Katavi: Why it’s one of the best off-the-beaten-track parks in Tanzania for a safari
Katavi National Park is one of Tanzania’s least-visited national parks, despite being the third-largest in that country. The reason for this is its remoteness in the western part of Tanzania. However, the park is another jewel in Tanzania’s incredible National Park system.
Katavi’s seasonal waterscapes make for a fascinating safari. The park contains large Katuma River floodplains; after the wet season, the river feeds Lake Katavi in the north and Lake Chada in the park’s centre. During the dry season, theses water sources dwindle to a much narrower Katuma River, which all wildlife must visit during the day to drink and cool down. A classic Katavi sight is of hundreds of hippopotami vying for a spot to wallow in the river and in the mud holes along its banks.
Only 1,500 visitors a year come to Katavi (versus over a million in the best-known national parks). There is also a very good chance that you will have the park almost entirely to yourself. Beyond the river and wetlands, the park has a mixture of woodland and grassland that makes for a high degree of wildlife and birdlife diversity, including large herds of antelope and Cape buffalo. Rivers, when dry can strand hundreds of hippopotamus to mud-holes. Katavi has high diversity and large herds of herbivores, especially Cape buffalo.
Katavi: a truly intimate, off-the-beaten-track park for a classic, dry season safari
Despite the fact that other parks, such as the Serengeti, will be full of visitors during the dry season, the effort to reach Katavi rewards with its relative emptiness. The tented camps, quality of guiding, and abundant wildlife make for a safari similar to what one may encounter in the Serengeti or Ruaha, but the scarcity of visitors adds an uncommon element of safari solitude.
When is the best time to go to Katavi?
In the Tanzanian dry season, from mid-late June through November.