• Lion yawning, Tanzania

Highlights and main attractions of Katavi National Park

Highlights and main attractions of Katavi National Park

Located along the rift escarpment in Western Tanzania, the 4,471 square kilometre Katavi National Park is the third largest in the country. However, its remoteness and inaccessibility leaves it comparably untouched, with just a few hundred visitors per year, compared to over 12,000 in the Serengeti.

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. 

Giraffe, Tanzania

rivers, wildlife and birdlife

The Katavi, Katuma and Chada Rivers become just pools in the dry season, acting as a magnet for the resident game. Huge herds of elephant and buffalo gather with zebra, waterbucks and duikers around these remaining water sources. Predators look on with eager anticipation, from lions and leopards to wild dog and hyenas. In fact, this is a great spot for watching lion and buffalo interaction. Spotted hyena sightings are frequent, yet wild dogs tend to stick to the escarpment, so spotting these can take lots of luck. Hartebeest and giraffe are also common, as well as impala and topi. Hippo pods are known to grow up to 600 strong, and crocodiles can be found in large numbers in the Katuma riverbed, caves near Ikuu Bridge and the Kapapa River, as well as Ndido Falls.

Vultures watch on eagerly from the trees in the company of fish eagles and vervet monkeys. The wet season sees the rivers flood again, with flowers becoming abundant and water birds making their appearance.


The park is a 4 to 5 hour flight from either Arusha or Dar es Salaam via light aircraft, hence being largely unvisited, but we think you should discover it before it becomes too popular. Accommodation we use in the area includes the luxurious Chada Katavi Tented Camp, which is located close to the airstrip allowing for easier access. Activities include game drives in open-sided vehicles, either for a half or full day. Short guided walking safaris are also available, and there are plans for fly camping in different areas of the park, for the brave.

There are also some sites of historical and cultural interest here - the Karema-Inyanga-Tabora slave route passed through, and there are numerous sites from the stone and iron ages.


Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey.

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