The wilderness of Katavi National Park, located in the western area of Tanzania, is one of the most untouched areas of the entire country. It offers unspoilt wildlife viewing in the country’s third-largest national park, in a remote location far off the beaten track. The park is Africa at its most wild — unadulterated bush settings, spectacular views, and rich wildlife.
It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into its own. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains 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 floodplains.
Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.
Area – 4,471 km2
Getting there : by charter from Arusha or Dar es salaam