Katavi national park, is one of the most remote parks in Tanzania yet offers a life time Tanzania safari experience to tourists who endeavor to explore Africa’s most fascinating places. Katavi national park covers an area of about 4,471 square kilometers making it the third largest national park in the country.
The name Katavi is derived from the name Katabi by the locals who believe that Katabi was a legendary Hunter whose spirit is believed to poses a local tamarind tree where locals take their offerings to gain favor, the parks wildlife is sustained by seasonal lakes Chada and Katavi not forgetting the Katuma River.
Katavi national park is located in the rift escarpment in Western Tanzania with very rich diversity of miombo woodlands, waterfalls, wetlands, grasslands, lakes and rivers. Animals such as elephants, zebras, impalas and giraffes are often seen at the shores while lions and bush dogs are at a distance waiting to capture their prey. The Katuma River harbors crocodiles and hippos and a lot of water birds. It offers very affordable Tanzania adventure holidays.
Katavi national park is endowed with the largest herds of buffalos in the whole world.River Katuma is the only source of water to the animals in the park during dry seasons, Katavi national park is also not very accessible by road there fore chartered flights are always away of reaching this gem of Africa.
A number of tourist’s activities can be done at the Katavi national park. Some of the activities can be seen below;
Game viewing: One of the most common activities to be done on a tour to Katavi national park is taking a game drive to the untouched wilderness, a lot of animals like large herds of cape buffalos, wildebeests, giraffes, elephants, hippos, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, hartebeests, deffasa water bucks, lions and many more. The main place for excellent game viewing is within the Katuma River. Katavi national park is also believed to be harboring the largest herds of buffalos in the whole world. The kasitunga plains are the best palace for viewing game. Game drives are always conducted during day time from 7am to 6pm east African time.
Bird watching: Katavi is one of the best destinations for bird enthuasts in Tanzania as it’s gifted with over 400 bird species, some of the birds seen at Katavi national park are; African fishing eagle, lilac breasted rollers, paradise flycatchers, bateleurs and saddle billed stork among the rest.
Guided nature walks: Tourists can take nature guided walks to one of the last in the park or the forested area and come in contact with various wildlife species and birds as well as plant life tourist can also take a wok to the historical sites.
Visit historical sites: Katavi national park is rich in history, with the park containing Stone Age sites of the ninetieth century, towns, the Kabora- Iyonga- slave route passed through the protected area during slave trade period. The towns are very rich in cultural diversity making it a too destination for those who love to do cultural visits and learn history and people ways of life.
Visit the tamarind tree: To get more information about he parks history, tourists can visit the famous tamarind tree which the locals believe the famous Hunter Kataviwhom the park is named after lives they always used to take offering at the foot of this tree to gain favors for hunting.
Camping: Tourists interested in camping can also take along their camping gears and dwell in the camping sites of the national park which provide bathrooms and toilets.
Though Katavi national park is seldom visited it offers a thrilling wilderness experience to it’s visitors ranging from wildlife, birdlife, landscapes and plant life.
Katavi national park can be visited all year round however; the best time to visit the park for a superb wilderness experience is in the dry season may to October and also December to February when the roads are passable. Katavi national park can be accessed by air, road or railway.
Katavi national park accommodation units range from camping grounds to luxurious 5 star hotels the choice of where to stay will depend on the tourist’s budget.