Katavi Wildlife Camp

Katavi National Park, Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania Book from

Recommended awaiting i-escape review
The ultimate off-the-beaten-track safari destination - and you’re surrounded by wildlife the moment you arrive
The joy of the southern parks is that they offer game viewing without the crowds. Katavi, Tanzania’s third largest park and one of Africa’s remotest, is the stomping ground of buffalo, elephant, cheetah and lion. This small fence-free camp with its prime river-mouth site - the only water source for miles - is a massive draw for old Africa hands. The golden grass plains and wooded fringes of Katavi, lushly swampy in the wet season, attract vast herds of game in the dry one. As the Kutuma river shrinks to a stream, lumbering hippos jostle for space, ears atwitch beneath muddy waters. And all this within striking distance of your tent - don’t be surprised to discover a leopard napping on your veranda!

It sounds like only the adventurous need apply, but safari-lovers young and old are made welcome here. The terrain is flat so there's no uphill trekking, the tents are spacious, the food is inviting and the guides are the best. What could possibly be nicer, after two game drives a day, than a snooze beneath acacia trees and a shot of Konyagi with bitter lemon? Dinner - candlelit and delicious - can be intimate or convivial, depending on numbers and what you prefer. Dine in the lodge or by the campfire; everything’s possible here.

Highs

  • Sited in the richest game area of one of Africa’s least known conservation parks
  • Great game viewing without the crowds - you're more likely to see a lion than another tourist!
  • The highest density of hippos and big crocs in Tanzania, and abundant waterfowl in the wet season
  • Host and guides are knowledgeable, hospitable, flexible and 100% hands-on
  • Tents feel comfortable, spacious and very private
  • One of only 2 permanent safari camps in Katavi sharing 4,500km2 of wilderness

Lows

  • Remote location, reached via a long flight in light aircraft, with scheduled departures only on Mondays and Thursdays
  • Seasonal safari operation only: closed March through May, and pretty rainy from mid December through February (but great for birds then)
  • Expect tsetse flies on game drives - though not back at camp
  • This is a simple, authentic safari camp: don't expect a pool, massages or swathes of staff (though there is WiFi!)

Best time to go

The camp is open from June until the end of February. The prime time for game viewing is during the dry season, from June to early December, when wildlife concentrates along the river banks and around the few remaining watering holes. Nights may be cool - you’re 3000 feet above sea level here - but from the end of August the daytime temperatures soar into the high 30s. Note pythons and crocs are at their most active in October and November! During the rainy season, from mid-December, the park looks simply stunning: you still see masses of game and new species of birds arrive from other parts of the country.

Our top tips

Take walking boots, khaki clothing, a fleece and - if you're here between December and February - rain gear. Also: a broad-brimmed sun hat, sun block, binos, bird guide, anti-malarials, a head torch, and masses of memory for your camera.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Safari Camp
  • 8
  • All inclusive
  • Over 4's welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 8 guest tents, set on low platforms among the trees to ensure both camouflage and shade, are spaced a good distance apart. Light, spacious, constructed of zippable canvas and with floor to ceiling windows, they are comfortable without being remotely swish, and have their own little shower rooms. Twin director-style chairs on the decked veranda are perfect for wildlife viewing and sundowner sipping as the wildlife drama unfolds before you.

Tents have chunky wooden double beds with high-density foam mattresses, cheerful duvet covers and cushions, and a central bedside table and lamp. Bright durries and paintings add a splash of colour while mosquito-netted door and window openings keep the sunlight at bay, and allow the smells and sounds of the bush to waft over you as you sleep.

Each tent’s bathroom is tucked away behind a wooden screen at one end. Twin sinks are set into a small wooden vanity unit where you find bottled water and mozzie. Further partitioning lends extra intimacy to the flush toilet and shower. Water is entirely solar-heated so expect your morning shower to be tepid rather than hot; a hot one is more likely at the end of the day.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

The Fox family have spent years fine-tuning their bush cuisine. Breakfasts are served, rather than laid out buffet-style, in the two-storey lodge, at one table or several according to guest preference. This is a small and extremely remote camp, so you may get your host/manager all to yourselves! Freshly squeezed juice and fruit salad - including straight-from-the-farm mango, paw-paw, pineapple, watermelon - will be brought to the table along with freshly baked cinnamon rolls, then a hot breakfast.

Lunches are either ‘on safari’ or back at the lodge. Expect a tasty cold buffet of meats and cheeses, fresh salads and a lovely choice of chutneys.

Candlelit dinner, preceded by an ice-cold aperitif of your choice, is the culinary focus of the day, either at the lodge or under the stars. We hear excellent reports of the food. The beef, pork, lamb, vegetables and fruit come from the family farm, and you can choose a wine from a small selection, South African and generously priced. Vegetarians are well catered for.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Morning and later afternoon game drives in a 4x4 on the open plains are an integral part of the experience, taken in small groups of 2-6 with a local English-speaking guide and a driver with a 2-way radio. Wildlife viewing comes no better that this
  • The long dry season (June-November) is great for walking safaris accompanied by an expert, armed guide
  • 'Fly camp' under a mosquito net miles from anywhere and lit by the moonlight. By day, spot hartebeest, waterbuck, eland, giraffe, hippo, open-billed storks, paradise fly-catchers, crested cranes and dazzling herds of zebra, buffalo, impala, even topi
  • Chill out back at the lodge, slump into a sofa and gen up on the Tanzanian flora and fauna
  • Or retire to your decked veranda with a pair of binoculars and a beer - you’ll see crocs and hippos in the river in the wet season, elephant and buffalos, spoonbills and orioles, even, on rare occasions, a lion helping itself to a zebra

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Safaris
  • Wildlife

Kids

All of the Foxes' lodges are geared up for families, with big tents that have space for extra beds to be added. Menus can be doctored to take young children's needs into account; game drives are always family-exclusive, ie. in a 4x4 with your own guide; and under 12s are half price. Provided children are robust and interested in wildlife, they should have a great time. But this is not a place for babies or toddlers.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kids Activities on site:

Family game drives can be tailored to your requirements.

Families Should Know:

Although the Foxes do welcome children of all ages, we don't think this is the kind of place for under 4's, given the wildlife all around, and the lack of facilities (cots etc) at the camp.

Kid Friendly:

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