Mary Fitzpatrick
United States US

Mary is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including South Africa, Tanzania, East Africa and Africa.

Category: Best Kept Safari Secrets

Katavi National Park has some of Africa’s largest wildlife concentrations and some of its most remote wilderness. It is a difficult but amazing destination well off standard East Africa safari itineraries.

It’s difficult in that access is either via a very long and rough road journey or an expensive, long charter flight. Once there, facilities are minimal – basic park cottages or a handful of upmarket camps. Getting around is a challenge, except along the main wildlife-viewing loop, and there are lots of tsetse flies. It’s amazing because of its isolation and wildness, and because of the unbelievable numbers of wildlife, especially buffaloes and hippos.

To see the most wildlife, go in August, at the height of the dry season, when enormous buffalo herds roam the dusty floodplains and dozens upon dozens of hippos fight for scarce water. The end of the rains is another magical time, although completely different, with the floodplains tinged soft green, everything fresh and new and animals roaming on the horizon. The dawn of the world must have looked this way.

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