Katavi National Park - Rukwa
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Buffalo in Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park


The Katavi National Park, at the foot of the Mlele escarpment, was established in 1974 covering an area of 2253 square kilometers. To protect the wildlife the government of Tanzania has extended the area to include Uwanda Rukwa Game Reserve and becoming the third largest National Park in Tanzania.  The park's main feature is flood plain surrounding Lake Katavi and Chada and River Katuma. (See Map of Katavi National Park)
It is about 40 kilometers south east of Mpanda town. Despite of being dissected by the Mpanda - Sumbawanga road, it is considered by many as difficult to reach, that makes Katavi one of the unspoiled and beautiful national parks with variety of game life in Africa. (see where it is on the map PDF). It is long and tough driving from Mbeya to Katavi (about 340 miles drive).  That is why we prefer light aircraft from Arusha or Dar es Salaam and combined with either Ruaha or  Mahale together
The main vegetation in the park is Miombo woodland, acacia parkland, grassland plain and swamps around the River Katuma, which joins Lake Katavi and Lake Chada.
Climate: though it is year round by plane, the dry season is the best time to visit.
Dry Season: May to October and mid-December to February. Rainy Season: the long rains are from March to May, which makes the road impassable. Temperature range between 15° C at night and 35° C during the hottest hours.
Attractions The lakes (Katavi and Chada) which are joined by the River Katuma give an excellent attraction to the visitors. Bird Watching around lakes and swamps provide the safest breeding ground for the birds, over 400 species of birds have been recorded in Katavi National Park, among others are pelicans, Water fowl, and Flocks of open-billed storks, which are easily observed. the park has one of the largest undisturbed herds of buffalo in Tanzania, hippos, crocodiles and other sorts of reptiles. Other animals include lions, leopards, roan and sable antelopes, reedbuck, topi, eland, zebra and elephants, all are visible during the safari. The Katasunga plains, is much more of attraction occupied with thousands of antelope, zebra, giraffe, topi, hartebeest and Defassa waterbuck.

Stone Age and Iron Age sites (one iron kilns site is just north of Sitalike) testify the early settlement of human ancestors in this area. Up until now, sacred sites and places of worship exist inside the Park’s boundaries

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