Home to the largest herds of buffalo on the planet, Katavi National Park is a relatively untouched wilderness paradise, located along the rift escarpment in the western area of Tanzania. A land of massive diversity, this untamed and wild area is in the heart of one of the largest and richest wildlife areas in Tanzania. Vegetation varies from miombo woodland, where sable antelope like to hide, to riverine and various types of woodland and shrubland.

The park boasts a wonderful array of habitats, which range from flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways that teem with hippos and crocodiles to woodlands, open grasslands, forests and pristine seasonal lakes. Visitors to the area can seek out the legendary tamarind tree, which is said to house the spirit of a great huntsman named Katabi. Here, they can place an offering at the base of the tree in memory of this exceptional hunter.

Largely untouched by civilization, Katavi National Park is for those seeking isolation amongst stunning views, far from the distant hum of safari vehicles. With only a few hundred annual visitors, you are more likely to meet a pride of lions here than another party on a game drive.

Katavi National Park lies on the western safari circuit and is rarely visited due to the high cost of travelling to this secluded location. However, the circuit is renowned for offering excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in its untarnished wilderness. The western safari circuit is primarily accessed from Arusha and Dar es Salaam via plane or boat.

Best Times to Visit the Park

The best time to visit Katavi National Park is during the annual dry season from June to December. During the dry season, the Katuma River is one of the only water sources within the surrounding area, and you will have spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities around the river.

Hundreds of hippos and crocodiles gather around the scarce waterholes, and thousands of topis, impalas, and zebras pass through the plains.

Despite the increase in visitor numbers during the peak season, you will virtually have the park to yourself.

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Katavi National Park, Tanzania View on Map