The western circuit of Tanzania s truly a haven of wilderness and Katavi National Park with its dramatic and remote settings is undoubtedly an off the beaten path experience. Out of bounds, seldom, expensive to access like the other western circuit safari icons, the seldom visited Katavi is a sweetheart of the intrepid lot who dare. To venture into Katavi is to be rewarded with virginal wildlife sceneries that give you a feeling of a Tanzania at the turn of the 20th century. Taking its name after the legendary huntsman Katabi, who spirit is said to residing in the legendary tamarind tree, the park straddles an area of 4,471 sq km (1,727 sq miles) and is the third largest park in Tanzania. The landscape and the vegetation of the park are as diverse and it is pristine and is dominated by the two vast floodplains of Chada and Katisunga and a healthy mix of Miombo forests, riverine forests which are fed by Katumi river round the year and some season lakes. The lush vegetation and dense waterways ensure an abundance of game besides and array of avifauna that would get the attention of birders. Home to the largest number of buffalos the park hosts a sizeable population of elephants and rhinos. The enormous Katisunga plains are the playground of zebra, hartebeest, eland, giraffe eland, sable and roan antelopes and defassa waterbuck but wild side of the park truly comes to the fore in the dry season when the animals converge on the the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada and the Katumi river and spectacle of predator and prey begins to unfold.
Katavi like most Tanzanian national parks is at its scintillating best during the dry season (July-October) as the dry conditions ensure that the game is out and about looking for water. During the wet seasons (April-May and November-December) the rains disperse the wildlife into the dense vegetations and cause flooding in the riverine. The humidity renders the park oppressive and malaria threat is also high. Though the scenery is impressive in the wet seasons and the migratory birds are in full flight
Katavi is a thrilling haven of wilderness teeming in game. You can catch the zebra, hartebeest, eland, giraffe and defassa waterbuck roan and sable antelope grazing the plains which keep the predators like lions leopards cheetahs, hyenas, jackals always interested. The park also harbours large herds of buffaloes, elephants with watching the hippos flopping in the riverine is an impressive sight. Incredible for game drives and birding opportunities.
The park is difficult to access by road and chartered flights are the best option though it is an expensive proposition. The only public, scheduled flight is the twice-weekly service between Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale operated by Safari Air Link. Direct flights are available from Dar or Arusha and visitors can also arrange their own charter flights.
The park is difficult to access by road.
Flight is the twice-weekly service between Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale operated by Safari Air Link.
Direct charter flights to the Arusha National Park are also available.