KATAVI NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
Katavi National park is a Tanzania national park which is very remote and less frequently visited than other National parks in Tanzania. It is located in the far south west of the country in Katavi Region and it is approximately 4,471 square kilometers “1,726 sq mi” and the 3rd largest National park in Tanzania offering visitors a personal and exclusive Safari experience in a wild and untouched area of Tanzania. The park is predominantly high plains grasslands which becomes swampy wetland during the rains interspersed with fringes of miombo woodland and scattered acacia and has two lakes that is Lake Katavi in the north and Lake Chada in the South which are fed by the Kutuma River and these lakes are cracked open plains during the dry season in the month of June to November and fills up only in the rainy season and also the Kutuma river with kapapa supply the park with water in both the dry and the wet season. It is true to say that the viewing out of season is fairly dire with the black cotton soil and because of this geographical payout is the reason for the park arguably being amongst one of the best in Africa
History Katavi National Park
History Katavi National Park Tanzania
Katavi National Park is named after the Wabende spirit, Katabi who according to the local legend lives in a tamarind tree near Lake Katavi and the locals who were looking to be blessed and for blessings from his spirit still leave offerings at the foot of the tree.
In the year of 1911 during the German occupation, the area was first protected and was later named Rukwa Game Reserve under the British occupation until 1932. In the year of 1974 an area of just 2,200km² was declared a National park and later after a while the larger area was finally gazetted in the year of 1996 and was officially opened with the name Katavi National park in the year of 1998.
Tanzania Safari Attractions in Katavi National Park
Katavi National park include large animal herds particularly of Cape Buffaloes, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, elephants, and along the Katuma river, crocodiles and hippopotami which in annual dry seasons results in mudholes which can be packed with hippos that are in hundreds. The park has also carnivorous animals that roam this park which include the cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards appear on the woodland fringes, hyenas and lions
The park hosts a large variety of bird species such as flocks of open billed and saddle billed storks, crested cranes, spoonbills and pink backed pelicans. The raptors are also plentiful whilst the woodlands of the national park are home to species as diverse as African golden orioles, and pennant winged nightjars, paradise fly – catchers
Katavi National park is situated on the northern side of the Rukwa Rift with an extension of the western Rift Valley and the dry woodlands of Katavi are dominated by brachystegia species which are mostly native to tropical Africa and dotted very densely around the area.
Katuma River as a Tanzania Safari attraction in Katavi National Park
The Katuma River is situated in Katavi National park and it flows through the isolated wilderness of the Tanzania’s Katavi National park and it is the lifeline for everything that swims, crawls or walks. Katuma River harbors crocodile and hippos and it supplies the park with water throughout both the dry and wet seasons.
The Lake is located in the Rukwa Region within the Katavi National park and its estimate terrain elevation above sea level is 913 meters and the lake supply the National park with water during the dry seasons. The lake also contains the largest population of crocodiles and hippos and these can be observed in compete peace and quiet with a considerable number of waterfowls that includes the pelicans and also over 400 different bird species recorded in the region.
Tamarind tree as a Tanzania Safari attraction in Katavi National Park
The Tamarind tree holds the history of the park and it is believed as a legend of a great hunter called Katavi and his spirit is said to reside and the locals always go to the tree to seek his blessings by placing offerings at the base of the tree.
Tanzania Safari Activities in Katavi National Park
This activity is one of the most common most done which involves taking a game drive to the untouched wilderness and a lot of animals like large herds of cape buffalos, wildebeests, elephants, giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, hartebeest, deffasa water bucks, lions among others. Here the main place which is excellent for game viewing is within the Katuma River and the park is believed to be harboring the largest herds of buffaloes in the whole world and the Kasitunga plains are the best palace for game viewing. They are done and conducted during day from 7am to 6pm.
Bird watching as a Tanzania Safari activity in Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park is gifted with over 400 bird species and is one of the best destinations in Tanzania for bird enthusiasts and here some of the birds seen at the National park include the African fishing eagle, lilac breasted rollers, paradise flycatchers, bateleurs and saddle billed stork among others.
Guided nature walks as a Tanzania Safari activity in Katavi National Park
This activity involves guided walks to one of the last in the park or the forested area and come in contact with various wildlife species and birds as well as plant life tourist can also take can also take a walk to the historical sites.
Visit historical sites as a Tanzania Safari activity in Katavi National Park
With the park containing stone Age sites of the ninetieth century, Katavi National park is rich in history and it also contains the towns, the Kabora lyonga slave route passed through the protected area during slave trade period and also the towns are very rich in cultural diversity making it a too destination for those who love to do cultural visits and learn people ways of life and history.
Camping as a Tanzania Safari activity in Katavi National Park
The travelers or tourists that are interested in the camping activity can also take along their camping gears and dwell in the camping sites of the National park.
Visit the tamarind tree as a Tanzania Safari activity in Katavi National Park
The tourists can visit the famous tamarind tree to get more information about the park’s history. The tamarind tree which the locals believe the famous Hunter Katavi whom the park is named after.
How to get to Katavi National Park Tanzania
The park can be accessed by road a drive from Mbeya to the park which is about 340 miles or 50 kilometers. It can also be reached by air through a charter flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam.