A Quick Walkthrough – Katavi National Park

A Quick Walkthrough – Katavi National Park

The Katavi National Park is located in Tanzania. It was established in 1974 within the Katavi Region. The Park is remote and less frequently visited than other national parks in the country. It covers about 1,726 sq mi (4,471 sq km) of land, making it Tanzania’s third-largest national park. The Katuma River and seasonal Lake Chada and Lake Katavi floodplains are found in the Park.

Wildlife

Wildlife at the Katavi National Park
Wildlife at the Katavi National Park

Wildlife that roams in the Katavi National Park includes large herds of Cape Buffaloes, Elephants, Giraffes, and Zebras. Alongside the Katuma River, Hippopotami and Crocodiles can be spotted. When the Park’s yearly dry season comes around, hundreds of Hippos reside in mudholes. Carnivores in the Park include Cheetahs, Hyenas, Leopards, Lions, and Wild Dogs.

While some sources claim that the Katavi National Park has very high animal biodiversity, others report that wildlife numbers decline due to poaching and illegal hunting. The motive behind these is presumably for nutrition.

The Katavi National Park has few human visitors, and game drives being conducted compared to other parks in Tanzania.

Visitors to Katavi National Park

The Katavi National Park has low annual visitor numbers. Compared to other better-known parks in the country, from the total 900,000 registered foreign visitors for the 2012 – 2013 period, just above 1,500 belonged to Katavi National Park . Based on the season length and total room counts, this upper limit was estimated, while a poll on the exact number of rooms from the Safari-style accommodation that were sold might reveal a different number.

In 2013, there were only three permanent camps in operation at https://www.mbalimbali.com/Katavi National Park. Additionally, a public campsite situated at SO 06’39’19.1 E0 031’08’07.9 was also established. Each camp has an annual visitor cap of about one dozen. The camps are the Mbali Mbali Katavi Lodge, the Chada situated on the Chada Plain, and the Foxes situated on the Katuma Plain.

Park Access

Accessing the Katavi National Park via road is possible. However, estimates vary widely and are generally discussed in days, not hours. From Dar es Salaam, a total distance of about 870 mi (1,400 km) needs to be traveled, requiring more than 20 hours to travel. This route is via the town of Mbeya (approximately 340 mi / 550 km from the Park) and is described as a spectacular but challenging drive. Another, more direct route is approximately 800 mi (1250 km) from Dar es Salaam to the Park with a total travel time of more than 16 hours. Arusha is more than 1000 km distant and requires about 13.5 hours of traveling.

While the percentage of travel on unpaved roads is unknown, parts of these routes are definitely on dirt roads. The above travel times are also estimated at an assumed average travel speed from Google Maps of 50 mph (80 km).

Another way of accessing Katavi National Park is via air. Visitors can arrange for a flight with one of the charter flights services through their hosting camp. These services are the Safari Air Link or the Mbali Mbali Shared Charter, which Zantas Air Services operate. All flights land on the Ikuu dirt airstrip near the Ikuu Rangerpost. A flight from Dar es Salaam to the Park is approximately three hours. From Mwanza, a two-hour flight can be taken via a small, bush-compatible light aircraft. A flight from Arusha lasts about three hours, and operation is limited to twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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