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Overview

Situated in southwest Tanzania, Katavi is one of the biggest yet one of the least visited national parks in the country. A true gem due to its remote location which makes it difficult to access by road, Katavi offers some of the most pristine wildlife experiences for anyone lucky enough to visit. The national park is literally Africa at its wildest form. Its biodiversity is one of the highest in the continent and its sheer number of animals on show is mindboggling, in quantity and variety. The park is primarily fed by the Katuma river, which transforms the grass plains to flood wetlands during the rainy season around April and May. Her seasonal lakes, Katavi and Chada provide a spectacle during the dry season when most other water sources are dry. It is not unusual to spot vast numbers of elephant, buffalo and Zebra concentrate around these crocodile and hippo infested water spots for drink during the dry season.     

We find two major landscape units, The Rukwa Rift Valley floor, 2. The Ilyamba ya Mfipa in the west and Mlele escarpments in the east of the valley. The Rukwa Rift Valley floor includes the basins of Lake Katavi, Katisunga Mbuga, Lake Chada and Mpunga Mbuga, to name a few. These are seasonally inundated and are purely grass dominated. But also undulated terrain occurs in the valley floor on the well-drained terrain which supports the growth of woody vegetation. At the heart of the park lies the Katisunga plains which attract large numbers of wildlife. It is one of the few parks where visitors can catch a glimpse of both the roan and sable antelope in the same place.


In terms of vegetation the park hosts a varied mix of bush land, Miombo forests, riverine forests as well as grasslands. The habitat is mainly grassland savannah and brachystegia (miombo) woodland on the east of the park. After the rains, the place transforms to lush marshes and shallow lakes, leaving behind dusty floodplains of the Dry season. On the edges of the floodplains we find grass dominated vegetation with occasional shrubs and trees on termite hills. The elevated areas on the outlying foothills of the escarpment are occupied by mixed woodlands. Only from an altitude of approx. 1100m these woodlands consist of the typical Miombo species.
More than 400 trees, shrubs and grasses have been identified inside the Park (Nathan Mwangulango).
The whole ecosystem is subject to annual dry season fires.

 


More than 50 species of large to medium sized mammal species are confirmed to occur in the Park. The Park is used by herbivores as a refuge during the dry season. However there is a huge number of resident animals throughout the year.

The Katisunga plains in the heart of the park attracts large numbers of wildlife and it is one of the few parks where visitors can catch a glimpse of both the roan and sable antelope in the same place. Other animals grazing here are zebra, hartebeest, eland, giraffe and defassa waterbuck. Katavi is also one of the last parks that boasts massive herds of buffalo; some herds easily reaching a thousand animals or more. A healthy population of roughly 3000 elephants also reside in the park. Predators such as cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and servals are also present in the area and the resident prides of lions are always around looking for their next meal. Leopards also call Katavi home.

With over 400 species of birds, Katavi is a great place for birdwatchers. Large flocks of storks like saddle bills, open-billed and spoon bills as well as African fish eagles, Bateleurs, lilac breasted rollers, crested barbets and paradise flycatchers are but a few on the long list of birds in Katavi.


Katavi is a hot place in the Dry season (May to October), except for the evenings when the temperature sinks along with the sun. Not by much, though – nights average a warm 17°C/63°F. The Wet season (November to April) is when things get really uncomfortable, with high levels of heat, plus humidity thanks to the brewing rain.


Due to the remoteness of the Katavi national park, accommodation is also limited and offered in only high-end and mid-budget range offering more exclusivity and a true sense of the authentic African bush; uncrowded, untamed and unhurried.


By Air:

Flight time from / to Arusha Airport to / from Mahale airstrip: 2 hours 50 minutes

Flight time from / to Dar es salaam Airport to / from Mahale airstrip: 3 hours 20 minutes



COVID – 19: Nisimulie Africa SOP’s

In light of the world opening up slowly amidst the current pandemic, we have been preparing to welcome tourists back to Tanzania by making changes to the way we provide our services. New SOPs are in place for every touch point and guest experience that characterizes your stay with us as your esteemed hosts. Our SOPs will be updated in line with the Government of Tanzania’s instructions to the tourism and hospitality industry. Our priority is to ensure that we provide the safest possible environment for our guests while providing top-notch safari experiences.

