The Long, Long Road to Katavi

05 June 2011

Somehow we managed to complete the entirety of last season without making the trip in to Katavi by road. Thus we had no idea what a journey we were missing out on. Now we know. We drove into camp on the 15th of May. And the 16th. And the 17th. And the 18th. That is the other way of saying you should fly when you come to Katavi.

Four long days on the road was nowhere near the worst experience we've had, rather it was an adventure in many ways, as we traversed Tanzania from East to West, past the road to Mkomazi National Park, then watching as the Uluguru Mountains loomed ahead, then beside, and eventually behind us.

Somehow we've always been able to appreciate Tanzania's vastness and its plethora of remote wildernesses from the air, but driving to Katavi leaves one at a loss to describe such wilderness. In hindsight we wouldn't wish to start the season any other way. Unfortunately (maybe), driving isn't an option for most people, as they don't have eight extra days to spare, now do they? And frankly, the flight does a terrific job of impressing on Katavi-goers just how deliciously far into the bush (almost into the past) they are going.

After we passed the first mountain range, yet another one loomed ahead, this being the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, and once more we were treated to lovely views of rugged ridges rising up out of the scrubby dry bushland that surrounded us as we ate up the miles and the scenery simultaneously.
Suddenly, we were driving through the middle of Mikumi National Park seeing giraffe, buffalo, elephant, baboons and impala in the woodland savannahs. Relative to the 4 day journey, being in Mikumi park was a mere eye blink, but it put us in the mood to get to Katavi ASAP.

So finally we were here and the work began, thus the silence of the blogs, but with the camp shined up and ready came the time to sit down and write a bit, and to run out with the cameras and shoot some photos. As always, big cats abound and we found this lone male lazing in the morning sun. This park is many things to not so many people, but it does not disappoint. Simply stated, visiting Katavi is a privilege, living here a dream.

A Katisunga Pride male, finishing off a yawn.

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