katavi national park tanzania africa

Katavi National Park

The greatest part of the National Park is covered with Miombo, which has become the home of gazelles and antelopes.
The Miombo is a Swahili word that is used to generically define the plants of the genus Brachystegia, a genus that includes many species, but which has acquired a wider meaning, going on to be used to refer to a type of tropical and sub-tropical biome characterized by clearings, savannah and small trees in which the presence of Brachystegia is the dominant element.
Excursions in the area are made mainly along the Katuma river and the alluvial plain where the Katavi and Chada lakes are located seasonally.
During the rainy season these lakes are the habitat for a myriad of water birds, and also host the highest concentration of Tanzanian hippos and crocodiles.

Peculiarity of Katavi National Park:

  • you can find over 1,500 buffaloes that move around the surrounding plains;
  • the name "Katavi immortalises" comes from a legendary hunter, Katabi, whose spirit is believed to have taken possession of a tamarind tree to which the locals donate offers to have his blessing;
  • the animals live around Lake Katavi thanks to the presence of green plains to the north, the proximity to Lake Chada and the presence of the Katuma river which supplies them with water for the whole year.

What to do

Bird watching, boat or canoe safaris, walking safaris, wildlife safaris, camping.

Position

It covers an area of 4,471 km² and is located in the south-west of Tanzania.
It is about 40 km southeast of the city of Mpanda and is a rather difficult place to reach.

Getting There

Charter flights from Dar es Salaam or Arusha.
A tough but spectacular day of trip from Mbeya (550 km) and, only in the dry season, from Kigoma (390 km).
You can reach Mpanda by train from Dar es Salaam via Tabora, then take public transportation to Sitalike, where safaris can be organized.

When to Go

The best months to visit it are during the dry season or from May to October (until the park becomes inaccessible due to the rains) and from mid-December to February.
From March to May the Great Rains make the roads impracticable.
Camping can only be done in tents when the dry season begins.
The temperature varies from 15°C during the night to 35°C during the hottest hours.

Where to Stay

Two luxury tented camps overlooking Lake Chada.
A rest house in Sitalike and campsites within the park.
Various hotels in Mpanda.

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