Katavi National Park
Tanzania Destinations | western circuit
Remotely and rarely visited. The Katavi national park is a pearl among the national parks in Tanzania. Tanzania third biggest national park lies in the remote southwest of the country, close to Lake Tanganyika, in a remote Rift Valley arm, which ends in the shallow, dark expansion of the Rukwa lake. It has a higher density of mammals than any other Tanzanian National Park. Rivers groan with hippopotamus and crocodiles, and schattered over the plains are great herds of buffaloes, with up to 1000 animals in one group.
The largest part of Katavi is covered Miombo Forest, which offers protection to large, but shy groups of Elen, black horse and Sable Antilopes. The actual point of attraction for animal observers is however the Katuma river with its washing levels, to which the seasonal lakes Katavi and Chada belong. During the rain time these sumptuous, swampy lakes attracts innumerable water birds, and they nourish of Tanzania highest accumulations of hippos and crocodiles.
Katavi is most impressive during dry season, when the lakes and rivers are almost dry. Many animals, including 4000 elephants, then concentrate at the few water holes. But Katavis most spectacular animal experience are the hippos. Toward the end of the dry season you might see up to 200 hippos into a deep river pool, rivalry between the male animals.
The park head office in Sitalike is 40 km south of Mpanda. Charter flights are offered from Daressalam or Arusha. Dring dry season the park can also be reached on road, from Mbeya (550 km) and Kigoma (390 km).
NOTE: Best travel time is during drying season: May to October and December until February.