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Katavi National Park, located in the remote southwest corner of Tanzania, offers a rugged and authentic safari adventure. Established in 1974, the park covers an area of 4,471 square kilometres and is named after the Katavi River that flows through the region.

The park boasts a diverse range of ecosystems, including grassy plains, woodlands, and seasonal wetlands, which support an abundance of wildlife, including large herds of buffalo, elephants, and zebras, as well as predators such as lions, leopards, and hyenas. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from May to October, when wildlife congregates around the remaining water sources.

In addition to its natural wonders, Katavi National Park is surrounded by several traditional villages, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the local way of life and learn about the area's cultural heritage. With its stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, Katavi National Park is a destination like no other, providing an unforgettable African safari experience.


Katavi National Park was established in 1974 and is located in Tanzania, East Africa. It is one of the most remote and untouched national parks in Tanzania, covering an area of 4,471 square kilometers.

The park was named after the local tribe, the Wajiji, who once inhabited the area. Historically, the park has been a hunting ground for local tribes, but it was later designated as a national park to protect the wildlife and habitat in the area.


Katavi National Park is located in the southwestern part of Tanzania, bordering Lake Tanganyika to the west and the Mahale Mountains National Park to the north. The park is situated in the Rift Valley and is characterized by flat plains and seasonal rivers.

It is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, and over 400 bird species. The park also features several notable landmarks, including Lake Chada and the Katuma River.

Climate & Best Time To Visit

The park has a tropical climate, with hot and dry conditions prevailing for most of the year. The rainy season typically lasts from November to May, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in March and April. The best time to visit Katavi National Park is during the dry season, from June to October, when the wildlife is concentrated around the rivers and watering holes. The temperatures are cooler during this time, making it more comfortable for visitors.

Table showing average rain and temperatures in Katavi National Park

Jan 25.3 77.5 93.3
Feb 25.3 77.5 93.2
Mar 25.1 77.2 130.1
Apr 24.3 75.7 203.9
May 22.8 73.0 77.5
Jun 21.1 70.0 6.2
Jul 20.5 68.9 2.5
Aug 21.0 69.8 2.5
Sep 22.4 72.3 3.3
Oct 24.4 75.9 36.2
Nov 24.8 76.6 123.5
Dec 25.2 77.4 121.6

Related article: Best time to visit Tanzania

Local Culture

The nearby communities surrounding Katavi National Park are predominantly Bantu tribes, including the Wasukuma and Wanyamwezi. These tribes have a rich cultural heritage, with traditional practices and beliefs that have been passed down through generations. Visitors can experience local culture by visiting nearby villages and participating in cultural activities, such as dancing and storytelling.

Points Of Interest

Katavi National Park is known for its exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. The park is home to large herds of elephants, buffalo, and antelopes, as well as predators such as lions, leopards, and hyenas.

Visitors can also witness the spectacle of the hippos and crocodiles along the Katuma River, and the stunning sunsets over Lake Chada. Other notable landmarks include the Katavi plains and the Katisunga plains.


Visitors to Katavi National Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including game drives, walking safaris, and bird watching. The park also offers opportunities for fly camping, which involves setting up a tent in a remote location for an immersive wilderness experience. Visitors can also visit nearby villages to learn about local culture and participate in cultural activities.

Getting There

The park is located in a remote part of Tanzania, and visitors typically travel by air. The nearest airport is Mpanda Airport, which is serviced by several domestic airlines.

From the airport, visitors can hire a private vehicle or take a scheduled transfer to the park. The park is also accessible by road, but the journey can be long and challenging due to the rough terrain.

Where To Stay

Katavi National Park offers a variety of accommodation options, including campsites, lodges, and luxury tented camps. The park has several campsites that are suitable for self-catering visitors, with basic facilities such as water and toilets.

For visitors seeking more comfort, there are several lodges and tented camps that offer all-inclusive packages, including meals and guided activities. Some of the popular accommodation options include Chada Katavi, Katuma Bush Lodge, and Katisunga Camp.

Quick Tips For Travelers

  • Visitors to Katavi National Park should be prepared for a remote and rugged wilderness experience.
  • It is essential to pack appropriate clothing for the climate, including long pants and long-sleeved shirts for protection against insects and the sun.
  • It is also important to bring sturdy walking shoes and a hat. Visitors should also bring a good camera to capture the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the park.
  • When visiting the park, it is important to respect the natural environment and cultural heritage of the area.
  • Visitors should adhere to park regulations, such as not littering and not disturbing wildlife. It is also important to respect local traditions and customs when visiting nearby villages.
  • In terms of safety, visitors should be aware of the potential risks of wildlife encounters and should follow the instructions of their guides.
  • Visitors should also be aware of the risks of malaria and take appropriate measures to protect themselves, such as taking anti-malaria medication and using mosquito repellent.

In summary, Katavi National Park offers a unique and remote wilderness experience, with exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities and a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and accommodation options but should be prepared for the rugged conditions of the park. With appropriate planning and preparation, a trip to Katavi National Park can be an unforgettable adventure.