Katavi National Park is off the beaten path, unspoilt and true wildness, just way Africa was a century ago. Katavi is a natural home for a lot of hippos, crocodiles, and lions, because the flood plains are abundant with simple to grab food thanks to the large concentration of antelopes. The Rift Valley, Lake Rukwa, Katuma River, the seasonal lakes Katawi and Chada, and hippo competition make this national park unique.
Kitulo National Park (The Serengeti of Flowers), Mahale Mountains National Park, and Gombe Streams are also easy to combine with Katavi National Park. If you’re traveling by car, it’s only natural to visit some of the southern parks, such as Ruaha National Park or others.
When you get in Katavi National Park, or even just on the drive there, you’ll notice that it’s a rarely visited national park in the true wilderness. This tour is for the most daring travelers who wish to experience Africa as it must have been a century ago, which few people have seen.
You’ll notice right away in Katavi that the eland, sable, and roan antelopes thrive here. The Katuma River and adjoining floodplains, such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada, are the main focus for wildlife watching within the park. These lush, marshy lakes offer a home for a variety of water birds during the rainy season, and they also house Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.
During the dry season, you can witness Katavi’s most unique animal extravaganza, which is presented by its hippos. At the conclusion of the dry season, up to 200 hippos can be seen flopped together in any pool of suitable depth.
As more hippos congregate in one location, male rivalry heats up – bloody territorial clashes are commonplace, with the defeated male left to scavenge on the open plains until he gains enough confidence to mount another challenge.
When you see this, you realize how crucial it is to listen to your safari driver’s advise, because you don’t want to end up in the thick of this rivalry.
Katavi’s most unique animal display, presented by its hippos, is best experienced during the dry season. Up to 200 hippos can flop together in any pool of suitable depth toward the end of the dry season.
And as more hippos congregate in one location, male rivalry intensifies – brutal territorial battles are common, with the defeated male left to scavenge on the open plains until he gains the confidence to mount another challenge.
When you see this, you realize how crucial it is to follow your safari driver’s advise, because you don’t want to get caught in the middle of this feud.
Katavi truly comes into its own during the dry season, when the floodwaters recede. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, is the only supply of drinking water for kilometers, and the flanking floodplains support wildlife concentrations you won’t believe until you see them.
You may easily meet actual wildlife as you notice that both impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the several lion prides and spotted hyena on the floodplains, in addition to the estimated 4,000 elephants, several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, giraffe, and zebra.