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Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park, located in the extreme west of Tanzania, is a safari enthusiast’s dream. Katavi, which is sometimes coupled with neighboring Mahale, attracts extremely few visitors because of its relative inaccessibility and expensive airfare costs. Those that take the time and money to get here, on the other hand, are amply rewarded – Katavi is nothing short of spectacular.

This park is really wild, with relatively few campgrounds and tourists. Katavi is one of the few sites in Africa where you may actually feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Many safari enthusiasts say this is the ultimate Tanzania safari park; we surely believe it is the country’s best-hidden secret. Mix this park with Mahale, notably at Nomad Tanzania’s Greystoke, and you might make the case that this is the best week in Africa.

Katavi National ParkThe concentration of games in Katavi is exceptional, with some studies suggesting that it is even higher than in Ngorongoro. Massive herds of buffalo and enormous lion prides combat on a regular basis, while hippos and crocodiles congregate in pods and nests found nowhere else in Africa. The expense of traveling here is definitely expensive, but this has shielded the park from the hordes that have afflicted other regions, and once here, lodge costs are fair and the bulk of the camps are of very excellent quality.

Katavi - The Natural World

We can’t think of someplace else that exhibits buffalo and lion duels quite like Katavi; game drives here may be really exciting! Katavi is also known for its massive crocodile and hippo populations; at its height, the gigantic hippo pool may hold 600 hippos, and crocodiles hibernate in caves like nowhere else in Africa. Katavi’s fauna hasn’t read the species’ behavior manual! Large elephant herds, as well as zebra, giraffe, topi, leopard, waterbuck, hyena, and the rare wild dog, make this a park that can match the best safari experiences in the world.

Katavi's Activities

The major activity in Katavi is wildlife drive during the day; night safaris are not authorized. Walking safaris are available at several of the sites, while Nomad Tanzania’s Chada Camp offers fantastic short fly camping adventures with nights spent out under the stars.

Katavi - When to Leave

Katavi, like the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park, is a classic dry-season park, with game viewing improving towards the end of the year. As the water holes and rivers dry up, the wildlife migrates down from the surrounding hills and congregates around the surviving river system – this is when the viewing becomes truly spectacular. Katavi’s peak season is from July to October, but more and more visitors are visiting the park outside of the season if only to have the area to themselves!

Where to Stay in Katavi

Nomad Tanzania’s Chada camp is the most well-known and our favorite in the park. It epitomizes the spirit of a remote safari camp, with only six traditional safari tents, and the guiding and general standards are what we have come to expect from a company as fine as Nomad. Foxes Katavi Wildlife Camp has the greatest site in the park; although larger and less refined than Nomad, it has emerged in recent years and is a more affordable alternative than Chada.