Katavi National Park was established in 1974 and is located in Katavi Region in Tanzania, it is very remote Park that is less frequently visited than other Tanzanian national parks. The park is approximately 4,471 square kilometers (1,726 sq. mi) in area, which makes it the third largest national park in Tanzania, Katavi national park encompasses   Lake Chada floodplains and many others.

Katavi national park consists of the various attractions like the animal species, primates, reptiles, birds, vegetation types, Katuma River which inhabits hippos, crocodiles and attracts large concentration of animals during the dry season, Lake Katavi, Katsunga plain which forms the heart of the park with the river that cuts across in the middle, lakes, seasonal pools, tamarind tree which also known as the tree of the spirit Katabi where you learn the culture, history of the people living around the park.

Attractions in Katavi National Park.


Katavi national park is well known of the concentration of the big mammals like large herds of buffalos, elephants gather with giraffes, elands, topis, zebras, waterbucks, hartebeests impalas, duikers these are always seen around water sources during dry season. The park has got predators like the hyena, lions, leopards, wild dogs, hippo, crocodiles, thus the beautiful sable and roan antelopes can be sometimes be found in the Miombo woodland. At times the black mamba can be found in the park since it’s the thrilling residents of the wooded savannah.

Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park

Bird species.

Katavi national park has more than 450 species of birds recorded in the park, the park has the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present, the birds can found on the shores on the rivers in the park like the herons, plovers, spoonbills, African open bills and the groups of stork like the yellow-billed, saddle billed stork, the raptors can be found like the fish eagle, bateleur eagle, white backed vulture being very common and among other bird species in the park includes the African goldenoriole, African paradise flycatchers, African spoonbills, Orange-breasted bush- shrikes, Crested barbets, little bee-eater and many others.

The Katavi national park has the largest and beautiful raptor has a rich brown upper body feathers and a striking orange beak and it’s known as Bateleur eagle, this can be spotted during your birding safari in the Tanzania.

Chada Plain.

Chada plain was the name of one of the gods of the Pimbwe people who once lived around these plains and they currently live outside the park boundary. The living people around and the chiefs were not allowed to visit Chada or they would be pelted with stones from the sky but currently it is easy to take your trip to Tanzania then to Chada plains even without being pelted with stones. Currently the chada plain in the park is a habitat a great number of wild animals unlike during the rainy season the plain can be flooded with water.

In, Chada plain also the tourists can carry out their game drive , walks along the plain where you can easily spot the Chada pride of 16 lions and other animal species like the buffalo  as well as the elephants in herds from 20 up to 200 crossing the plain, the Chada plain is the most game viewing point, walking safaris  in Tanzania.

Katuma River and Lake Katavi.

Katuma River pours its water harbors huge concentration of wild animals and as well the habitat of acquatic animals like the hippos in their thousands cram, crocodiles in the caves in the mud walls of the river banks other animal species usually come close to the river to drink the hyenas, lions and among others.

Lake Katavi is a seasonal lake in the park that covers an area between 100-150 km depending on the volume of water available, during the rainy season this lake is a birding destination for myriad water birds and supports most of the Tanzania’s densest concertation of Hippo and crocodiles.

Katavi National Park
Lake Katavi

Katabi tree.

The park derived its name from the Wabende spirit, Katabi who according to local legend lives in a tamarind tree near Lake Katavi, Katabi was the name of a legendary hunter and it’s believed that the tamarind tree is inhabited by the spirit of Katabi. The communities believed that katabi spirit could grant the fortunes, magical protection and discover traditional medicines to cure some diseases like the epidemic diseases such as small pox. It is used by the locals like Pimbew and Wabende that were staying close to the park for asking the blessings and other blessings from the Katabi Spirit.

Katsunga Plains.

Katsunga plains in Katavi national park are rich with an extensive wildlife base, the plains are one of the best wildlife viewing places in Tanzania after Serengeti national park. The plains feature scrub and savannah woodlands on its outskirts and ariver that runs through it.

