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Katavi Wildlife Camp

Katavi Wildlife Camp


6°53’49.5"S 31°9’34.2"E

Katavi Wildlife Camp: Our full report

One of only four camps in Tanzania’s very remote Katavi National Park, the simple Katavi Wildlife Camp has ...

... a fine location on the edge of the Katasunga Plains, close to the park’s main airstrip. This is quite a traditional tented camp, and doesn’t promise anything more elaborate.

Katavi Wildlife Camp is owned and run by the same family team as Ruaha River Lodge and Rufiji River Camp. The family’s surname is Fox, and hence this is sometimes sometimes referred to as ‘Foxes Katavi Wildlife Camp’ or ‘Foxes Wildlife Camp, Katavi’, or even simply ‘Foxes' Camp’!

The experience here at Katavi Wildlife Camp is highly seasonal. From November (once the short rains start) until around the beginning of July (when the park begins to get really dry) the vast plains extending out in front of the lodge turn to swampy marshland, attracting huge quantities of birdlife in the process (there are over 420 recorded species in Katavi). By the end of July, the relentless sun turns the swamps to parched dry plains, along which countless animals trudge to reach the small permanent water source located not far from the camp.

There are currently six tented rooms at Katavi Wildlife Camp, all spread out well overlooking the plain. On our last visit, in June 2013, there were plans to build some new, larger family tents in the near future. We saw the framework for these tents, but they looked to be similar in style, with plenty of space. We were also told they would have small plunge pools but, while these would be appreciated when the temperatures rise, we have to question their appropriateness in a park where water is a scare resource in the dry season.

Each of the current large, cream tents at Foxes’ Katavi Wildlife Camp is suspended under a thatched roof, and raised about half a metre off the ground on wooden decking. The mosquito-net gauze windows on the front and side give the tents a remarkably open and airy feel, allowing the breeze to pass through. This is especially welcome from September onwards, when it can get very hot in Katavi. Each tent is equipped with a small writing desk, luggage rack and wooden-framed beds (three tents have a large double and three have twins).

Each tent has an en-suite bathroom at the back. This has twin sinks, a shower and toilet – all have running water, but because the shower is solar heated, you can really only get hot water at the end of the day. There’s plenty of space to hang your clothes, as well as a small electronic safe for storing valuables. Little touches such as coloured bedspreads and seed-pod ornaments add interest. There’s a large verandah in the front of each tent, still shaded by the thatch. A couple of chairs sit facing the plains, and a hammock is strung up – perfect for siesta time!

The main areas at Katavi Wildlife Camp are completely open-sided, with a high thatched roof and wooden floors. The small lounge and dining area are all open plan with views out onto the plains beyond. By August, when the park has started to get very dry, huge herds of buffalo can regularly be seen in front of the camp. The bar is well stocked and there’s a small mezzanine level with a bookswap.


Our view

We really liked the Foxes’ Katavi Wildlife Camp. It was simple but very nicely styled, spacious and in a great location. It also has a slightly more personal feel than its sister camps in Selous and Ruaha, so is a nice option in this remote park.

Elizabeth Chapman

Elizabeth Chapman

Tanzania expert

Geographics

Location
Katavi National Park, Tanzania
Ideal length of stay
You can stay here for either three or four nights to fit in with the twice-weekly flights in and out of the park (on Mondays and Thursdays)
Directions
In the dry season the camp is about a five-minute drive from Katavi airstrip. If there is still a bit of water around then they need to drive slightly further which takes about 30 minutes.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
Breakfast at Katavi Wildlife Camp is usually a selection of fruits, followed by a cooked breakfast of your choice. Tea, coffee and juice are also available.

Lunch is a buffet meal served in the main dining area. On our last visit, we had a good selection of vegetable samosas, potato wedges, coleslaw salad and garden salad. There were a great variety of chutneys and pickles to accompany the meal. The dessert (flambéed banana) was served to us at the table. It was simple and fresh – perfect.

Dinner is usually eaten as one large group and is a three-course meal. On our visit, we enjoyed tomato-and-olive soup to start, followed by a buffet selection of chicken pilau and rice with fresh vegetables. There was a passion fruit mouse for dessert. Dinner was very good – not too fussy, but with plenty of flavour.
Dining style
Group Meals
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included
Drinks cost extra.

Children

Attitude towards children
The camp welcomes children.
Property’s age restrictions
Children aged two and above are accepted.
Special activities & services
No
Equipment
No
Generally recommended for children
Katavi is a very wild park, and so we’d advise that only older children would enjoy it. Best for age 12+. Due to the presence of wildlife, children should be supervised at all times.

Communications

Power supply notes
The power is on between 6.30am and 10.30pm.
Communications
There is a very limited cellphone reception in Katavi, but for all intents and purposes you should consider yourself out of touch.
TV & radio
No

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
They have a first-aid kit on site. For any serious emergencies the camp has links with Safari Airlink who would fly guests out.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
They have askaris (guards) to escort you around the camp as soon as it gets dark.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in each room.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

Extras

Disabled access
Laundry facilities
Included. Laundry takes minimum of 24 hours and all items, including women’s underwear, can be washed.
Money
Each tent has an electronic safe to store valuables.
Accepted payment on location
The camp can take MasterCard and Visa (with a 5% surcharge), but they don’t have a machine, so they’ll simply take your details and charge you when they can contact the head office. Cash is the best way to pay for any extras here. They normally accept US dollars, British pounds, euros and Tanzanian shillings.

Other lodges in Katavi National Park

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Chada Camp

Chada Camp

Chada Camp, in the heart of Tanzania's remote Katavi National Park, is a serious safari camp in a wild and relatively inaccessible part of Africa.


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Chada fly-camping

Chada fly-camping

Fly-camping from Chada Camp, in the heart of Tanzania's remote Katavi National Park is as wild as Africa gets.


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Mbali Mbali Katavi

Mbali Mbali Katavi

Mbali Mbali Katavi is a luxury, tented camp situated in the centre of Katavi and the only camp in the park with a swimming pool.


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