Katavi National Park, Western Tanzania Destinations

Hippo Pool Katavi National Park Tanzania

 Home to the largest herds of buffalo on the planet, Katavi is an untouched, remote, hard and wild wilderness paradise, in the western area of Tanzania. The park boasts an array of habitats, ranging from flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways that teem with hippo of up to 600 strong and crocodile to woodlands, open grasslands, forests and pristine seasonal lakes.

Deep in South-Western Tanzania and south-east of Lake Tanganyika, the Katavi National Park is untamed, isolated, unspoiled, seldom visited and extremely wild. Katavi is a true African wilderness, providing the few intrepid travelers who make it there with a thrilling taste of the real 'old' Africa. Katavi is the third largest national park in Tanzania.

The bulk of Katavi is dense and featureless brachystegia woodland and game is hard to spot. But the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada offer a more rewarding experience.

Katavi is a classic dry season reserve and during this time Katavi National Park truly comes into its own. The muddy trickle of the Katuma River becomes the only source of drinking water for miles around. From June to October large buffalo herds of up to 3,000 graze on the plains.

 Game drives offer superb photographic opportunities, whilst walks beside sluggish rivers are exciting. Large crocodiles lie in mud-holes, marabou storks pick over hippo carcasses and spotted hyena lope off into the distance. Elephants drink from tiny water holes in mud-cracked pans, roan and sable antelope hide in dense thickets, while vultures clean and dry their wings in small streams. As the sun falls low in the sky, a visit to the hippo pool, where 600 hippos live in dense formation and engage in fierce territorial battles, provides a perfect place for a sundowner. Event better over 400 different bird species, including an abundance of waterfowl, inhabit the park.

Adventure travelers to the area can experience its mystical magical Katavi legend by seeking out the legendary tamarind tree, which is said to house the spirit of a great huntsman named Katabi. Here, they can place an offering at the base of the tree in memory of this exceptional hunter.

At night the smoke curls up from the camp fire and the sound of cicadas becomes deafening. If you sit quietly you might see a pennant-winged nightjar flit across the purple sky or hear a distant owl.

Katavi is a magical park. We recommend you see it now before others discover it arriving by light aircraft passing over the Katasunga Plains before landing.


Why Visit Katavi National Park, Western Tanzania.

  • Katavi allows walking safaris, and with the abundant game makes for some of the most thrilling walking safaris in Tanzania.
  • Excellent birding, particularly waterfowl due to the large amount of surface water and the seasonal lakes.
  • Perfect place for fly-camping under a mosquito net with the African night sky for as your ceiling.
  • Far from the beaten track and ruggedly adventurous, this is an undiluted safari for the seasonal traveler looking for the real soul of safari.
  • The one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
  • The large herds of buffalo and the many hippos.
  • The great photographic opportunities Katavi has to offer.

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