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:

Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
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.


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"This was my fourth safari booked with Natural High and, as previously, it surpassed my expectations. Vanessa’s Itinerary was spot on - the three camps were very different but all were spectacular with food to die for, wonderful staff, friendly, knowledgeable and great driver/guides. I could go on and on - it was perfect, and the icing on the whole trip was tracking, and finding a pack of Wild Dogs - the reason for going😃
Already saving for a 5th trip and will DEFINITELY book with Natural High - they are the Best!"

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