Mpimbwe & the Katavi- Rukwa Ecosystem. Mpimbwe is the traditional homeland of the WaPimbwe peoples. Historically hunters, farmers and honey collectors, they used to live in the area that is now occupied by Katavi National Park. Since the 1970’s large numbers of WaSukuma, agro-pastoralists from northern Tanzania, have settled in Mpimbwe bringing with them large cattle herds of cattle. Mpimbwe is also home to many WaFipa, WaRungwa, WaKonongo and WaNyamwezi families.
Mpimbwe has 22 villages and today the population exceeds 100,000 residents. The main cash crops are maize, rice, sesame, sunflower, peanuts, and tobacco; maize, peanuts and cassava are grown for food crops. Fishing, beekeeping, honey, timber, carpentry, beer brewing and charcoal production are also significant sources of income and for the Sukuma sales of livestock.
Katavi National Park. Created in 1974, and extended in 1998, KNP covers 4471km2 making it the third largest park in the country. Centred around large swampy grasslands, Katavi is well known for its prolific wildlife especially the huge herds of buffalo and large numbers of hippopotami and is an important part of a network of protected areas across the miombo-mopane biome of south-central Africa. Unfortunately tree cutting, agricultural expansion and overgrazing are eroding the park boundaries. The large mammal populations are in decline and poaching remains a significant threat.