Katavi National Park
Compare to other national parks (Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti plains) in Tanzania, Katavi national park created in 1974 is among the terrific and untouched park in Africa which offer the finest wildlife viewing and extraordinary birds watching while glimpsing at the astonishing scenery and ridiculous landscapes. This little unknown and less visited national park in Tanzania is the paradise of Hippos and Crocodile and worth a visit while planning a safari to the country.
You will be blown away by the amazing wildlife vibe that you will find in Katavi National park since the park receives only around 500 visitors in a year and hence it can be your own private and silent paradise because you will hardly encounter other vehicles during your game drive and you will get a reward of a great game viewing both the nature and wildlife in this one of the outstanding national parks in Africa.
The park can easily be accessed by the local small flights or a long drive from Arusha or Mbeya but still, it worth a visit since you can always witness the diversity of the animals and birds as well as fantastic scenic views. Since this park is remote and yet the best place to visit then below I have narrated what you can experience while in Katavi National park.
Thorough wetlands and substantials water catchments
There are several water bodies in Katavi national park and mind-blogging wetlands that give animals a friendly environment for searching their daily meals which resulted in growing strong and healthy, that is why most of the animals in Katavi are huge in shape which makes them unique and interesting to see. Several rivers can be found in Katavi park and some are Katuma river and Rungwa river which are famous for preserving crocodiles especially during the dry season as well as waterfalls Ndido, also Hippos can be found in Ikuu spring and Magogo pools as well as Katavi and Chada lake. Apart from this all water bodies the Katuma valley is the most valuable water body in Katavi and regarded as a paradise spring especially during a dry season where you can find a large concentration of Hippos about more than 100 demanding for cool temperature.
You will be amazed by the way Katavi’s vegetation and habitat have been preserved here, you will be capable to see various types of woodlands and shrublands as well as acacia trees where you can identify numerous birds on it. Since the traditions of people staying close to the park includes not allowed to cut down trees and tarnish the environment and thus made the park rich in vegetation and nature as well as the environment, again the wetlands will always have benefit to the park’s vegetation due to the presence of water for the longest time of the year.
Extraordinary Wildlife View
Regularly you can easily see the big 4 in this national park except for the rhino which they were there during the 1970s and some of them were migrated to Zambia according to the history and others were being poached which it was popular in Tanzania especially in 1980s. Other animals that you can see include Lions, leopard, elephants, giraffe, hyena, buffalo, an enormous number of birds and also Katavi national park has a high concentration of hippos and crocodile due to the available water sources like rivers, dams and lake Katavi and Chada. You will witness the herds of buffalo and elephants going around the park and find their daily meals or get to watch a leopard and lion wake up and get ready for the evening hunt with no one else around. If that is not interesting yet then there are also beautiful herds of giraffes, elephants, zebras, impala, yellow monkeys and lots of birds that you can spot while on the game drive and sometimes in the lodge accommodation. This is truly a park with a minimum number of tourist with extraordinary wildlife viewing hence worth a visit
Breathtaking views and incredible scenery
Apart from wildlife animals viewing you can also observe different scenery in the national park like the famous Katsunga plains which is regarded as a little Serengeti because it is the second vast plains after the Serengeti. The Katsunga plains offer best views during sunrise and sunset and best scene for those who like taking wildlife photos. Another attraction is Lyamba la Mfipa which is the mountain located at the border of the national park which as well offers an incredible view and breathtaking scenery. You will also be able to observe the Rukwa valley as well as Katuma valley which is famously regarded as crocodile paradise and also you will identify different hot spring as well as waterfalls which are very interesting to see.
Traditions and customs
People around Katavi National park are still keeping the traditions and customs of their culture, the culture of Katavi people believes in the gods that can be found in some of the big trees which most of them are inside the Katavi national park and one of the famous trees for arranging rituals is called “Katabi” where many different ancestors from Katavi region will come here and pray for their different things and needs and one example is praying for rain during dry season.
The tree is famous and many travellers will wish to visit once in Katavi national park, but also these rituals have a positive impact on the national park where Katavi people don’t believe in cutting down trees for any reason since they believe trees especially the long and huge one is where their gods staying and this result making the Katavi park one of the most protected and with thrilled nature and environment compared to other national parks in Tanzania.
Located in the south-west of Tanzania, Katavi national park is one of the gigantic national park in Tanzania located in Katavi region, the region is currently established and it was named after the park in 2012. With about 4,471 km² and 365km from Tabora region and 560 from Sumbawanga region, Katavi national park is one of the hidden gem and unexploited nature that you can not find elsewhere in Tanzania.
“Travel far enough, you meet yourself” quote by David Mitchel
This is what exactly you are going to find once you arrived in Katavi national park. This awe-inspiring park offers the truly African wildlife view with no one around.
Many of the guests arriving in this park will come from neighbour countries of DRC, Burundi and Rwanda countries which they border close to the national park hence not so many tourists will arrive here compare to the famous Serengeti or Ngorongoro, you can drive for 4 to 5 hours without encounter vehicles except for the park rangers and this can truly be one of the truly hidden gems in the heart of African Wildlife and you will be amazed to see how wildlife are having their time in this park.
Where to Stay
There are several places you could spend a night in Katavi national park but I really recommend Katuma bush lodge which is located in the edge of Katsunga plain inside the national park which is regarded as a little Serengeti. The lodge location is superb and the staff are friendly and helpful. Katuma bush lodge has different adventures including the sunset and sunrise, bird watching as well as the different number of animals around which the friendly staff of Katuma lodge will always tell you what type of animals by hearing the sounds. Their tented lodge is with electricity 24/7 and clean bathrooms with comfortable beds as well as unique bird sounds which boost the beautifulness of the camp. Another is the pool area which is very pleasant and clean, something you can hardly find around lodges especially in remote bush areas. Spend your night in this Katuma tented camp and experience a unique and striking place with great staff.
How to get there
There are two flight per week operating from Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza where you will need to communicate with your tour operators and book for you, otherwise, you can drive from Arusha which it can take up to 1000km drive. The drive from nearby region Tabora can take up to 360km drive and drive from near region Sumbawanga which is 170km drive and 500km drive from Mbeya.
You can agree with me that it is hard to find a natural and silent place with a high concentration of wild animals like this in the world of today where environment pollution and cutting down trees are among the most common things to do but for Katavi national park where you can find a pleasant nature and strong, healthy wild animals and birds is different since the people surrounding the Katavi park are the ambassadors to keep the natural environment as well as the wild animals and this was all possible due to the culture, traditions and customs that insist on not affect the natural environment of the park especially the trees and animals and this came all the way from their ancestors and who believes in worshipping big trees like Katabi and this resulted to have the best nature with wildlife vibe with no one around that you can hardly find elsewhere in Africa.
At Shizi safaris we organize best safari tours to Katavi national park and we welcome you in case you will have any question or inquiry about a safari tour to the Katavi national park.