Covering an area of 2253 km2 Katavi National Park is located in
Mpanda Districts, Rukwa Region about 40 km south east of Mpanda
town. The name of the park immortalizes a legendry hunter, katabi,
whose spirit is believed to posses a tamarind tree ringed with
offerings from locals begging his blessings. The park is famous for
its undisturbed natural face compared to other parks in the country.
Despite being the Tanzania third largest park, Katavi sees
relatively few visitors, meaning that those guests who arrive here
can look forward to having this huge pristine wilderness to them
The landscape is one of open grassy plains interspersed with
brachystegia (miombo) woodland, acacia forests, small lakes and
swampy wetlands. Major features of attraction include Lake Katavi
with its vast short grass flood plains in the north; palm fringed
Lake Chada in the Southeast and Katuma River. Katavi boasts
Tanzania’s greatest population of both crocodile and hippopotamus.
In addition to the buffalo, hippo and elephant, the park holds vast
quantities of crocs, topi, giraffe, hartebeest, sable, roan,
waterbuck and reedbuck and large populations of predators - lion,
hyena, leopard. The rare puku antelope can be seen with some luck
for some extraordinary reason it also seems to hold vast quantities
of mice, especially around the edge of Chada flood plain. The 400
plus species of birds reflect an intriguing balance between east and
southern African species.
Katavi is the best visited in the dry season between May and
October. This is mostly because all roads in, are strictly four
wheel drive tracks, which become impassable in the rainy season. For
accommodation there is a rest house and campsites within the park
area, hotels and loges in Mpanda and Sumbawanga towns.
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