Katavi National Park

Remote, underdeveloped and bristling with animals


With some of the largest concentrations of hippos or buffalo you're likely to see and plenty of all the major mammal species, Katavi National Park is a fantastic safari option

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 anything 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.


The best game viewing in Katavi is between June and October – the dry season in Western Tanzania. Early season - June and July - is the time to find the vast herds of buffalo numbering many thousands, grazing on the Chada and Katisunga flood plains. As the season progresses the water in Katavi dries up dramatically. Hippo are forced to gather in their hundred in pools in the small rivers. Lion and other predators are much in evidence at this time of year remaining close to the dwindling sources of permanent water. The dry season in Katavi is an excellent time to witness herds of elephant feeding on the acacia and tamarind trees that line the flood plains. Some of the best sightings of elephant are from the comfort of your tent at camps like Chada Katavi where small herds frequently pass through camp, sometimes just feet from your tent.


When it comes to accommodation the choice is bewildering from boutique camps and lodges to some more esoteric and wild choices like our light mobile camp, which we use to great effect to explore the wilder edges of this park.

Whether you have your heart set on a stylish seasonal camp or you'd like to get completely off-grid in this vast and wild park, we've got you covered. Check out some of our favourites below. 




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Our experienced travellers include:

Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.


Outstanding customer service well above the call of duty.

"Natural High arranged a trip to remember ...accommodation first class, transportation on very long road trips was excellent. Spotless . air conditioning .. food and water. Rhino and Tiger sightings to die for.. local agents left nothing to chance ... we felt in the safest hands ... then when we off grid the virus struck... Natural High and their local Agent Banyan took total control and got us from the back of beyond to UK in very worrying and uncertain times. All without us being able to do anything at our end ...outstanding attention to detail. Worth every penny."


Personal service and excellent organisation

"This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days they had produced a wonderful-sounding itinerary in Costa Rica. There were helpful notes for packing as they seem to have someone there who has been to any chosen destination. We did do some groundwork for flights but left it to Dial-a-Flight who were also most efficient. We visited the office as it is very local to home and everyone there was cheerful and interested in our upcoming trip. We were presented with a leather file which turned out to be the most useful item en-route for all our paperwork ..... and it smelled lovely!
The holiday was one of our best ever. Not just because we saw a plethora of wildlife, but because there was always someone waiting to whisk us to another destination, be it to the airport, from the airport or a boat to a lodge etc. And they did it with great charm and humour and were always very knowledgeable about any queries we had.
For the last 8 days we had a driver/guide who was just outstanding. He was very familiar with the 3 remaining lodges where we stayed and his rapport with the other staff and guides helped to ensure that we were really well looked after. He was a skilled naturalist, had a great sense of humour and was always putting our welfare first - he made a wonderful companion for the trip.
All of the above meant that it was a really relaxing holiday so that we could maximise our time looking at the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
We would highly recommend Natural High ...... where next?!"

Ken and Caroline

Natural High

"Brilliant, everything is so well organised. We have had two trips of a lifetime organised by Rod Tether who is also a guide extraordinaire!"

Antony & Jane Braithwaite RT

Fantastic Natural High

"Perfectly organised trip to two great Nomad camps in Tanzania!"


Natural High nailed it again

"Sledding in Sweden was our second wonderful holiday with Natural High. From the moment you speak to them to when you get home the service and attention to detail is wonderful.
Everything is so well planned and organised that you can just sit back and really enjoy your holiday. We couldn’t recommend husky sledding in the north of Sweden more. We all agreed it was one of the best family holidays ever."