Activities done in Katavi national park.

Bird watching.

Katavi national park is  a home of over 450 bird species making the park the best birding destination for watching safaris in Tanzania, the bird species in the park includes the African fishing eagle, Paradise flycatchers, herons, Spoonbills, plovers and many others.


Camping in the park offers the best to the guests who love nature that’s   the wilderness, the activity is done while spending the best moments with your family, friends and other related loved ones. Camping sites like the public ones are always provided with the bathrooms, kitchen, dining area, and toilets in the area.

Visiting historical sites in the Katavi national park.

The park offers the most historical sites, this is where the guests get to learn the diverse cultures in Tanzania, its people and their ways plus their history as some of the historical sites in the Katavi includes the Kabora- Iyonga slave trade route and also old towns.

Guided nature walks.

Katavi national park offers guided nature walks, and because of the endangered animal species like the elephants there are always experienced park rangers to led the tourists during their walks. The park offers both the long walks and the short walk this is where the tourists also  well experience the stunning views of Chorangwa, Lukima, Ndidi waterfalls, in that the  long nature walks take 17 kilometers in 5 hours where the short walks take 9 kilometers in about 3 hours in the park.

Game Driving.

Game driving in Katavi national park is conducted by the park guide at the same time your sighting various animal species in the park. Game driving is carried around to most various places in the park like the Katuma river, Lake Katavi, Chadi also in the flood plains such as Chada, Katsunga, this is where the it is said that during the game driving one can sight 200 hippos, 4000 elephants over 10000 buffalos in the Lakes Katavi. Various animals can be sighted as you go closer to them like the giraffes, zebras, impalas, reedbucks and many others.

The park offers the morning, evening game drive were the morning starts from 6:30 am till 6:30pm this game drive you can be able to view many animal species as they can be more active while the 8pm to 11pm also here animals can be spotted in the park. Game Viewing in Katavi national park is the most amazing activity in park.

Katavi National Park
African paradise flycatchers

Where to stay in Katavi National Park.

Katavi national park has the most comfortable accommodations for the guests during  their visit to the park that are categorized into Budget, Mid-range, Luxury such as the Mbali Mbali Katavi lodge, Chada Katavi Camp, Chada Katavi Camp, Katavi Wildlife Camp, Kinday Lodge, and many others.

Best time to visit Katavi national park.

Katavi national park can be visited all year around, traditionally the best time to travel and visit the park is during the dry season when the large numbers of game congregate around river in the park.

Entrance fees of Katavi national park.

Category JULY- JUNE
  EA (Tshs) Non EA Citizen (USD) Expatriate/ Residents (USD)
Of above the age of 16 years 5000 30 15
Between the age of 5 and 15 years 2000 10 5
Children below the age of 5 years Free Free Free

Note; The entrance in Katavi national park are valid from July to June, after the month of July the fees may be changed because they are not constant.

How to get to Katavi National park.

Katavi national park can be accessed in various ways from Dar es Salaam to the park.

By Road Transport.

From Dar es Salaam through the Mbeya ( 1513km ) Dar es salaam through Tabora ( 1392km), Arusha through Tabora ( 1015.7 km) or Mwanza through Tabora-Inyonga ( 741km) which takes you to the Katavi national park.

By Air transport.

Katavi national park can be accessed by several companies like zantas air, safari air link (SAL) you can arrange charter flights from Dar es Salaam, Mwanza or Arusha cities to either Mpanda airport which is located in Mpanda town or to Sitalike and Ikuu airstrips inside the park, usually every Monday and Thursday, coastal aviation chartered flight within the park Ikuu airstrips.

By Rail transport.

Katavi national park can be accessed by reaching Mpanda by train from Dar es Salaam through Tabora then catch public transport to Sitalike, where game drives canbe arranged.

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