Katavi National Park is located in the far west of Tanzania. It is one of the most wonderful and remote places where we operate safaris. There are no luxury lodges here, just a couple of no-frills serious safari camps where safari is the only talk at the table. The remoteness of Katavi is what attracts its clients, with the added bonus that game viewing can be as wild as you will find anywhere – Katavi is a prehistoric park, a true land of giants.
The term ‘Africa’s best kept secret’ is used to describe so many remote parks in Africa. However, we believe the accolade should be given to just one place – Tanzania’s Katavi. Very few people visit this part of the country, either being put off by the high prices needed to get out this far or simply choosing to head for Tanzania’s more famous attractions. The result is one of the least visited and least developed National Parks in Africa.
Often booked alongside Mahale Mountains National Park, Katavi offers one of the last truly wild safari experiences left on the continent. Huge herds roam the plains here – the feeling of utter wilderness is tangible, virtually prehistoric. Vast buffalo and elephant herds, as well as huge lion prides, are found across the plains. Hippo pods mass in their hundreds, while crocodiles hibernate in dens – both occurrences are unique to Katavi.
At the peak of the dry season this park is nothing short of phenomenal, with exceptionally high concentrations of game focusing on the park’s remaining sources of water. It is this awesome density of game as well as the sheer sense of wilderness that makes this park so special. If you want to stay away from the crowds, Katavi is a genuine contender for Africa’s finest game-viewing park. Accommodation options are high end but have an adventurous flair.
WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
The first thing to say is that this park is best suited to safari enthusiasts. Katavi is a mecca for serious Africa-heads – with dinner conversation usually just about Africa! The best camps here are tailored for this kind of clientele – with an atmosphere that’s focused on the safari experience above all else. As a result, the best camps in Katavi are simple yet very high end. Expect them to have excellent guiding, and a real focus on getting out and exploring Katavi itself. This is not a park for opulent luxury – it is a place where the style of camps epitomises the very nature of such a wild location.
With flights costing a minimum of $1,000pp and a recommended stay of three nights or more, Katavi is far from a cheap destination! If you are willing to spend time travelling overland to Katavi, you will need at least two weeks, and to make it financially worthwhile you will need to travel in small groups. You can learn more about the beautiful Katavi National Park and the variety of wildlife viewing on offer on our blog.
Game driving, walking safari and fly camping. No night safari.
TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL
Katavi National Park is a classic dry-season park, with the game getting progressively better towards the end of the dry season. July through to October is regarded as the best time of year to travel, with the highest concentrations of game around the plains and the park’s only water supplies. November through to March sees the game concentrations diminish, but the quality of birding becomes absolutely superb – and you are guaranteed a park completely to yourself!
If you are spending this much time and effort travelling out to Katavi, we highly recommend combining your trip with the chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains National Park. This is one of the finest week-long safaris we operate anywhere – a genuine trip of a lifetime.