Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Katavi National Park

October 13, 2015  —  Tanzania 2

I wasn't sure about visiting this park since tsetse flies have a reputation for being nasty. In the end, I spent a whole day there. Wow, it is a very nice park with an impressive quantity of hippopotami, and with the bonus of pride of lions and many other animals.

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Camping at the entrance of the park

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Camping near the river.

One of the nicest sightings is this massive quantity of hippopotami crammed into this river. Well, the word river is an overstatement since at the end of the dry season, only some pools of muddy water filled with hippo shit remains.

The hippopotamus is not the prettiest creature around, but they are nevertheless interesting. They must have a good immune system since they constantly crap in the water to relieve themselves as well as to mark their territory. Yes, their territory, except that at this time of the year, it doesn't make much difference.

Worse than their excrement is one of their buddies dead in the middle of the river. The hippos don't seem to be bothered by the sight of their own being eaten by vultures.

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Notice the dead hippopotamus on the left of the panorama.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
The vultures are feasting on this dead hippo.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
They are sometimes fights...
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
This monitor lizard squeezed by the hippos and came back with this catfish.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
This young hippo is trying to find a spot for himself....
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
The young ones must be careful not to get crush by the big adults.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania

How many hippos in this photo?

I stopped counting after one hundred....

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Lake Katavi

Katavi National Park - Tanzania

Katavi is much less visited than the famous Tanzanian parks such as Serengeti. Indeed, the Serengeti gets more visitors in a day than Katavi for a whole year.

The number of tracks for game drive is relatively small and the park is known for three distinct areas: Lake Katavi, the Chada area, and the Katisunga Plain (Ikuu).

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania

This lioness is guarding a dead buffalo that her pride has recently killed. When I arrived, she was wary of me.

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
When I got too close to the dead buffalo, the lioness tried to intimidate me.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
The male is relaxing in the undergrowth.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
After getting close to the carcass, the lioness moved away a little since she was wary of me (or probably of the van). The vultures tried to take advantage of my presence to steal some food from the lions.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Lake Katavi is a seasonal floodable plain. In the dry season, water is very scarce.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Only about 1 km after encountering the first two lions, I met the rest of the pride.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
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Chada area

This area was very quiet. Only animals far away in the plain were visible. However, at the picnic site, I stumbled upon two small creatures that are normally difficult to observe.

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
These two bats were hiding under a table's roof.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Chada Plain.
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Katisunga Plain (Ikuu area)

Katavi National Park - Tanzania

This area, at the heart of the park, has the greatest density of animals during the dry season. The animals converge around the few remaining waters.

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
This is the first elephant I saw in Katavi Park. He was running in the dry bed of a river and I was not able to photograph him. After 15 minutes, I managed to get in front of him and to wait for it near a water hole. However, when he saw me, he panicked and quickly fled away.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
An impressive quantity of hippopotami is gathered in a pool of the river.
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
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Battle of giants (Ikuu)

I hope you are not afraid of blood... These two giants confronted each other for about 10 minutes.

Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
Katavi National Park - Tanzania
These two birds were watching the fight.