 

Standard Operating Procedures

1.     To keep social distancing, safari vehicles with 6-window seats will be redesigned to take only 4 people in the passenger cabin. Safari vehicles with 6-window seats will still be available for families wishing to travel together in one vehicle

2.   The driver-guide will be at hand to oversee guests observe the recommended physical distancing at park entry gates, museums, picnic sites, and while checking in at accommodation facilities.

3.   City transfer and safari vehicles will be regularly disinfected before picking up clients, especially the high-touch surfaces and seats

4.   Sanitizers (anti-microbial agents) will be provided in the vehicle for guests' use

5.   The driver-guide will take necessary personal protection precautions at all times. Guests are encouraged to come with their own masks; packaged masks will be available at an extra cost.

6.   Health condition of driver-guides will be monitored for not less than a week before being assigned to take clients on safari, including measuring body oxygen level (recommended 95% and above) and body temperature not exceeding 37.5 degrees centigrade.

7.   There will be three health centers dedicated to COVID-19 rapid response and support network; one center will be in Arusha town (Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre), one in Karatu near Ngorongoro, and the third in central Serengeti at Seronera. Ambulances will be on standby.

8.   For clients needing more medical attention, Nisimulie Africa Tours and Travel will arrange evacuation by Flying Doctors. The Flying Doctors package covers evacuation to a hospital in Nairobi. We can also arrange evacuation to Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a fine facility with high rate of recovery for COVID-19 patients. The evacuation to Dar es Salaam will involve some extra charges to be met by the patient. Clients are required to have medical insurance to cover hospitalization expenses. 

9.   The welcome briefing to guests will include details of our safety and hygiene measures in place and what is required of guests during their stay (including the use of masks and gloves and keeping safe distances from other guests).

10. Not limiting these procedures to ourselves, we work with other third-party suppliers who ensure and adhere to the set international standards of travel as defined by the Ministry of Tourism and WHO.

 

Game drives 

·      A maximum of four people will be permitted per vehicle with the exception of groups that   are travelling together.

·      Guides will wear face masks and gloves on arrival at the airstrip, when in the main area of the airstrip and when handling guests’ luggage.

·      Guests must also wear facemasks at the airstrip; however, this is optional while on the game drive.

·      Once the group has left the airstrip, the guide will remove the face mask and gloves to speak with guests, as the safety risk is greatly reduced outside of the airstrip.

·      Game drives will take place in safari vehicles, as usual, which will be disinfected after each game drive.

·      Hand sanitizer will be available for guests and guides and is to be used on arrival at the airstrip, on boarding the vehicle and throughout the game drive.

·      Guests are asked to sensibly practice social distancing throughout the game drive and if meals are served.

 

Communal Areas:

·      Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the camps and soap and individual hand towels will always be available in public bathrooms.

·      At the Bar: The barmen will wear facemask and gloves to handle drinks and snacks and serve on a tray. 

·      A staff member is assigned to regular sanitization duties of surfaces (including door handles, metallic surfaces, counters, etc).

·      Social distancing rules apply, and seating will be arranged to ensure at least one-meter distance between guests.

·      Dining:  All surfaces will be disinfected after each meal.

·      Pool water (where available) will be monitored to maintain a chlorine level between 1 to 3 parts per million and a pH level between 6.8 and 7.4 in order to provide a virus free experience.

·      In sitting areas and on sofas:

·      Guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Around campfire: guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Disposable towels and bins will be placed in strategic areas.

·      In harmony with our vision, our team has had a lot of fun working hard together to put our SOPs in place to ensure the safety of our guests. We are now ready to warmly welcome our guests back to Tanzania.

 

“Nature took a rest from the usual and is now more exquisite”

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