Katavi National park-Tanzania
Situated along the rift escarpment in western Tanzania, Katavi national park is a 4,471 square kilometer park created in 1974 in Katavi region. It is the third largest national park in Tanzania though very remote thus being less visited than the other country’s national park. Katavi national park encompasses River Katuma and the seasonal lake of Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains. The park is a land of massive diversity of wildlife, vegetation which varies from miombo woodland where a variety of animals like antelopes hide.
Tourist attractions in Katavi national park
Wildlife: Katavi national park is a home to a spectacular concentration of big mammals especially in the dry season which is the best time to visit the park. Animals in the park include elephants, zebras, topis, zebras, and large herds of buffalos, hartebeests, giraffes, impalas, duikers, elands and others. Allocate these animals around the water sources like the Katavi, Katuma and Chada rivers during the dry seasons. Also the predators like lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs and others can be found on these water sources.
Bird species: Katavi national park records over 450 birds and the birding experience is always best from November to April when the migratory birds from northern Africa and Europe are present. A number of water birds like plovers, spoonbills, herons, African open bills and others can be sighted along the rivers. Prey birds are also available at the park and among these include bateleur eagle, fish eagle, white-backed vulture and others. Other birds to be spotted in the park are; orange breasted bush-shrikes, crested barbets, little bee-eaters, red billed hornbills, African golden oriole, African paradise flycatchers and others.
Katuma River and Katavi Lake: River Katuma is one of the major attractions in Katavi National Park. The River pours water into different other water sources like Lake Katavi, Chada and Kavuu plains which act as habitats for different wildlife like crocodiles, hippos and other aquatic animals. These water sources also attract a various concentration of other animals like elephants, and buffalos which come to drink water. As these animals take water, the predators like lions, leopards and hyenas see it as a great advantage to get foods.
Lake Katavi is a seasonal lake that covers an area of about 100-150 km. During the rainy season this lake attracts a lot of water birds and also a high concentration of crocodiles and hippos.
The Chada plain: Chada was the name of one of the gods of the Pimbwe people who were residents around these plains but currently live outside the park boundaries. This god lived in the middle of the chada plain and the hippos were like his cattle. The plains harbors a great number of animals and during the rainy season, all the plains become seasonal lakes flooded with water. Drive or walk along the Chada plains and get a chance of getting closer to pride of about 16 lions which are waiting for buffalos to get closure to them. A Chada plain is also one of the places you can see a number of buffalos of about 1000 to 3000 at a very close distance. Chada plain remains the best place for walking safaris and game drives in the republic of Tanzania.
The sacred tamarind tree (tree of the spirit ‘’Katabi’’): Experience a cultural safari in Katavi National park by visiting the tree of the spirit ‘’Katabi’’. This would be one of the great opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the local people. The tree is believed to inhabit by the spirit of the legendary hunter Katabi and it is found near Lake Katavi. The tree is used by the local tribes- Pimbwe and Wabende who were staying near the park for asking blessings and their other needs and the offerings are left on the tree.
Activities done in Katavi National Park
There are a number of activities that travelers can do during their safari in Katavi National Park. Among the must do activities in the park include game drives, nature walking, birding, and camping.
Accommodations in Katavi National Park
There are a number of accommodations in Katavi National Park ranging from luxury, mid-range and budget. Among them include;
Katavi wildlife camp- luxury
Nomad tented camp-luxury
Palahala luxury camp-midrange
Chada Katavi camp- midrange
Mbali Mbali Katavi lodge-midrange