Katavi NP activities – Gretchen’s trip report #7

January 24, 2011  By: Gretchen

This blissfully big park has abundant game which you can see in a vehicle or on foot. If you’re intrepid you can also fly camp for an additional fee (weather dependent!). This involves sleeping away from camp on a bedroll with a mosquito net; nothing much between you and the stars. You’ll have all the comforts of camp – the great cuisine, hot safari showers, the works; but you’ll get a deeper and more intimate bush experience. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s very memorable.

I did both traditional safari as well as a walking safari. Walking in Katavi is not on par with Zambia; I did not see nearly as many animals, but I enjoyed it just the same. My guide Phillip was incredibly knowledgable and made the walk very interesting. We saw elephants, antelope (there’s lots of Topi in Katavi), giraffe and birds. I also got some tracking tips, and learned where not to stand when near a warthog den!

Because I visited in the green season (about three weeks into the rains), the game was more dispersed than in the dry season. Katavi is most famous for its abundant crocs and hippos. When its dry they can be seen in the thousands. Green season or no, I saw lots of hippos and crocs, as well as more giraffes than I have ever seen anywhere, antelopes, monkeys, buffaloes, and more birds than I can recall. I also saw a few unusual looking animals, such as a broken-necked giraffe and a hippo with his teeth growing more like warthog tusks. Unusual and interesting.

The magic of the green season (other than really attractive pricing) is that the animals are very relaxed. There is food and water for all. I saw monkeys using a young tree as a see-saw to play, hippos each with their own private pools (some on their backs while lolling in the mud), giraffe drinking all over the place (it’s the riskiest spot for them to be in), and nobody looked hungry.

Elephants were in camp every day, and something was always nearby at night. My most memorable evening was spent by the fire after dinner. The chorus started with the hippos making their usual nighttime noise followed by a hyena ‘whoo-ooo’-ing. The sing-song capped off with lions roaring as they came up the road. All in all, a pretty satisfying end to my day!

As I departed, the elephants came to see me off. Katavi is a camp I’m going to get back to as soon as I can; it’s a really special place.

Don’t forget you can see more video of our travels on our You Tube channel!

Next: Mahale Mountains National Park and chimpanzees!


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