Katavi National Park is the 3rd largest national park in Tanzania and offers visitors a personal and exclusive safari experience in a wild and untouched area of Tanzania. This is primarily due to its position in the far south west of the country and the associated cost and time involved in reaching the park.
For those who do take the time to visit, an unforgettable safari awaits them. Being one of the least visited national parks is a bonus for the few who make it, not a reflection on the experience to be had there it is a place for those seeking the Africa of decades ago.
Katavi is predominantly high plains grassland, which becomes swampy wetland during the rains, interspersed with fringes of miombo woodland and scattered acacia. It has 2 lakes, Lake Katavi in the north and Lake Chada in the south, fed by the Kutuma River. These lakes are cracked open plains during the dry season from June to November and fills up only in the rainy season.
In the dry season, the Kutuma River shrinks to a narrow stream, with pools that become the extremely cramped quarters of hundreds of hippos and crocodiles. In fact, it is said that Katavi is home to the highest density of hippos and the largest crocodiles in Tanzania, and the dry winter makes for excellent viewing of these wallowing animals.
Katavi's vast ecosystem means that the lush floodplains attract a very large biomass and huge herds of wildlife. It is not uncommon to see herds of over 1000 buffalo at a time, along with large herds of topi and zebra, all grazing the plains during the day when they are less vulnerable to predators, while they prefer to return to the relative safety of the woodland at night.
The abundance of prey means that predators are a planty. Katavi is home to lion, leopard, spotted hyena, cheetah, wild dog, wild cat, serval and caracal. There are over 400 bird species, giving it equal credit to bird-watchers too.