Katavi National Park in the far west of Tanzania is somewhere that even today, few people have been lucky enough to visit. Perhaps because of this, it feels untouched, almost like travelling back in time. The Park is made up of a series of wide flood plains, blond with waist high grass in the early dry season, green and flooded like a mini Okavango after the rains.
Connecting the main flood plains is a network of seasonal rivers, and it is these rivers that form the focus of the game viewing for which Katavi is renowned during the dry season. As the water becomes scarce, hippos in their hundreds cram into the remaining pools, crocodiles retire to caves in the mud walls of the river banks, and buffalo and elephant are drawn to the rivers to drink - watched by the ever present predators such as lion and hyena.
Chada Katavi is stylish and wonderfully comfortable, and is open from June to November every year. The 6 canvas tents are raised up on wooden platforms and have wide-open fronts to let in the passing breeze. The en-suite bathrooms have traditional outdoor safari style bucket showers. In a clearing is the dining tent and a library - comfortable little spaces to while away the hours when you're not out in the midst of a safari adventure. An evening drink around the campfire rounds off a day of excitement out in the wild.
Open game viewing vehicles get you close to the extraordinary natural environment, or you can explore the Chada flood plains on a rambling bush walk. Towards the end of the dry season elephants are in camp most days, and it is not uncommon to have lions wander through.
For the truly adventurous safari goer, there is also the option to escape from the main camp and sleep out in the real middle of nowhere - this is fly camping at it's very best. Set out on foot from camp in the late afternoon and arrive at your fly camp to the sight of the camp fire and drinks on ice. After a delicious 3 course dinner served under the stars, retire to your fly tent and drift off to sleep on a comfy bedroll to the sounds of the bush.