Primate Holidays

Katavi national park

Katavi National Park is located in the western part of Tanzania, 40 kilometres south of Mpanda town, in the Great Rift Valley, which extends into Lake Rukwa’s shallow portion, the park is a true wilderness area. This park is situated in east of Lake Tanganyika. With a total area of 4,471 square kilometres, Katavi National Park is the third-largest national park in Tanzania. The park’s terrain includes a variety of plains, including Chada Plain and Katsunga Plain. The prominent Tanzanian tourist safari destination Arusha is 1062 kilometres away from Katavi National Park, which is also 503 kilometres from Mbeya Town and 382 kilometres from Kigoma Town.

425 square km Katsunga plain, a prominent feature in centre of Katavi National Park, is made up of broad grassy plains and bushy areas that are home to roan and sable antelopes. A large population of animals congregate in the flood plains during the dry season to drink water, making them the greatest place to see these creatures. Katavi National Park is also dominated by areas of bush, forested savannah, Miombo woods, and flood plains. Lake Katavi, a seasonal body of water in Katavi National Park, has a range of 100 to 150 kilometres in length, depending entirely on the lake’s level of water.

Some of the last buffalo herds on the African continent still roam in Katavi National Park, which is also home to a variety of other animals, including giraffes, topis, elands, zebras, waterbucks, hartebeests, impalas, duikers, elephants, leopards, lions, hyenas, wild dogs, and many others. Animals in Katavi National Park primarily live along the banks of Katavi, Katuma, and Chada rivers, as well as the Mlele and Lyamba lya Mfipa escarpments in the park’s north and west. Crocodiles can be found in the park in a number of locations, including Katuma River, Ndido Falls, Kapapa River, and caverns close to Ikuu Bridge.

 More than 450 different bird species have been recorded in Tanzania’s Katavi National region, including waterbirds that nest on riverbanks, and migratory bird species that visit the region from November to April. Raptors, Herons, African golden oriole, spoonbills, Bateleur, Little bee-eater, Red-billed hornbill, little bee-eaters, red-billed hornbills, crested barbets, White backed vulture, Yellow-throated sandgrouse, Saddle-billed vulture, and many other birds can be found in Katavi National Park.

History of Katavi National park.                                        

German colonialists in Tanzania first designated Katavi National Park as a protected area in 1911; after the Germans were ousted by British colonialists, the park was renamed Rukwa Game Reserve in 1932. The reserve’s initial area was 1,832 square kilometres; in 1997, it was increased to 4,471 square kilometres; and in 1998, it was formally established as a national park under the name Katavi.

The name Katavi National Park comes from a local slang term that means “Katabi” and is a name given to a Wabende ghost. According to local legend, Kitabi was a legendary hunter, and the tamarind trees that dot the landscape of Katavi National Park are thought to be home to the spirit of Katabi. At the base of the tamarind trees, locals pay a visit and make offerings to the Katabi ghost.

Tourist activities to do in Katavi national park. 

Game viewing.

Animals including roan antelopes, eland, topi, hippos, hartebeest, waterbucks, hippos, crocodiles, hyenas, sable antelopes, zebras, impalas, buffaloes, giraffes, lions, spotted hyenas, reedbucks, and many more are sighted in Katavi National Park, which is home to a large amount of wildlife. The flood plains, marshy lakes during the rainy season, on the banks of Katavi, Chada lakes, and Katuma River are the best places to see these animals. Morning game drives take place between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm, while night game drives take place during the pitch-black hours of the night and offer views of predators like lions, elephants, spotted hyenas, and many more while spotting them with the help of the spotlight torches. Game viewing safari is offered according to the time and session, which are day game drives and guided night game drives. The dry season, which runs from the month of June to the month of October, is the finest time to go game viewing in Katavi National Park.

Bird watching.

Katavi National Park is bird watching paradise with over 450 bird species that can be spotted in the park, some of the bird species includes Fish eagle, yellow throated sand grouse, crowned plover, cattle egret, whistling duck, black kite, broad billed roller, pink backed pelican, whistling duck, crowned plover, a yellow-throated sand grouse and among others. More so, the best time to go for bird watching safari in Katavi National Park is from November to April when migrating birds are in the area.

Walking/hiking experience.

Walking or trekking in Katavi National Park is an exhilarating safari activity that allows visitors to see practically every area of the park. This safari activity begins at the park’s headquarters and proceeds along the road leading to Katavi Seasonal Lake. A short walking/hiking experience is done on Sitalike walking path, which is 1–9 kilometres long and takes about 3 hours to complete. Long walking/hiking experiences are given as well, however they are done on separate trails. Chorangwa hiking trail is a long walk/hike that is 17 kilometres long and takes more than 5 hours to complete.


Katavi National Park has a number of campsites where tourists may have a camping safari experience. Camping in the park is an exciting pastime that offers a true African wilderness safari experience. These campsites are divided into three categories: flying camping, special camping, and public camping. A public campsite includes amenities like restrooms, kitchens, dining areas, and water. Fly camping is a very well-known example of special camping with top-notch privacy and it is more adventurous. Special campsites maximize a great deal on seclusion.

Where to stay while on a safari in Katavi national park.

While on a safari in Katavi national park there is plenty of accommodation facilities to choose from ranging from luxury, midrange and budget. Budget-friendly accommodations options include Ikuu public campsites, Katavi picnic site, Chada special campsite, Kapilula campsite, Kapilula 1 campsite, and Kapimbye special campsite. Luxury accommodation options include Katavi wildlife camp and Nomad Tented camp and others. Midrange accommodation options include Mbali Mbali Katavi lodge, Chada Katavi camp, and Palahala luxury camp and others.

How to get to Katavi national park. 

There are three ways to get to Katavi National Park: by air, by road, and by train. From Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Arusha, domestic chartered flights are available. Several air carriers, including Zantas Air, Safari Air Link, Sitalike, located inside Katavi National Park, and Mpanda Airport in Mpanda Town, operate these domestic flights. Katavi National Park is reachable by road from a number of Tanzanian sites. It is a 1513-kilometer drive via Mbeya from Dar-es-Salaam, a 1392-kilometer travel from Tabora, a 1015.7-kilometer drive via Tabora from Arusha, and a 741-kilometer drive via Tabora-Inyonga from Mwanza. By train, you can go from Dar es Salaam to Tabora and then take a taxi or a motorbike to Sitalike.

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