Katavi National Park is part of Tanzania’s Southwest Circuit (along with Selous, Ruaha, and Mahale) and it is an absolute gem. At 4,500 sq kilometers large, Katavi contains some of the best game viewing in one of the most untouched, remote, and least visited regions of East Africa. Many safari operators would love to build camps here, but the logistics and high cost of transportation provide major barriers. It is quite inaccessible with only a few flights per week to the region and they are very expensive. For this reason, Katavi is not part of a first-time safari-goer’s typical circuit. Traveling to Katavi and neighboring Mahale National Park is a better option for someone who’s been on safari before or if they’re looking for something extremely remote and are willing to pay the price. It is a truly amazing place; unfortunately, it’s just not feasible for everyone.

The best times to visit Katavi are during its dry seasons; January through March and June through October. During these times, the plains fill with zebra, impala, and topi. The Katuma and Kapapa rivers are the only water sources for miles and provide excellent game viewing as animals flock to their shores. You will see hundreds of hippo congregating and enormous crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbank’s mud-holes. Katavi also boasts large populations of elephant, buffalo, lion, and spotted hyena.

With few options to choose from, our favorite property in Katavi National Park is Chada Katavi.

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Jamie Mehrotra