetation especially the dry woodlands that are dominated by Brachystegia species the native species to tropical Africa. Due to its remoteness, most of the activities resolve around game drive/game viewing-mostly conducted two times a day, night drives, fly camping, guided walks, birding and many others.

How to get to Katavi National Park?

Katavi National Park is lonely situated making it one of the least destination but rewards visitors with authentic African experiences due to its untapped natural treasures. It can be reached using a light aircraft which takes about 4 to 5 hours from Dar-es-salaam or Arusha.

However, the relatively affordable way for you to reach the park is by using twice-weekly chartered flights that connect Katavi and Mahale Mountains National Park with Arusha in northern Tanzania. It runs between Monday and Thursdays. You can also take flights from Dar-es-salaam to Selous to Ruaha to Katavi or Mahale and return.

It is challenging to access the park using road transport. It can spend at least 15 to 18 hours’ drive. Mbeya town covers a distance of about 550 kilometres and from Dar-es-salaam; it is estimated to be 838 kilometres. The direct route to Dar-es-salaam is estimated to be 1250 kilometres meaning you will need at least 16 hours’ drive.

When to visit Katavi National Park?

Visiting Katavi National Park varies from season to season and depends on what you intend to do. From November to April the park is hot and humid but receives rainfall in most months. It is very challenging for one to navigate through the flooded and marshy ground and worse still, most lodges and camps tend to close especially from February to May which comes with heavy rainfalls but the ideal season for birders.

From November to May, the area experiences short and long rains and most resident birds breed especially the beautiful barbets, bee-eaters, flycatchers and most migratory species also flock into the park during this season. About 400 bird species thrive in Katavi National Park. The dry season starts from June to October and most wildlife species can easily be spotted as the grass will be short and most of the crowd in water sources. From August to October, the park is ideal for game viewing/game drive.

Accommodation in Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park features a number of accommodations and visitors can choose between camp and lodge. Tented accommodations at this park are canvas suites, some raised on platforms with thatched roofs whereas others are tarp-covered, all with en-suite bathrooms.

Some of the camps include Palahala Luxury camp that overviews the Kapapa River from the heights of Paradise Hill. Chada Katavi Camp comes with wilderness ambience offering visitors feel of independent in the stunning sceneries and remarkable ecological system.

Palahala-camp: Katavi National Park

Palahala-camp: Katavi National Park

This camp features about 6 spectacular East African safari tents and they offer visitors the opportunity to engage in game drives, walking tours, fly camping, bush breakfast, bush dinners and many more. It is designed to be stylishly simple bush camp and it is strategically located where there is a variety of attractions for nature lovers to explore.

There is also Katavi Wildlife Camp or you can opt for a luxury lodge in Katavi especially Katuma Bush Lodge. This is the only lodge in the park and rewards visitors with amazing wilderness experiences with ultimate views of its endless plains of Katisunga. Katuma Bush Lodge is a perfect place for you to experience the true African wilderness.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the best safari destinations while on safari in Tanzania that reward visitors with true wilderness experiences then look no further than Katavi National Park. Unlike most protected areas, this park is one of the least visited parks thus rewarding travellers with authentic African experiences, especially with its varied unexplored natural treasures.