The bulk of Katavi National Park supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localized eland, sable and roan antelopes. But the main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad water birds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.
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.
Best to know
Has the highest hippo and crocodile population in the country.
Over 1500 buffalos roaming the plains, along with a vast varity of other african wild animals.
Its undisturbed natural landscape makes it stand out above the other more regularly visited Parks in the country.
The name Katavi immortalises a legendary hunter, Katabi, whose spirit is believed to possess a tamarind tree ringed with offerings from locals begging his blessing.
The animals rely on the Lake Katavi with its vast short grass flood plains in the north, the palm fringed Lake Chada in the southeast, and the Katuma Riverfor water throught the year.