Katavi National Park is one of the greatest wildlife experiences of Africa. Miles from anywhere, it has an almost mythical status and, it’s thought, a greater density of mammals than any other Tanzanian reserve .
Massed on the plains are the last great herds of buffalo in East Africa, up to 1000 head. Rivers groan with hippopotamus, and crocodile. Almost everywhere you look there’s something grazing, bellowing, fighting, mating, hunting. Days on the hoof in Katavi can be wild beyond belief. In this mega-beast land all animals need a really good place to hole up, and for a decade Man’s retreat has been Chada Katavi, hidden on a shady spit of acacias and tamarinds on the edge of the Chada plain.
Since we first hammered in the guy-ropes ten years ago, the camp has evolved into a rather civilised camp HQ. Come dinnertime, the mess is nothing short of splendid, silverware gleaming and glasses shining in the lamplight. Hidden in the trees that flank it are six guest tents with fine wooden furniture, woven rugs and beds spread with crisp white Egyptian cottons. The tents are large, romantic and airy, the bathrooms bush-deluxe. The thoroughly good white wine sitting on your porch table is perfectly chilled.
From its elevated vantage point on a peninsula that rises out of miombo woodland, the camp is perfectly placed for amazing views out over the wide Chada Plain. The canopy of tall trees are a great source of shade and food for the abundant animal and bird life. This often means seeing great game without even having to leave the camp.
Game drives in open 4WD vehicles, fly camping under the stars, outstanding birding, daily walks, and longer 3–4 day walking safaris taking you further out into the wilder areas of the park.
This is the place for the wildlife connoisseur, and the traveller who thinks the African bush can offer up no more surprises. Happily indulged, watching the elephants head out to water as dusk falls, you feel like one of the last great pioneers; binoculars in your hand, Africa filling your head.