Katavi National Park Tanzania founded in 1974 is one of the most beautiful Tanzania safari destinations that you can visit while on a Tanzania safari tour. Katavi National Park is one of the most remote national parks of Tanzania less frequented by travellers who visit Tanzania, as compared to other national parks of Tanzania like Serengeti National Park which is one of the most sought after Tanzania safari destination, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, among so many others. Katavi National Park is approximately 4471 square kilometers in area size, making it one of the largest national parks in Tanzania; the third largest national park in Tanzania to be exact, encompassing the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Like Chada.
Katavi National Park Location
Where is Katavi National Park? You may wonder. Katavi National Park is located in the western part of Tanzania, about 40km south of Mpanda town. Katavi National Park is found in the shortened arm of the Great Rift Valley ending in a shallow area of Lake Rukwa. Katavi National Park lies east of Lake Tanganyika. The headquarters of Katavi National Park are at Sitalike about 40km south of Mpanda town. Katavi National Park is also about 503km from Mbeya town, 382km from Kigoma town and about 1062km from Arusha town.
History of Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park was first protected in 1911 during the German occupation, got renamed to Rukwa Game Reserve by the British who occupied the area until 1932. The year 1974 had the place declared a national park and was officially opened to travellers in 1998. Katavi National Park derives her name from the Wabene spirit “Katabi” who according to the locals lives in a tamarind tree just near Lake Katavi. Locals believe the spirit of Katabi still lives in the tamarind tree and so still look to it for blessings and also give offerings left at the foot of the tree.
Katavi National Park attractions
There are a number of attractions in Katavi National Park that travellers can see and also cause them to visit the park on a Katavi National Park safari. Below are some of the various attractions in Katavi National Park;
Katavi National Park animals
Animals in Katavi National Park are some of the very reason that travellers do visit the park. The vast Katavi National Park plains are a spectacular inhabitant for a variety of animals. Large herds of buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, elands, topis, waterbucks, hartebeests among so many others are some of the animals in Katavi National Park that travellers can spot while on a Tanzania safari tour in the park. The Katavi River, Chada River and the Katuma River all become just pools during the dry season and thus are a great sight to see animals in Katavi National Park. While in Katavi National Park, the Katsunga plain is one of the best places to see huge concentrations of crocodiles and hippos.
Birds in Katavi National Park
There are over 450 birds in Katavi National Park recorded to roam the park. Travellers can spot a variety of birds in Katavi National Park during various activities in the park, anytime of the year. The months of November and April however are the best time to go for birding safaris in Katavi National Park as there are migratory birds in the park even then. Some of the various bird species that travellers may spot include herons, plovers, African open bills, hornbills, barbets, shrikes, eagles, vultures, among so many others.
Other attractions in Katavi National Park include primates, Lake Katavi, Katsunga Plain, Katuma River, the tamarind tree, as well as the various vegetation types in Katavi National Park which inhabit the various species of animals in Katavi National Park.
Things to do in Katavi National Park/ Katavi National Park activities
With so much beauty in Katavi National Park and also a typical wilderness and remoteness of the park, there are a number pf activities in Katavi National Park that travellers can do. Below are the most sought after things to do in Katavi National Park;
Game drives in Katavi National Park take travellers through some really remote wilderness areas in search for diverse wildlife in Katavi National Park. Katavi National Park is a magnificent Tanzania safari destination for game viewing, especially in the dry season when the animals do converge in the few waterholes in the park. Game drives in Katavi National Park can be done throughout the day, with early morning game drives starting at around 6:30am being most rewarding. Night game drives in Katavi National Park however are also great and give travellers an opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife including nocturnal like lions, leopards, bush babies, hyenas, among others.
Walking safaris in Katavi National Park are possible, giving travellers an opportunity to explore the park, and get up close with animals in Katavi National Park on foot. Walking safaris in Katavi National Park is done in the company of ranger guides, taking you through well-established trails to various gems like Lake Katavi, Lukima and Ndidi waterfalls, among others.
With over 450 bird species in Katavi National Park, birding safaris are one of the Katavi National Park activities that travellers would surely enjoy, giving them an opportunity to spot a variety of birds. Travellers who do embark on birding safaris in Katavi National Park during the wet season are rewarded with a variety of bird species sighting chances.
To get to enter Katavi National Park, one ought to pay Katavi National Park fees to do a variety of activities in the park. For foreign non-residents, adult travellers pay 30USD per day per person as entrance fees to Katavi National Park, while children aged 5-15 years pay 20USD.
Best time to visit Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park can be visited all throughout the year, to enjoy the various activities in the park. The best time to visit Katavi National Park however s during the dry season which runs in the months of June to October. The dry season has the grass short, and animals converging in the few waterholes still in the park. The rainy season is also a great time to visit Katavi National Park for birding safaris, especially in the months of November and April.
How to get to Katavi National Park
Travellers can get to Katavi National Park by road and air. By road, Katavi National Park is quite hard to access, with travellers travelling from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya being 1513km, Dar es Salaam via Tabora 1392km, Arusha via Tabora 1015km, all of which are long distances to drive. By air, there are several domestic airlines like safari air link which offer charter flights from Dar es Salaam Mwanza or Arusha to either Mpanda airport or Sitalike and Ikuu airstrips inside the park.
Katavi National Park accommodation
There are a number of accommodation in Katavi National Park that travellers can stay in while on a Katavi National Park safari. The various Katavi National Park accommodation cater for the different categories of travellers; that is luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation in Katavi National Park. Some of the various Katavi National park accommodation that travellers can stay in include Palahala Luxury Camp, Katuma Bush Lodge, Chada Special Campsite, Nomad Tented Camp, Katavi Wildlife Camp, Mbali Mbali Katavi Lodge, among so many others.
Katavi National Park is a beautiful remote national park of Tanzania that is a perfect destination for Tanzania luxury safaris, as well as exclusive Tanzania safaris and for travellers after some peace and quite, Katavi National Park is just the best place for you, for the remoteness of the park has fewer travellers visiting, despite her diversity and beauty. Looking to enjoy an authentic Tanzania safari tour, get your tour operator help you curate a safari to Katavi National Park, and get to visit the out of the normal Tanzania safari destinations. Other safari destinations in Tanzania however include Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania, Zanzibar, and so much more.