Katavi National Park

The untouched wildlife paradise

A remote fly-in destination
The charm of Katavi National Park lies in its remoteness. Not used to visitors, the animals here are wild and very cautious. The animal density is exceptionally high. Katavi is Tanzania’s third largest park and borders several large game reserves. During the dry season, the river attracts a large number of animals from the surrounding 1.2 million protected areas. On a Katavi safari, you can therefore experience huge herds of buffalo, elephants and hippos as well as numerous predators. As the park is actually only accessible by plane, only a few visitors travel here. A special experience in our hectic world awaits you here – the original Africa. Experience it before it changes.
About Katavi 

Katavi National Park is the third largest national park in Tanzania. Despite this, it is by far one of the least visited parks in the country. Located in the remote south-western part of Tanzania, the park is most easily reached by small aircraft. It is possible to reach the park by vehicle, but only by travelling long and arduous routes.

The park is crossed by the Katuma River, which transforms large parts of the park into swamps during the rainy months of April and May. This includes Lake Chada and Lake Katavi, which are fed by the Katuma River and attract an immense number of water birds during the rainy season. Most of the park is covered by dense Miombo dry forest interspersed with grass savannahs, river courses and swamps.

For those lucky enough to visit Katavi National Park, the dry season between June and October is the best time to visit.

During the dry season, the Katuma River turns into a thin trickle and a multitude of animals throng this last and only source of water.

This is the time when the lakes, alluvial plains and swamps dry up almost completely and thousands of hippos fight fierce territorial battles for the last remaining water in the few remaining pools. Large crocodiles can also be spotted sunbathing on the riverbanks, sandbanks and in mud holes.

Within the Katisunga plains in the heart of the park, there are usually a large number of wild animals. It is one of the few places where you can see both roan and sable antelope at the same time. Other animals that can be spotted here include zebra, hartebeest, eland, giraffe and Defassa waterbuck.

However, Katavi National Park is best known for its huge herds of buffalo, which can easily number up to 1000 animals. With an estimated 3000 elephants, the park is also home to a large elephant population.

Cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and servals are regularly seen and the resident lion prides are always on the lookout for their next meal. The majestic leopard also finds its habitat here.

With over 400 bird species, Katavi National Park is a true paradise for birdwatchers. Large flocks of storks, such as the saddle-billed stork, black-crowned spoonbill and African spoonbill, are just as common to see as the lesser spotted eagle, bateleur, fork-billed roller, crested barbet and grey-breasted paradise flycatcher, to name just a few species from Katavi’s endless list of birds.

The Katisunga plains in the heart of the park attracts large numbers of wildlife and it is one of the few parks where visitors can catch a glimpse of both the roan and sable antelope in the same place. Other animals grazing here are zebra, hartebeest, eland, giraffe and defassa waterbuck. Katavi is also one of the last parks that boasts massive herds of buffalo, some herds easily reaching a thousand animals or more. A healthy population of roughly 3000 elephants also reside in the park. Predators such as cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and servals are also present in the area and the resident prides of lions are always around looking for their next meal. Leopards also call Katavi home.
With over 400 species of birds, Katavi is a great place for birdwatchers. Large flocks of storks like saddle bills, open-billed and spoon bills as well as African fish eagles, Bateleurs, lilac breasted rollers, crested barbets and paradise flycatchers are but a few on the long list of birds in Katavi.
Best time to visit Katavi National Park

The best time to visit Katavi National Park is during the dry season from June to October. During this period, you can observe wildlife congregating along the Katuma River. The area is home to a variety of hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants and antelopes, which also promises exciting encounters with predators.

A nostalgic safari experience

Katavi is a hidden gem in a sometimes very busy safari world. Even if you come here during the high season, you will hardly encounter any other visitors. And that’s not because the wildlife here is any less exciting or diverse – the only reason is its remoteness, which makes travelling to Katavi more expensive. But if you’re looking for a completely private safari experience, where you’re fully immersed in one of Africa’s remaining wilderness regions, then you’ll get more bang for your buck here than you could ever imagine. You may only travel to Katavi once in your life – take the chance!


Katavi National Park is located in western Tanzania, close to Lake Tanganyika, but not immediately adjacent to it. Gombe Stream National Park and Mahale National Park are also located in this region. Katavi is off the beaten track and is not easily accessible by car from most major towns. We recommend flying to Katavi, either on a scheduled flight or a charter flight from Arusha.

Photos from Katavi National Park


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