Nature in Katavi NP
Katavi and its surrounding ecosystems
With a size of 4471 km² Katavi NP contributes massively to nature conservation. It is the core of the western Tanzanian wildlife area and part of Katavi/Rukwa ecosystem with roughly 12 500 km². Rukwa and Lukwati are Game Reserves used for trophy hunting for foreign tourists. But also Ruaha/Rungwa protected area complex to the East and Mahale/Ugalla to the North contain similar vegetation types and are assumed to be connected via wildlife corridors.
Lake Rukwa, a huge shallow internal lake of varying size, is found South East of the protected area complex and is bordering Rukwa and Lukwati Game Reserves. Together with the surrounding hunting blocks and forest reserves this area is one of the biggest and richest wildlife areas in Tanzania.
Katavi National Park, Tanzania’s third largest national park (4471 km²), is the heart of one of the biggest and richest wildlife areas in Tanzania. Located along the rift escarpment in western Tanzania, it offers incredible scenery including immense wetlands, roaring waterfalls and original miombo woodlands, where the Sable antelopes often hide. During the dry season, huge herds of buffalo, zebras and impalas gather with elephants, waterbucks and duikers around the drying water reserves of Lake Katavi and Lake Chada.
You can also observe many animals along the remaining pools of the Katuma river which are bursting with hippos and crocodiles. Here, at these remaining water sources, the lions, leopards and wild dogs can be found searching for their prey, watched by patiently waiting vultures which share the trees with fish eagles, storks and vervet monkeys. As soon as the first rains start, Katavi transforms again into a flowering paradise with enormous swamps, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, attracting an incredible diversity of bird life.
- High habitat and species diversity with high concentrations of large mammals
- Extensive wetlands and important water catchments areas
- Wilderness character: The Katavi-Rukwa-Lukwati protected area complex still retains a distinct wilderness character.
- Interesting vegetation mosaic ranging from wetlands and lakes to riverine vegetation and various types of woodlands and shrublands (e.g. the woodlands of the inselbergs of Kapimbye, Kapapa and Igongwe)
- Home to some endangered and unusual species: wild dog, chetaahs (mostly seen in Mbuga ya Duma) roan and sable antelopes (e.g. in the woods of Ilumbi), eland (often encountered at lake Katavi, Kaselami Mbuga, the northern Chada plain, Kataukasi and Kakonje Mbugas)
- Historical and cultural resources: The Karema-Inyonga-Tabora slave route passed through the protected area complex. Stone age and iron age sites, sites of 19th century towns, Wamweru Hills and Katabi tree (14 km from the airstrip)
- Scenic diversity with escarpments, rugged hills, flat alluvial plains, marshes, lakes and rivers. Scenic spots are: hot springs, waterfalls Ndido, Chorangwa, Lukima, Iloba, and beautiful views from the top of the escarpment down into the Rukwa valley (e.g. the view of the steep Mlele escarpment close to Mpunga Mbuga).
- Large herds of animals at Magogo Pools, Lake Katavi, Ilyandi sandridge, Katisunga Mbuga and Kasima Springs, Lake Chada.
- Katuma valley, Paradise springs in dry season
- Hippo schools at Ikuu springs, Ikuu bridge and Sitalike. Crocodiles are found in large numbers in the Katuma riverbed and at the Ikuu bridge in caves as well as in Kapapa River, Rungwa River and Ndido falls.