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Tanzania National Parks >>Katavi National Park

The park is Africa at its most wild!
Katavi, about 35km southwest of Mpanda, is Tanzania’s third-largest park and one of its most unspoiled wilderness areas. Katavi is a true wilderness, providing intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa. Katavi National Park lies in Mpanda district in the west of Tanzania.
With an area of 4471 km², it is Tanzania’s third largest park. Together with the neighbouring Rukwa, Lukwati and Luafi Game Reserves and numerous forest reserves, this ecosystem of 25 000 km² is the heart of one of the biggest and richest wildlife areas in Tanzania. Katavi National Park got its name from the spirit katabi (from the Wabende tribe). Legend says that it lives near Lake Katavi in a twin pair of trees (Tamarindus indica and Faidherbia albida).
The landscape of Katavi, together with Rukwa National Park, was created as a result of a minor fault in the Western Albertine Rift which formed a wide alluvial plain. The park has a central, very flat valley floor which forms spectacular flood plains after the rains, and attracts huge herds to its bounty from the surrounding hills.
Katavi is an incredibly exciting place and has a truly wild, almost primeval feel, which hits you intensely from the moment you first see the game scattered over the Katisunga flood plain as you approach by air. In the dry season, 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.

Katavi National park is the heart of one of the richest wildlife areas in Tanzania. Located along the rift escarpment in western Tanzania, it offers incredible scenery including immense wetlands, roaring waterfalls and original miombo woodlands, where the Sable antelopes often hide.
Flood plains of thick reeds and dense waterways are home to a huge population of hippo and varied birdlife. In the woodlands to the west, forest canopies shroud herds of buffalo and elephant. Seasonal lakes fill with dirt coloured water after the rains and animals from all corners of the park descend on them to drink. The park is also home to the rare roan and sable antelope species, and is a must-see for the visitor intent on exploring the wilds of the continent.
You can also observe many animals along the pools of the Katuma River which are bursting with hippos and crocodiles. At the water sources, the lions, leopards and wild dogs can be found searching for their prey, watched by patiently waiting vultures which share the trees with fish eagles, storks and vervet monkeys.

An abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the lion prides and hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains, while the brachystegia woodland supports substantial but elusive populations of the localised eland, sable and roan antelopes.


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