"The most untrammelled of East Africa’s major safari destinations, Katavi is Tanzania’s third-largest national park, set in a remote arm of the western Rift Valley close to Mahale Mountains, with which it is often visited in tandem on fly-in safaris. Possibly the last on the continent where a visitor can expect to encounter more lions than they will other safari vehicles, Katavi is also home to massive seasonal concentrations of elephant, buffalo and hippo. ”

- Philip Briggs

Katavi National Park

Among the most rigidly seasonal of safari destinations, Katavi is all but inaccessible during the rains (late November to May), when its black cotton soils are transformed into a treacherously sticky quagmire likely to bog down even the sturdiest 4×4.

By contrast, after the rains subside, the handful of piddling perennial streams that traverse its wide grassy floodplains the only source of water for miles around. And the game-viewing can be truly awesome: lions and elephants are common, as are thousand-strong buffalo herds, while other wildlife includes giraffe, zebra and half a dozen antelope species. Most impressive of all are the peerless concentrations of hippopotami: towards the end of the dry season, any pool of sufficient depth becomes an orgy of grey-pink flesh, with up to 200 individuals flopping over each other in the shallow water, and territorial fights taking place on a daily basis.

After dark, the few small camps that service this wildest of African parks are set below a vast, sparkling night sky undiluted by electric light, while the shrill white noise of a million cicadas is regularly punctuated by a the deep booming grunts of lions and demonic rising whoops of hyena. This, most visitors agree, evokes Africa as it must have been a century ago.

When to go

Find out when is best to visit

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Poor
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WET SEASON

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the heavy showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity does make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be very tricky to navigate!

All in all, not an ideal time to visit, unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

WET SEASON

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the heavy showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity does make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be very tricky to navigate!

All in all, not an ideal time to visit, unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

WET SEASON

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the heavy showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity does make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be very tricky to navigate!

All in all, not an ideal time to visit, unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

WET SEASON

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the heavy showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity does make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be very tricky to navigate!

All in all, not an ideal time to visit, unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

TRANSITION FROM WET TO DRY SEASON

A rather unpredictable time of the year with the heavy showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity does make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be very tricky to navigate!

May marks the end of the rains, generally, as time moved on the showers will become less frequent and intense.

We would however still not recommend this month unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period as the land gradually dries up after the ‘long rains’, as this happens wildlife will begin to migrate back to the water, at this stage the Katuma River (which will eventually dry up to a become a narrow stream) and the floodplains become a magnet for wildlife!

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period as the land gradually dries up after the ‘long rains’, as this happens wildlife will begin to migrate back to the water, at this stage the Katuma River (which will eventually dry up to a become a narrow stream) and the floodplains become a magnet for wildlife!

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period as the land gradually dries up after the ‘long rains’, as this happens wildlife will begin to migrate back to the water, at this stage the Katuma River (which will eventually dry up to a become a narrow stream) and the floodplains become a magnet for wildlife!

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period as the land gradually dries up after the ‘long rains’, as this happens wildlife will begin to migrate back to the water, at this stage the Katuma River (which will eventually dry up to a become a narrow stream) and the floodplains become a magnet for wildlife!

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

During this period as the land gradually dries up after the ‘long rains’, as this happens wildlife will begin to migrate back to the water, at this stage the Katuma River (which will eventually dry up to a become a narrow stream) and the floodplains become a magnet for wildlife!

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

WET SEASON

The start of the wet season. A rather unpredictable time of the year with showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity can make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be tricky to navigate!

All in all, not an ideal time to visit, unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

WET SEASON

The start of the wet season. A rather unpredictable time of the year with showers or thunderstorms, but these are usually in the afternoon and are short-lived. The heat combined with humidity can make things a little uncomfortable, during the middle of the day. Roads can also be tricky to navigate!

All in all, not an ideal time to visit, unless you are very keen to sight migratory birds.

Its location so close to the equator means that Katavi National Park generally has consistent temperatures throughout the year, the altitude (825-1,618m or 2,707-5,308ft) does moderate these somewhat, but temperatures are still hot throughout the year, usually averaging around 32°C or 90°F during midday. Temperatures at times can, however, exceed this, peaks of over 40°C/104°F are possible before the beginning of the rains. Mornings are a more pleasant 17°C or 63°F on average, so our advice would be to get up early to take advantage of these cooler temperatures.

Unlike most of Tanzania where there are are two distinct wet seasons, Katavi has just one long extended wet Season, which last from November to May. This wet season is characterised by afternoon thunderstorms; it is unusual to have more extended periods of rain.

Katavi is a seasonal park, with superb game viewing in the driest months of the year, as vegetation thins and wildlife become a little more concentrated. Ideally it this, therefore, best to visit during the height of the dry season.

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