Katavi has been on the bucket list of our MD for many years and when she finally got the time to go she jumped at the chance. Here is Rose’s account of her time spent there.
Katavi is hot, searingly hot – heat waves dance along the horizon and the wildlife moves slowly and lethargically in its own direction. Nothing can compare the vast openness and wildness of this place so famed within the luxury safari industry as being ‘the’ place to go and feel the true raw reality of nature. Chada Katavi Camp itself is in a magical spot overlooking a vast plain, set amongst shady trees with wooden decking to prop the tents up on, and relaxing and comfortable old fashioned furniture which makes you feel like one of the first great intrepid explorers.
The location of the camp is one born out of true love for this area and is within easy reach of the Katuma River which boasts high density of game especially during the height of the dry season when almost all the water in Katavi dries up. Katavi is actually closed during the wet season due to the soil being almost impossible to drive on. The tents are far apart and exclusive each with their own little view of paradise. The bathrooms are attached by an open walkway at the back and are eco friendly, with a bucket shower long enough to stand under there and contemplate the events of the day, of which there will be many.
We had some fantastic sightings of lion, leopard and elephant but the main highlight in this vast and remote park is the hippo pods – there are vast numbers of hippos here anyway but in the dry season you find them stacked on top of each other with birds, crocodiles and other species also cramming their way into the last drops of water, most of which is now muddy and dirty. You can’t believe the way these hippos have to live until the rains come and rivers flow again.
Katavi is a 3 or 4 hour light aircraft flight from civilisation which means you really have to want to go there to make it work. It is for the intrepid luxury safari goer who can appreciate the vastness of the place and the fact that you really won’t see another soul – this is Africa fifty years ago with no people and vast herds of buffalo, elephant, lion and leopard all making a good showing as well as zebra, giraffe and other species also being easily seen and looking exceptionally picturesque out on the plains.
A mention should go to the fantastic luxury safari guides at Katavi who are all brilliant, and a team of fantastic staff who will look after you so well that you will feel truly spoilt. They really do care about this magical place and want everyone coming here to have an amazing time, something which you certainly will do if you appreciate vast open space, no people, and sunrises and sunsets to die for.