Katavi National Park
It provides unspoiled animal watching in the country’s third-largest national park, which is located in a remote, off-the-beaten-path area. The national park represents Africa at its most natural – unpolluted bush surroundings, breathtaking views, and abundant species.
The remoteness of Katavi National Park, located in Tanzania’s western region, is one of the country’s most unspoilt locations.
Katavi’s breathtaking scenery is as diverse as it is beautiful. A large number of hippo and a diverse birdlife live in flood plains of thick reeds and dense streams. Forest canopies veil herds of buffaloes and elephants in the woodlands to the west. After the rains, seasonal lakes fill with dirty-colored water, and animals from all across the park come to drink. The park is also home to the endangered roan and sable antelope species, and it is a must-see for anyone planning a trip to the continent’s wilds.
Katavi is a true wilderness, isolated, untrammeled, and rarely visited, affording the few brave souls who make it there with a wonderful taste of Africa as it must have been a century ago.
Tanzania’s third largest national park is located in the country’s extreme southwest, along a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that ends in the shallow, gloomy expanse of Lake Rukwa.
The majority of Katavi is covered in a hypnotically featureless tangled brachystegia woods, which is home to large but elusive populations of eland, sable, and roan antelopes. Nonetheless, the Katuma River and surrounding floodplains, such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada, are the main focus for game watching within the park. These lush, marshy lakes offer a home for a variety of water birds during the rainy season, and they also house Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles.
Katavi actually comes to life during the dry season, when the floodwaters have receded. The Katuma, which has been reduced to a shallow muddy trickle, is the only supply of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support incredible wildlife populations. 4,000 elephants and many herds of 1,000 or more buffalo are expected to congregate in the area, while a plethora of giraffes, zebras, impalas, and reedbucks provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories intersect on the floodplains.
The hippos in Katavi create the most unique animal display. Up to 200 people can flop together in any riverine pool of suitable depth near the end of the dry season. As more hippos congregate in one location, male rivalry heats up – bloody territorial clashes are commonplace, with the defeated male left to scavenge on the open plains until he regains the confidence to mount another challenge.