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“Katavi: special & silent” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park
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Ranked #65 of 126 Attractions in Tanzania
Type: National Parks, Outdoors
Activities: Viewing wildlife
Attraction details
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Katavi: special & silent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

We visited Katavi NP with our friend one week ago.
The park is very special: we were there for only one night and had a very good leopard sighting and saw many many lions. Besides that some bird-species which we did not see in the northern circuit.
Pro's: you feel like you are the only one in the whole park, which is really special compared to other parks. Besides that there is a good sighting of predators (or we were lucky?), tons of hippo's and crocodiles.
But:: think twice to go by land (because the train is overcrowded and delays of more than 12 hours are not a exception), fly-in is much better. The tsetse flies are very annoying, so wear long sleeves! Besides I think the scenery (in dry season) is dull compared to Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro.
A nice, tranquil park for those on honeymoon or those who already saw the highlights of Tanzania!

Visited September 2012
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13 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Arusha, Tanzania
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“The Migration of Buffaloes and Elephants in Katavi”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

I would consider putting my experience on budget travel to Katavi
This National park is accessible by train from Dar to either Mbeya or Tabora or Kigoma, If you head to Mbeya by bus you connect by sumry bus to Mpanda via stalike or if you did the train to Tabora you can drive from Tabora to Mpanda for katavi and lastly the last train option is to get to Kigoma by train and drive over land to Mpanda too

My approach in December was flight from Dar-es-salam to Kigoma on arrival transfer to Mapinduzi hotel, on arrival we were met by Hamisi who is the driver guide i usually use when am to do Katavi with a drive from Kigoma to Uvindza via the forest to Mpanda and finaly to stalike. This drive is almost 10hrs and the route is not very smooth so an early take off from either side when undertaking is advisable

The main reason as to why i seldon visit Katavi is because am expecting to see the following
-High habitat and species diversity with high concentrations of large mammals

-Extensive wetlands and important water catchments areas

-Wilderness character: The Katavi-Rukwa-Lukwati protected area complex still retains a distinct wilderness character.

-Interesting vegetation mosaic ranging from wetlands and lakes to riverine vegetation and various types of woodlands and shrublands (e.g. the woodlands of the inselbergs of Kapimbye, Kapapa and Igongwe)

-Home to some endangered and unusual species: wild dog, chetaahs (mostly seen in Mbuga ya Duma) roan and sable antelopes (e.g. in the woods of Ilumbi), eland (often encountered at lake Katavi, Kaselami Mbuga, the northern Chada plain, Kataukasi and Kakonje Mbugas)

-Historical and cultural resources: The Karema-Inyonga-Tabora slave route passed through the protected area complex. Stone age and iron age sites, sites of 19th century towns, Wamweru Hills and Katabi tree (14 km from the airstrip)

Scenic diversity with escarpments, rugged hills, flat alluvial plains, marshes, lakes and rivers. Scenic spots are: hot springs, waterfalls Ndido, Chorangwa, Lukima, Iloba, and beautiful views from the top of the escarpment down into the Rukwa valley (e.g. the view of the steep Mlele escarpment close to Mpunga Mbuga).
-Large herds of animals at Magogo Pools, Lake Katavi, Ilyandi sandridge, Katisunga Mbuga and Kasima Springs, Lake Chada.
-Katuma valley, Paradise springs in dry season
-Hippo schools at Ikuu springs, Ikuu bridge and Sitalike. Crocodiles are found in large numbers in the Katuma riverbed and at the Ikuu bridge in caves as well as in Kapapa River, Rungwa River and Ndido falls.

Apart from all the above mentioned expected to be seen in Katavi if you actually ask me why seldom i do visit Katavi i have two major reason
1.It is the only National park that you can drive for 4-5hours in the park seeing very many animals without a single another tourist car doing game drive

2.It is this national park where buffaloes and elephants migrate in herds from one plain to another in very large groups which am i do believe can be seen any other park in Tanzania

I highly recommend every interested with real taste of Flora and fauna to give Katavi a priority you will never be annoyed by the game there.

Visited December 2011
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Perth, Australia
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Fantastic genuine African experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

We have recently spent a week at the Katavi Wildlife Camp run by the Fox family. The intimate camp (only 6 luxury tents) was made more special by the attentive staff as well as the camp manager/guide, Richard (Dick). The wildlife experience was phenomenal with massive herds of buffalo, many elephants and lions as well as an unbelievable number of hippos and crocodiles. My wife and I were often the only occupants of a game drive vehicle and were handsomely entertained and informed by Dick in all aspects of the bush. The only downside was the presence of tsetse flies in certain areas but, in retrospect, this was a relatively small price to pay for the isolation and pristine wilderness of Katavi.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A refreshing change”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2008

Having been fortunate enough to have visited many of southern and Eastern african National Parks it was great to finally be surprised by what I found in Katavi National Park. There is very few truly wild areas left in Africa but this is one of those gems. Three days and Nights I was there and we passed one other vehicle, which had park rangers in it not tourists. And this was High seaon! The game was brilliant and although I believe during the rains they are far more spread out, during the dry winter months the flood plains are full of game. It quite literarly parades past you all day. 1500 strong herds of Buffalo, Crocodiles and Hippo's compete for the last remaining pools of water, while herds of Zebra's,Topi's and Giraffe come down to drink. The elephant population is huge but not as habituated as in other reserves with more Tourist visit, however because of the open topography you don't have to be under its trunk to enjoy the spectacle. Katavi as far as I am concerned is a must for anyone interested in experiencing Africa as it truly was meant to be experienced!

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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West Sussex, Engandl
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Wild but wicked!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2007

What a stonking great place! My Husband & I spent some time here last year on our honeymoon. We originally had doubts about it, we heard it wasn't for the faint hearted but opted to give it a go & were pleased we did! Camp manager Mani was Fab! He made us all very welcome & the camp was indeed a little wild. This however did not stop the cook from "cooking up a storm" in the most basic of "kitchens". The food was superb. Each evening when we returned from the game drive, we showered & joined Mani & the other guests round the campfire chatting to one another sipping drinks. Unfortunately we didn't see many big cats here although one morning there were tracks right outside the tents!! Still loads of wildlife to see. On one drive we went through a load of long grass & gained a collection of stick insects that went everywhere.
The views across the Katavi plains were unbelievable. In the mornings we could see a thin black line on the horizon & by the evening the black line had moved towards us & we could see that the line was in fact buffalow, elephants, giraffe & zebra but by the following morning they had moved further out again.
We were treated to the rare sight of a lioness trying to climb a tree. That for us was the highlight of our game viewing here. It was comical as she was aware we were watching her & despite numerous attempts failed, glared at us & walked away in disgust!
I would reccomend Katavi as so few people are able to visit here each year that it remains unspoilt by heavy tourism & you are able to take pictures of the wildlife without worrying about getting other people in the picture. We heard from others on this holiday this had happened to them elsewhere so yes, Katavi is indeed a special place & if you have the oppurtunity to go, then grasp it quickly!
Hot running water, electricity (with English sockets) & flushing loos in all the tents. (Also the occasional visitor, lizzards mostly but Mani also told us he had found a scorpion in one of the shower trays). Our tip for here is to stuff a pair of socks into each shoe to avoid things getting into them & giving you a nasty surprise!

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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