Once we are out from the headquarters, our car was besieged by tsetse flies, which will last until 12 o’clock. We see the usual suspects, impalas, zebras, giraffes. Many giraffes. The poor are plagued by the terrible tsetse flies. The path leads us out of the forest in the alluvial plains. Around the lake are legions in Hippos, birds of prey use the trees as a hide, we see a Snake Eagle, several African Fish Eagle, a White-backed Vulture and even a Palm Nut Vulture (Hooray, a new species), unfortunately through the window, the images from the Palm Nut Vulture are very bad. It is impossible to open a window, we are under siege, 40, 50 tsetse flies hanging from each side on the hood, everywhere. We see an Martial Eagle, also many storks, Saddle Billed Stork, Yellow Billed Stork, Open Billed Stork, Ground Hornbills, Hadada and Sacred Ibises, Egrets, Lapwing, alas, it is a bird paradise.
Throughout the day we see no other car. Only animals, animals, animals. And of course, tsetse flies. Stretching along the lake there are old tsetse fly traps on the ground around, nobody maintain sthem. After 11 clock it is a little bit better. We turn around and drive back the way we came, we can get out of the car on a place, where the Hipppos march diligently out from the water. Again, there is much show, yawning, teeth showing, it is a coming and going. Only the light at noon is not so optimal. We return to the campsite to have breakfast. Then it goes on, at the afternoon we drive to the Ikuu River, the second highlight of Katavi National Park.
The road is blocked by a fallen tree so that’s 80 kilometers before we reach the River. At the bridge there is a lot to see, monster crocodiles, determined they are 5 feet long. We make our way to Lake Chada, we see a few elephants. Time is running out and we turn around, the Hippo Pool Ikuu Ranger Post is waiting yet. Nothing can prepare one for the sight of this. 50, 60 hippos in the mud and jaw to jaw, back to back, despite the narrowness of it it is peacefully, only now and then one of the animals is rolling around to cover again with cooling mud, it looks great.
We are accompanied by an armed ranger, we are at the pool, actually it is a source. The ranger tells us that this was still nothing, in high season there are 200 or more Hippos in the mud. Unfortunately we have to gop back, on the bridge we have a last short stop.
Then again, 40 km tsetse fly infested road wait for us, and we agree that the Katavi is a beautiful park where we would love to spend 4, 5 or more days, but the tsetse flies makes it impossible for us to stay. And so we decide to continue on the next day to Lake Tanganyika.
Km 201, 30°, sunny, hot TSH 15 000 at the Riverside Camp Site Sitalike, Katavi National Park
Tags: Sitalike, Katavi National Park, Riverside Camp Site, Ikuu River, Hippo Pool, tsetse flies, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Chada