Tanzanian park struggles to draw visitors


Katavi, Tanzania — Only 2,350 tourists who included 1,050 residents and 150 expatriates visited Katavi National Park during 2009/10 fiscal year, which was far below by more than half of the target.

Chief Park Warden, Ignas Gala told visiting Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Ezekiel Maige over the weekend that as a result revenue collection dropped by more than 17 per cent compared to the previous year.

“The global recession affected our tourist arrival target but also poor infrastructure such as roads and Mpanda airport which is 40 kilometres away from the park,” said Mr Gala.

Endowed with rich biodiversity and wild animals including Black Mamba, lions and elephant, Katavi was first made a game reserve in 1911 by German colonialists.

He said that the park which covers an area of over 4,000 hectares and was formerly known as Bismarck’s Hunting Ground, has only four tourist companies offering services, two small hotels outside the park area and two camps.

“We need more investments in hotels and camping areas inside the park. We commend the government for starting to upgrade the main road from Sumbawanga to Mpanda and Mpanda airport,” Gala noted.

He said the park needs to install gates at both ends of the main road cutting across it to check against speeding vehicles which kill wild animals often at night when game wardens are less active.