KATAVI NATIONAL PARK
Isolated, hard to get to, and overlooked, Katavi is a prize worth working for. A visit to Katavi will transport you to the Africa from ages ago, and its likely you’ll be the only one there. With only a few permanent camps, Katavi is one of the best off-the beaten track locations in Tanzania. Vast floodplains, woodland forests, and rivers that reduce to a trickle during dry season make up this beautiful park and offer great game viewing. Make your way to the section of the park aptly named “Paradise,” and you’ll pass through unexpected palm tree forests sidled up against plains. Throughout you’ll find an abundance of animals, often moving in large herds, as well as healthy populations of predators like lions and hyenas. Here you’ll spot some of the lesser known plains animals and may catch some lion – buffalo interactions. And don’t forget to look for mudholes, sometimes packed with hundreds of hippos.
Where: Southwestern Tanzania, Katavi is accessible by charter flights or twice-weekly scheduled flights. Driving, Katavi is a day’s drive from Mbeya and Kigoma.
Group Size: Standard safari size is a maximum of 6 people.
Practically untouched, you will be one of the few lucky travelers who get to experience the magic of this beautiful park.
Teeming with wildlife as the rivers dry up, and stunning after the rains with lush green marshes, visiting Katavi in different seasons can provide very different experiences.
In Katavi you can see lesser-spotted plains animals like roan, topi, and eland, as well as large herds of animals like buffalo and zebras.
Self-driving groups can pitch their campsite wherever they please as long as they have a permit.
Very isolated, Katavi is expensive or far to get to.
Unpassable during rainy season due to the black cotton soil that makes up most of the park.
What to bring and helpful advice: Bring all your standard safari gear, insect repellent, camera, spare batteries, hat and binoculars if you have them. Most operators will likely be able to arrange transport from Dar, but if you’re looking to save money consider taking the bus from Dar to Iringa and getting picked up from there. For those looking to camp and/or self-drive, be sure to come prepared with all necessary food and safety equipment, as you won’t be able to get anything there. Know that you are camping in the wild, so take the necessary precautions and properly clean up and dispose of all your food and waste. Roads are not well marked, so consider downloading an offline GPS, such as Tracks4Africa.