Katavi National Park
Remote, untouched and with few visitors, Katavi National Park, is western Tanzania’s best kept secret. Here you can experience the thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been over a century ago. Off the beaten track, Katavi offers outstanding game and wildlife viewing and is perfect for those looking for a truly exciting and exclusive safari experience.
Despite being Tanzania’s third largest national park, until recently you would find more people climbing Mount Everest every year than making their way to little-known Katavi. Moreover, it’s estimated that the Serengeti gets more visitors in one day than this park does in a whole year. Although the introduction of scheduled light aircraft flights has increased the number of safari goers, Katavi continues to offer one of the most authentic African safari experiences available and holds legendary status among wildlife aficionados.
We think that game viewing here is nothing short of magnificent, as Katavi hosts some of the largest herds of big game left in Africa. The park is dominated by Miombo woodland, cut through with two big rivers, the Katuma and Kapaga. These life-giving waterways open out onto vast floodplains for which Katavi is renowned. During the dry season, these plains attract huge herds of wildlife, which makes for great game viewing. Expect to see huge herds of buffalo grazing the tall golden grasses, along with elephant, zebra, giraffe, eland, waterbuck and impala. The predator count is also impressive, with high numbers of lion, spotted hyena and leopard. In fact, we’d argue that Katavi is one of the best places to watch dramatic encounters between lion and buffalo unfold.
The large swamplands also support huge populations of hippo and crocodile. During the dry season you will see large herds of hippo congregating in the tiniest waterhole, while the enormous crocodile take refuge from the heat in riverbank mud-holes. The birdlife is equally exceptional with over 400 species recorded. Look out for large flocks of open-billed and saddle-billed stork, spoonbill, crested crane and plentiful birds of prey, including African golden oriole and pennant-winged nightjar.
Katavi is an unspoiled wilderness filled with prolific wildlife and we would recommend a visit during the dry season from August to October, to experience the type of authentic safari once enjoyed by previous generations.