The southern tourism circuit of Tanzania is a gold mine of wildlife. While not as popular with visitors as the established northern circuit, Tanzania’s southern circuit can still provide you and your family with an experience of a life time in the heart of Africa. One advantage of the southern circuit is that trips can start from Tanzania’s business capital of Dar es Salaam, making flight connection more convenient. It is also less visited compared to its famous cousin in the north. Southern circuit highlights include the great Selous Game Reserve; Ruaha national park, Udzungwa national park; and Mikumi national park near Morogoro town. Some safaris may include flights between the national parks. Key activities here are game drives in open safari vehicles, walking safaris, bird watching, and boat safaris.
Selous Game Reserve
The Selous game reserve is named after the British explorer and conservationist, Fredrick Selous who later died fighting against the Germans during WW1 in the East African Campaign in Tanzania. Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa with a total area of 50,000 km2.
Selous Reserve has great numbers of wild animals such as lions, elephant and buffalos. The reserve provides more safari activities compared to other parks. These safaris include boating safari, walking safari, game drives, camping trips.
The best time to visit Selous Game Reserve is during the dry season (June to October) because many animals gather at the waterholes and the vegetation are much thinner making it easier for tourists and visitors to watch and enjoy the safari experience. For the “birding lovers”, rainy season(January-February) is the most favorable period to sea as many bird species because many birds migrate from dry area to wet areas.
Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National park is the fourth largest national park in Tanzania. It is easily accessible from the city of Dar es salaam, about four-hours’ drive from Dar. Proximity enables many business visitors from Dar es salaam who may not have enough spare time to go north, drive to Mikumi and have an amazing wildlife experience.
You will certainly see the Big Five here at any time of the year. Bird watching is also common here with over 400 bird species found in the park. In addition, Mikumi National park shares boundaries with Selous Game Reserve and Udzungwa National Park so it is perfect for visitors who want to experience a well-planned perfect safari circuit. Connect African Safaris can arrange a specialized tour itinerary for your preferred southern circuit safari.
Udzungwa National Park
Udzungwa is the second largest biodiversity national park in Africa. It is home to a wide range of animals, and considerable number of plants and bird species. Here, you will find over 400 species of birds and a lot of monkeys including the famous Mangabey monkeys only found in Africa and the Iringa Red Colobus also known as the Udzungwa red colobus (only found in this part of Tanzania).
A lot of visitors also take to trekking and hiking activities in Udzungwa national park. One can hike towards the famous Sanje waterfalls.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha is the largest national park in Tanzania. This is no small feat considering the country is blessed with large national parks more than any other country in East Africa. Remember, this is the land of the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro, and the Selous, and Ruaha is the biggest of them all, wow!
It is located in the western part of the Iringa region. Iringa town itself is a hub town for southern circuit tour connections, similar to Arusha town in the north. The name “Ruaha” comes from the famous River Ruaha.During the dry season, (June to October) River Ruaha and other three rivers (Mwagusi, Jongomero and Mzombe) serve as the main source of water for animals and are popular for game-viewing.