Katavi National Park is a safari park for safari enthusiasts. Katavi, located near the Mahale Mountains in Western Tanzania, is off the beaten path and only sees a few visitors every year.

Katavi is Tanzania’s third-biggest national park, covering 4,471 square kilometers (1,726 square miles), and one of the country’s least frequented. There are no luxury hotels here; instead, there are a few of no-frills serious safari camps where the sole topic of conversation is safari. Katavi’s guests are drawn to it because of its isolation, with the added benefit that game watching may be as wild as you’ll find anyplace — Katavi is a prehistoric park, a genuine country of giants.

Anyone who visits this amazing jewel of a wildlife park will realize that they have just enjoyed an almost unrivaled safari experience!


Katavi National Park is situated in Tanzania’s far west. It is one of the most beautiful and secluded locations in which we conduct safaris.

Katavi’s wildlife

Katavi provides one of the remaining really wild safari experiences on the continent and is frequently rented in conjunction with Mahale Mountains National Park. Visitors to Katavi will witness the majority of the animals that they would encounter in other national parks, including lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and wild dogs, to name a few. Katavi, on the other hand, is distinguished for its massive gatherings of diverse species.

Buffalo herds may number in the thousands, while elephant populations can number in the hundreds, something that is becoming increasingly unusual on the African continent. The sensation of absolute desolation is palpable, almost ancient, with these massive herds wandering the plains.

Perhaps Katavi’s most unique animal attraction is its hippos. The park has one of the largest herds of these ferocious creatures anywhere on the continent, with hippo sightings improving around the end of the dry season when the seasonal rivers dry up entirely. As a result, a growing number of hippos are limited to fewer and fewer water pools, resulting in intense territorial clashes between males!

The park’s enormous crocodile population is also affected by the lack of water, with crocs building shallow tunnels along the Katuma River’s banks to hide from the sun. Despite the lack of natural habitat, hippos and crocodiles seldom conflict, and it is not uncommon to see several massive 4.5-meter crocodiles laying peacefully close to a pod of hippos.

This park is nothing short of spectacular during the dry season, with extraordinarily high densities of animals concentrated on the park’s last sources of water. This park’s uniqueness comes from the incredible density of animals as well as the overwhelming sense of remoteness.

Katavi is a serious contender for Africa’s best game-viewing park if you want to avoid the throng. The lodging options are luxurious, yet they have an adventurous feel to them.


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Katavi National Park Facts

First and foremost, this park is ideally suited for safari fans. Katavi is a haven for serious Africa buffs, with dinner conversations mainly centered on the continent! The best camps here are designed specifically for this type of customer, with an emphasis on the safari experience above all else. As a result, the greatest campgrounds in Katavi are straightforward yet luxurious. Expect good guidance and a strong emphasis on going out and exploring Katavi on their own.

This isn’t a park for lavish luxury; it’s a place where the camp-style reflects the wildness of the setting.

Katavi is not a cheap vacation, with airfares starting at $1,000 per person and a suggested stay of three nights or more. If you want to go overland to Katavi, you’ll need at least two weeks, and you’ll need to travel in small groups to make it financially feasible.

Katavi National Park has a variety of activities.

  • Driving a game
  • Safari on foot
  • Camping on the wing
  • There will be no night safari.

When is the best time to visit Katavi National Park?

Katavi National Park is a typical dry-season park, with the game increasing better as the dry season progresses.

The optimum time to visit is from July to October when there are the biggest densities of animals on the plains and the park’s sole water sources. From November to March, wildlife densities decrease, but the quality of birding improves dramatically – and you can count on having the park to yourself!

Katavi travel advice

We highly recommend combining your vacation to Katavi with a visit to the Mahale Mountains National Park’s chimpanzees if you have the time and energy. This is one of the best week-long safaris we provide anywhere — a true once-in-a-lifetime experience!