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Katavi National Park


3/5 Hippo gather in massive pods on Katavi's Chada plain
Hippo gather in massive pods on Katavi's Chada plain

Katavi National Park is remote, undeveloped and, at certain times of year, bristling with big wild animals

Katavi National Park is remote, undeveloped and, at certain times of year, bristling with big wild animals. Until just a few years ago Chada Camp was the only place to stay and it was very little visited with the only access being via one of two little planes that ground their way between here and Arusha (one flown by the then owner of Chada, Roland Purcell, and the other by Alex in pre Natural High days).

These days Katavi is something of an open secret; there are more camps and consequently more visitors. However, the park is far from ruined and still retains a palpably exciting feeling and remains wonderfully undeveloped.  Sadly there's quite a bit of misleading hyperbole about Katavi splashed around the internet these days, promising superlatives in every department.

Whilst it's certainly true that there are some of the largest concentrations of hippos or buffalo you're likely to see and plenty of all the major mammal species, to us the real appeal of Katavi is a little more subtle than simply a fairground-style promise of marvellous excess.  There are better places to go if you just want to see lots of big stuff.

Where Katavi is hard to beat is the sense of raw wilderness it engenders, the feeling of being miles from any thing resembling conventional 21st century life and its ability to deliver the unexpected (...although we can't guarantee this).  Large open flood plains are interlaced with small seasonal rivers whose small size belies the burgeoning life they support.  In the dry season these rivers dry up altogether and the Katavi environment becomes harsh, but deeply fascinating.


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Vanessa Janion

Vanessa's 16 years in travel has seen her knowledge develop from sub-Saharan Africa into North Africa, Central and Southern America and the Galapagos. Consequently, she’s a veritable encyclopaedia of travel information and exceptionally cool, calm and collected in the face of the greatest planning demands.

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At Natural High, we've had long experience putting together trips in Africa that really work. Whether it's intimate bushcamps in out of the way places, or a private lodge in one of Africa's top-billing wildlife areas, light mobile camping or remote island escapes, we know there is a lot to choose from. We're absolutely confident that we can recommend the right places for you.

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