Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park – of the beaten track, the untouched and real wilderness, just as Africa must have been a century ago. Katavi is the natural home for a lot of hippos, and crocodiles, as well as lions, because with the big concentration of antelopes the flood plains are full of easy catching food. This national park is special because of: its remoteness, Rift Valley, Lake Rukwa, Katuma River, the seasonal lakes Katawi and Chada, hippo rivalry.
You can easily combine Katavi National Park with: Kitulo National Park (The Serengeti of flowers), Mahale Mountains National Park, and Gombe Streams. If you make the whole trip by road, it is also natural to include some of the southern parks like Ruaha National Park, or others.
Reaching Katavi National Park, or even on the way, you will understand that this is a seldom visited national park in the true wilderness. This trip is for the most adventurous once, who want to see, what few others have seen, Africa as it must have been a century ago.
In Katavi you will quickly understand that this is a good home for the eland, sable and roan antelopes. But the main focus for your game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad water birds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.
Towards the dry season is the time you can experience Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle that are provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, you can see that up to 200 hippos might flop together in any pool of sufficient depth.
And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.
While seeing this you understand how important it is that you listen to the advices from your safari driver, because you do not want to end up in the middle of this rivalry.
It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that you can see Katavi truly comes into its own. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that you can not believe before you see it.
In addition to the estimated 4,000 elephants, several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, giraffe, zebra, you may easily meet up with the true wildlife as you see that both impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena on the floodplains.