Overview – Katavi NP

Katavi is pure wilderness. This classic Dry-season park is completely off the beaten track, but teeming with wildlife. Four of the Big Five are present. Lion, buffalo and elephant are all very common but leopard sightings are more hit-and-miss. Rhino is absent.

Best Time to Go August to October
High Season July to October (Katavi is rarely crowded)
Size 4,471km² / 1,726mi²
Altitude 825-1,618m / 2,707-5,308ft

Pros and Cons

  • Good general wildlife viewing in the Dry season
  • Hippo pods converge in spectacular numbers in the Dry season
  • Unusual antelope species, like sable and roan
  • Very exclusive and doesn't get crowded
  • Difficult to get to and accommodation options are limited
  • Animals are scattered during the Wet season, and most lodges are closed from March to May

Katavi Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

There might not be the widest variety of wildlife on the average drive, but sightings tend to be spectacular, and you'll mostly have them to yourself. While lion are very common, the more remarkable sightings are buffalo herds that number in the thousands and the hippo, which are pushed into small pools as the river dries up. Pods of them share too small a place, and fights are a common sight.

Scenery

The habitat is mainly grassland savannah and brachystegia (miombo) woodland on the east of the park. After the rains, the place transforms to lush marshes and shallow lakes, leaving behind dusty floodplains of the Dry season.

Weather & Climate

Katavi is a hot place in the Dry season (May to October), except for the evenings when the temperature sinks along with the sun. Not by much, though – nights average a warm 17°C/63°F. The Wet season (November to April) is when things get really uncomfortable, with high levels of heat, plus humidity thanks to the brewing rain.

Best Time to Visit

It’s best to visit Katavi in the Dry season (May to October). Unlike the wetter months, you won’t get cooked by the temperature, savaged by mosquitoes, or have to negotiate boggy tracks. Most importantly, the drier months are when animals congregate on the floodplains to get a drink, and the thin vegetation won’t shield them from your view.

Want to Visit Katavi NP?

Katavi Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Katavi NP: A hippos’ battleground
5/5

Katavi has often been called one of Africa’s best kept secrets. But like all secrets, they get out eventually. Quite a few new lodges have opened here over the years and although still very remote, you won’t have the place to yourself...

Latest User Review
2/5

Very remote in western part...I only stopped there on way to Mahale park. canals restrict viewing because you cannot cross canals. Lots of Hippos.