Katavi National Park covers an area of approximately 4,500 sq km of unspoiled wilderness/ natural face compared with other parks in the country. It is considered as the third largest park located about 40km from Mpanda town in southwest Tanzania, to the east of Lake Tanganyika, lying within a truncated arm of the Great Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow expanse of Lake Rukwa The main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada.
Over 400 species are recorded and are also known for its large concentration of crocodile and hippo. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000- plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains. The park is noted for Miombo woodland and scattered acacia trees scenery and is the home of zebras, sable and roan antelope, eland, leopard and lion.
During the rainy season, these lakes are a haven for myriad water birds, and they also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile while during the dry season, Katuma River forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief.