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Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park Tanzania, Activities & Safari Lodges

Katavi National Park is the 3rd largest park in Tanzania. Katavi National park is located in the western Katavi region of Tanzania East of Lake Tanganyika and occupies an area of 4471 square kilometres

Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park

The name Katavi was derived from the Wabende spirit ‘Katabi’ who is said to live in a tamarind tree near Katavi Lake. Katabi was a renowned hunter and it is believed his spirit occupies the tamarind tree.

The area was initially protected in 1911 under the German occupation but it was later named Rukwa Game Reserve in 1932 under the British occupation. An area of 1823 square kilometres was declared a National Park in 1974 and later extended to 4471 square kilometres in 1977. In 1998, it was formally opened as Katavi National Park.

The best time to visit Katavi National Park is in Dry season from June to October. During this period animals congregate at the water sources like River Katuma displaying perfect photographic views. In the rainy season, a good number of migratory bird species can be spotted in the park.

Katavi National park has a rich and broad diversity of attractions including rivers, lakes like Katuma River, Lake Katavi, Lake Chada and all these acts as water sources. The park is also well known for its large herds of cape buffaloes and other animals like zebras, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, lions, leopards, wildebeest and many others. 

Katavi National Park is inhabited by more than 400 bird species and some of these include; Crested barbets, little bee-eaters, Black cuckoo-shrikes, Red-billed Hornbills and many more others. The park is mainly dominated by grasslands, Miombo woodland and scattered acacia trees.

Activities in Katavi National Park

Game viewing

Game viewing in Katavi National Park
Game viewing in Katavi National Park

This is a must-do activity on your visit to Katavi National Park. Taking a drive through the park, you get a chance to glimpse some wild animals like elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions some of which can be seen consuming water at the famous water source River Katuma.

Walking safaris/ Guided Nature walk

Get in close proximity with the animals and bird species as you capture stunning pictures through the grasslands of Katavi National Park accompanied by a game ranger. 


Katavi National Park is a one-stop destination for birding experiences with over 400 bird species occupying the park. Some of the birds that can be seen include; Red-billed Hornbills, Yellow-billed Saddle Black cuckoo-shrikes, little bee-eaters, Crested barbets.

Birding in Katavi National Park
Birding in Katavi National Park

Historical tour to the Stone and Iron Age sites. You can also visit the famous tamarind tree that is believed to be inhabited by the spirit of Katabi, the legendary hunter. Locals leave offerings at the tree seeking blessings. This also gives you an opportunity to learn more about the culture of the local people in the community.


Camp in the wild as you listen to sounds of wild animals. This is an exciting experience that should be on your to-do list while visiting Katavi National Park.

How to get to Katavi National Park?

Your entry point can either be Kilimanjaro International Airport or Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salam and this depends on your itinerary. A scheduled flight can then be taken from Arusha to Katavi.

You can also opt to use different routes by road and these include; Dar es salaam via Tabora about 1392km, Arusha via Tabora about 1016km and Dar es salaam via Mboya about 1513km.

Accommodation facilities in Katavi National Park

Katavi Wildlife Camp

Mbali Mbali Katavi Lodge

Chada Katavi Nomad

Palahala Luxury Camp

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