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.