Katavi National Park is found in the western part of Tanzania at a distance of about 40km south of Mpanda town. Formally the park was a game reserve and thereafter it was transformed into a park in 1974. Katavi National Park has a size of about 1,823km2 originally in 1997 but it was extended to 4,471km2. The size of the park makes it to be the third largest national park after Ruaha and Serengeti. Being the third in size the park is the least visited National Park in Tanzania and makes it a truly untouched as well as safe and sound wildlife paradise. Katavi National Park is fed by the Katuma River which in the rainy seasons during the month of April and May transforms the large part of the park into wetland.

The park also has the seasonal lakes which are found within its boundaries, these lakes are Lake Chada and Lake Katavi. The park also hosts varieties of diversified vegetation species such as bush land, Miombo forests, riverine forests as well as grasslands. Because of the climatic condition at the park as well as the infrastructure around it, the Katavi National Park can be easily visited during the dry season particularly in the months between June and October.

Most animals can be seen nearby Katavi River as the main sources of water that feed the park during the dry season. Structures along the river give lifeline for creatures both large and small when they congregate for drink and bath. When the lakes and swamps get dried, a thousand hippos will be easily seen huddling together for the last bit of water. Large crocodiles can also be seen basking in the sun or in the remaining mud pools with hippos.

With wonderful vegetation along the park, The Katisunga plains in the heart of the park that attracts large numbers of wild animals and it is one of the few parks where visitors can experience indication of both the roan and sable antelopes living in the same place. Other animals grazing together in the park are zebra, giraffe, hartebeest, eland and defassa waterbuck. Katavi National Park is also one of the last parks that boast massive herds of buffalo and Zebras. Some herds are easily reaching a thousand animals or more. A big population of about 3000 elephants also resides in the park. Carnivorous animals such as cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and servals are also present in the area and the resident prides of lions are always around looking for their next meal. Leopards also call Katavi home.

Katavi National Park hosts over 400 species of birds. If one wants to have a brilliant occasion on bird viewing, Katavi National Park is a greatly recommended place for birdwatchers. Large groups of storks like saddle bills, Bateleurs, open-billed and spoon bills as well as African fish eagles, lilac breasted rollers, crested barbets and paradise flycatchers are found within the Katavi National Park.

The Best time of your safaris at Katavi National Park

Because Park’s climate is classified as tropical zone with heavy rainfall during rainy season (December) that cause much precipitation, the Katavi National Park can be easily visited during dry season particularly in the months between June and October (the hottest month – 22.7 °C) because of the dry climatic condition at the park as well as the infrastructure around it,

The park can be accessed through roadways, railway and by air. By Road, the travel distance to the park will be as follows; From either Dar es Salaam via Mbeya the distance is 1513Kms, from Dar es Salaam via Tabora the distance is 1392kms, from Arusha via Tabora the distance is 1015.7kms or from Mwanza via Tabora-Inyonga  the distance is 741 kms.  By Rail: Visitors will first reach Mpanda by train from Dar es Salaam via Tabora then catch a public transport to Sitalike, where game drives will be arranged.

By Air: Several companies like Zantas air, Safari air link (SAL) offers charter flight services  from Dar es Salam, Mwanza or Arusha cities to either Mpanda airport which is located in Mpanda town or to Sitalike and Ikuu airstrips inside the park. Their flight services are usually scheduled every Monday and Thursday. The easiest way to access the park is by means of a charter flight.

The uniqueness of Katavi National Park

The Patavi National Park is endowed with various tourism activities that visitors can do during their visit. The activities includes; Nature Walking Safaris (Short Walking Safaris (SWS)), Long Walking Safaris (LWS), , Picnicking, Filming, Camping, Birding Bush meals, Night Game Drive, Hiking and Game Viewing .

Tourists Activities in the Park

Game Viewing

This activity is conducted from 06:30 – 18:30 HRS, GVTS will not charge additional fee for this activity and GVTS’s Four Wheel (4X4) drive vehicles will be used for your safari within the park.

Long walking safari (Chorangwa Hiking Trail)

Katavi National Park offers Long walking safari (Chorangwa Hiking Trail)  which takes more than five hours walking for a distance of more than 10kms long.

Short walking safari (Sitalike Walking Trail)

Katavi National Park offers Short walking safari (Sitalike Walking Trail) that range from 1-9kms Long. This work takes more than three hours.


Katavi National Park hosts an outstanding diversity of birdlife with more than 450 species of birds, ranging from turkey sized group hornbill to the tiny sun birds.

Special campsites:

Katavi National Park has identified places which are potential with maximum exclusivity for visitors to stay for a night. These places don’t have many facilities to accommodate a number of visitors because it wants to ensure everything should be taken out. Pre-booking under GVTS tour expert is required in order to reserve your position earlier.

Public campsites: 

Katavi National Park has identified places with all important facilities available like Toilets, Bathrooms, Kitchen, Dining and water. Many public campsites are located outside the park

Flying Camping: 

Katavi National Park offers this unique flying camping service. This prominent mode of special camping where visitors maximizes privacy, adventurous and unique experience is offered as moving safari, by stop and move within the park.

Bush meals

Katavi National Park has identified places where secured Bush meals can be offered. Bush meals are usually taken at the middle of the park. The park has identified places where visitors can take their food while doing game viewing or after walking safaris.


The Katavi National Park offers filming service among its packages. Taking a recording picture for business purposes or any official use is done by charges. Filming fee is charged at US $250 per person/day and covers conservation, camping and filming fees. These charges are applicable to all visitors.

Night Game Drive

The Katavi National Park offers a night game drive. The activity is usually conducted during the night by using open vehicles and special spotlights to observe nocturnal or active animals during night’ and their behavior. It gives an opportunity to see the range of animals which are generally unseen during the day because of the sunlight.


They are best places for outing or excursion in which visitors carry their food with them and share a meal in the open air.


Walking through trails to a waterfall is also practiced in Katavi National Park, 17 Kms walking Trails to an elevated point where it will be easy to view Waterfalls of Chorangwa, Lukima and Ndido all found within the parks.