Katavi national park

Katavi national park is one of the protected areas that was established in 1974. The park is one of the remotely located park that makes it one of the less frequently visited parks in Tanzania. It covers the total land area of 4,471 square kilometers. Katavi national park is the 3rd largest national park in Tanzania. River Katuma and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada are the main source of water at the park. The park got its name from the legendary hunter that the locals around the area used to respect. The Hunter was called Mr Katabi whose spirits are belienved by the locals to be possessing on tamarind tree. The Tamarid tree up to date is one of the respected tree species in this area where the locals take their offerings to get favor.

The park has un-spoilt wildlife destination with is great un beaten track. Its regarded as the African most wild. The park is located in the Western part of Tanzania with untouched remote wilderness. Its an excellent area of game viewing at the park which offers unique wildlife experience to the travelers.

The scenic views of the park ranges from the pristine, flood plains of the thick reeds not jumping the swampy vegetation formed along the water runways. From the West, the park vegetation is dominated by the forests.

The gifted Katavi national park is a home of large wildlife and rare species of animals and birds. The different habitant’s homes different wildlife species that ranges from water animals like Hippos, crocodiles and others to different species of Antelopes, buffaloes, Elephants, Hyenas and many more. The park gives travelers the intrepid souls that makes them taste the true thrilling experience of Africa. Katisunga plains are the hearty of the Katavi national park where game drives are done. It’s the only park where both Sable Antelopes and Roan Antelopes. The park is recorded as one of the world’s homes that inhabits largest population of Buffaloes.

Location of Katavi national park

The park is located in the Great Rift Valley escarpments of the South-western part of Tanzania. The park headquarters is close to the Sitalike which is found in 40 kilometers South of Mpanda town. The park is found in the East of Lake Tangayika which is one of the accessibility points to the park. The park can be access from Dar es Salaam by road through Mbeya or Kigoma towns. If one is in Mbeya town it takes around 8 to 9 hours drive covering a distance of 550 kilometers. While in Kigoma town it takes 5 to 6 hours covering a distance of 390 kilometers but this route is only passable during dry season.  On the other way of reaching Katavi national park through Mpanda by rail way which starts from Dar es Salaam  to the park Tabora. The guests who would wish to use public means can get the buses from Sitalike town. If the guests are from Arusha you can access the park by flight which takes over 4 hours flying time. By road is possible but covering a distance of over 1,000 kilometers.

Attractions in Katavi national park


The remote location of the park has contributed greatly to the increasing population of mammals at the park. The park is gifted with a wide range of mammals that includes the Roan antelopes and the Samble Antelopes. The park is a home of the highest population of Buffaloes in the world. Other game include Lions, leopards, hyenas, jackals, wildebeest, giraffes, hippos, wild dogs, Cheetahs and many more.


Katavi national park is a home of over 400 bird species like African Fishing Eagle, Paradise flycatchers, Lilac breasted rollers, Saddle billed stork, bateleurs and many more.

Scenic views

The park is gifted with the natural vegetation cover that provides the guests with the scenic views. The different vegetation cover like woodlands, swamps and open grassland contribute directly top the beauty of the park.

Activities in Katavi national park

Katavi national park is a home of more wildlife and this has attracted more tourist to come and explore the park. The remoteness of the park does not affect the number of the travelers daily due to great wildlife experience guests get from the park.

Below are some of the highlights of the activities that a guest can enjoy or expect when planning for the visit to the park.

Guided nature walks

This is one of the few national parks in Tanzania where guided nature walks are done. The travelers can talk the guided walk through the forest especially for birding safaris. The game rangers take you close to the wildlife species.

Game viewing

Game viewing is one of the most common activity not only in Katavi national park but entire protected areas of Africa. Travelers come to Africa mostly to experience the African big five especially lions and Elephants. The park homes large number of Animals especially Buffaloes, Roan and Samble Antelopes and many more. The park also has predators like Lions, Cheetahs, leopards, Hyenas, Jackals and many more. Game viewing can be done throughout the year at the park. The best game viewing time is around June to October which is the dry months of the year. This is one of the few parks in Tanzania where you can enjoy game viewing at very close range. Game drives are done in Kasitunga plains which normally start from 7am to around 6 pm every day.

Visit Historical Sites

The park is one of the rich protected areas with history, Katavi national park has Stone Age sites which are very current at 19th century. The slave route was one of the key attraction along Kabora –Iyonga which is the most common slave trade route.

Visit the tamarind tree

This is one of the highlights where the park got its name from, the park history lies in this Tamarind tree where the great hunter used to leave. The villagers believe up to date that the spirit of Katabi the hunter is still here. Its one of the historical sites which has attracted more travelers to the park.


With over 400 bird species that are found in Katavi national park, the birders enjoy the best birding experience in this remote national park. The quietness of the park makes it easier for the birding to view more birding lists in the short period of time. Birding can be best done during the breeding season from March to May which doubles as rainy season from Tanzania. The long list can be accessed easily with both forests bird species and open savannah bird species.

Katavi national park is one of the African national parks that offers guests with thrilling wilderness experience.

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