Conservation Status:

National Park




Southwest Tanzania, East of Lake Tanganiyika


4,471 Kms² (Tanzania's Third Largest National Park)

Maximum Length

125 Kms Southeast to Northwest

  Height A.S.L.

820 - 960 mm (at the heart of the park, ie. on the floor of the Rift Valley). Altitudes are somewhat higher on the western and eastern shoulders of the park, the highest point being the Malambo Hill (1,452 m).

Seasonal Variation

Two well defined seasons - dry season from June to October and a wet season (95% of the annual rainfall) from November to May (less rainy in January - February). Frequent bushfires in the dry season, causing significant parts of the ark to burn each year. Seasonal variation in the occurrence of animals is fairly insignificant. The vegetation is at its best in November - May. The best season to visit is July - September. Park roads are passable in the dry season, but difficult or completely impassable at the peak of the wet season.


Mean annual rainfall c. 1,000 mm. Annual rainfall at Sitalike mostly in the range 850 - 1,250 m. Highest rainfall in March - May and practically rainless in June - September.


Monthly average 22°C - 26°C. Daytime 24 - 30°C sometimes up tp 36°C - 40°C at the end of the dry season. Night time 16°C - 18°C.


Game drives, bird watching and guided walking safari

About Katavi National Park:

Katavi is located in the far west of Tanzania, close to Lake Tanganyika and the majestic Mahale Mountains National Park but miles from virtually everywhere else. It is remote, untamed and bristling with wild animals. Katavi belongs to the animals - in this untouched, unexplored wilderness, there are no humans for miles and miles. A perfect place to experience Africa at its wildest! Katavi is one of Africa's immense wildernesses that is packed with game, the sheer quantity and variety of which is probably unmatched anywhere on the continent! A feeling of awe hits you intensely from the moment you first see the game scattered over the flood plains. Herds of buffalo, two or three thousand strong graze on the plains, pods of several hundred hippo cram the seasonal rivers, herds of elephant feed on the plains and drink from the springs. In addition to the buffalo, hippo and elephant, the park holds vast quantities of crocodiles, topi, giraffe, hartebeest, sable, roan, waterbuck and reedbuck and large populations of predators - lion, hyena, leopard.

There's little or no infrastructure in the park and consequently a clear feeling of freedom. Here one can explore the untouched wilderness, by foot at animal pace or off-road by 4WD, discovering the most hidden areas. The park is exceptionally diverse in both flora and fauna and at its centre are several large flood plains and the narrow rivers that flow through them. It is during the dry season, when the flood waters retreat, that Katavi truly becomes alive! The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking flood plains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000 plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the flood plains. As the dry season progresses, Katavi becomes drier and hotter and game more concentrated; this is the best time to visit Katavi, between June and October.

A kaleidoscope of more than 400 species of birds, including - Angolan Pitta, Blackfaced Barbet and the Blue Swallow flits across the acacia, the riverbanks, the swamps and palm groves while flotillas of pelican cruise the lakes. A highlight of viewing the birds is to watch the Maribou Stock wading in the mud and feeding on the barbel. At times the mud boils with these fish and the stocks causally extract them form the soft mud for a quick and easy meal.