The wilderness of Katavi National Park, located in the western area of Tanzania, is one of the most untouched areas in the entire country. It offers un-spoilt wildlife viewing in the country’s third-largest national park, in a remote location far off the beaten track. The national park is Africa at its most wild — pure bush settings, stunning views, and rich wildlife.
Seasonal, marshy lakes draw animals to the floodplains, including large numbers of Hippos and Crocodiles, and a huge variety of water birds. Sight Buffalo and Elephants seeking shade under the forest canopies, and if you’re particularly eagle-eyed you might be rewarded with a rare sighting of the elusive roan and Sable antelope species.
During the dry season, the shallow trickle of the Katuma River is the only source of drinking water for several miles around, offering you an exceptional opportunity for game viewing at its best. Up to 4,000 Elephants have been known to gather, as well as herds of more than 1,000 Buffalo, while hordes of Giraffes, Zebras, Impalas and Reedbucks attract Lion prides and spotted Hyena clans to converge on the floodplains.
Not undermining the real spectacle at Katavi, is the Hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, as many as 200 might gather, and it’s not long before male rivalry heats up. Violent and bloody territorial fights flair up multiple times a day and are quite a show to behold. Try not to interfere with their way!
Location; Southwest part of Tanzania, Eastern part of Lake Tanganyika.
The headquarters at Sitalike lie 40km (25 miles) South of Mpanda town.
Charter flights from Dar or Arusha.
A tough but spectacular day’s drive from Mbeya (550 km/ 340 miles) or in the dry season only from Kigoma (390 km/240 miles).
It is possible to reach Mpanda by rail from Dar via Tabora, then to get public transport to Sitalike, where game drives can be arranged. If travelling overland, give rooms to plenty of time to get there and back.
What to do
Walking, driving and camping safaris.
Near Lake Katavi, visit the tamarind tree inhabited by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi (for whom the park is named) – Offerings are still left here by locals seeking the spirit’s blessing.
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