Safaris to Southern Tanzania

Most of wildlife Safari holidays in Tanzania are organized in the northern part of the country referred to as Northern tourist circuit. This is because almost half of Tanzania’s national parks are located in Northern Tanzania, including Serengeti National Park,Lake Manyara national Park,Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.

Tour operators promote these attractions aggressively due to their proximity to each other and easy accessibility. But while the main stream of the country’s safari tourism follows the great migration and the Big Five into the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, why not consider planning a safari to southern parks ofTanzania?

The unexplored gems in the south of the country are waiting to be discovered. The southern Parks of Tanzania not only offers just the likelihood of encountering most of Africa’s legendary wildlife but the chance of viewing some of nature’s most breathtaking creations. The call of game-rich wildernesses with few vehicles in sight is a plus to the safari purists and provides a real alternative to the attractions of the north.

If you are planning a safari to the southern parks of Tanzania, the first night in the country has to be spend in Dar es Salaam. After Dar es salaam the first stop is Mikumi National Park.This park is a popular starting point for the southern safari circuit. The park has a wide variety of wildlife that are easy to spot and well acclimatised to game viewing.This wilderness is known for large buffalo herds and an elephant population of approximately 3,000 animals. The vast Mkata Plains are somewhat reminiscent of the endless plains of the famous  Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania.The treeless expanse makes it easy to view zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, hyena and lion. It only takes 4 hours to reach Mikumi National Park from Dar es Salaam.

Since Mikumi National Park borders the biggest wildlife conservation area in Africa Selous Game Reserve, the next logical location will be this true wilderness that still has a healthy population of the endangered African wild dog as well as lion and a diversity of antelope. The reserve occupies land almost the size of Switzerland populated by miombo woodlands, open grassland and savannah.Such a large conservation area with very few permanent structures, the Selous has an authentic wilderness feel that will appeal to intrepid nature lovers. Selous is famous for boat safaris on river Rufiji and walking safaris.

From Selous Game Reserve, you will drive to Ruaha National Park, but before you make your way to Tanzania’s largest park, the detour to Udzungwa Mountains en route to Ruaha National Park is well worth.A hike up to the Sanje Waterfall will give you the best of this wonderland in about half a day. Ruaha National Park offers a unique mix of species. Roan and sable antelope occur alongside greater kudu and Grant’s gazelle. The park is overflowing with life and diversity and the best thing is that you will not have to share the sightings with other tourists. The 10 000 km² wilderness is filled with lion, wild dog, leopard, cheetah, 10 000 elephants and 450 bird species.The Great Ruaha River is the life-giving element of the park and attracts many of the large mammals.

After Ruaha, the most adventurous can venture into Katavi National Park. This park is as close to pre-colonial Africa as you will ever be. Katavi National Park is in a completely pristine state with no other travellers to spoil your great experience. When the dry season reaches its end, the hippos are piled into the few remaining puddles and the fights among the bulls are a spine-chilling sight.

Safaris in southern Tanzania take you far off the beaten track and this luxury comes at a cost. It is very exhausting as the distances are far and western conveniences are not always available. If you want to explore these beautiful wilderness areas, it is recommended to book accommodated safaris to southern Tanzania through a tour operator. Due to long distances fly in drive safaris are the most appropriate for visiting the southern parks of Tanzania.