Southern Circuit


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Southern Circuit

Southern Tanzania is beautiful, wild, and receives a lower number of visitors compared to the more famous and “popular” northern parks. The roads there are terrible and the distances much greater than around the northern circuit, so many travelers decide to fly from one park to another. Discovering Southern Circuit Safaris in Tanzania: Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve. Tanzania has just about everything you could wish for in an African safari holiday.

The protected areas of southern Tanzania are beautiful, wild, and receive a lower number of visitors compared to the more famous and “popular” northern parks. The roads there are terrible and the distances much greater than around the northern circuit, so many travelers decide to fly from one park to another. The Southern Safari Circuit of Tanzania, on the other hand, features more off-the-beaten-track safari destinations. These are the wilder, less-explored parks of Tanzania. Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve are two of the most sought-after gems in southern Tanzania. The ‘best-kept safari secrets’ of Tanzania, these parks are on the bucket lists of many seasoned safari-goers

The south can also be combined with the Serengeti in the north or linked with the west if time and budget allow. The southern circuit includes parks and reserves that can be visited using Dar es Salaam as a starting point. There’s Saadani National Park north of Daresalam, then two hours to the west the little park of Mikumi on both sides of the highway that meanders down to Iringa and Mbeya and eventually to Zambia or northern Malawi.

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Udzungwa National Park is a lush high-elevation rain forest and a great site for walking and moderate hiking. It is one of thirty-four “World Biodiversity Hotspots” and one of 200 World Wildlife Federation ecoregions of global critical importance. The Udzungwa forest is part of the so-called Eastern Arc, which is a series of mountains ranging from the Southern Highlands through the Uluguru and Usambara mountains northwards to Pare. The forest is home to many indigenous species of plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, butterflies, and insects of which some of species are found nowhere else in the world. Udzungwa is also a unique cultural site for containing caves that have been used in the spiritual traditons and rituals of nearby tribes over many years—these have remained preserved so that one can get a sense of ancient religious traditions upon visiting.

Ruaha National Park, located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 km from Iringa, is the second largest park in Tanzania, covering an area of more than 13,000 km2. The main vegetation types in Ruaha are Miombo woodland, acacia grasslands, and large baobab trees, all which attract diverse number of animals species. Some of the major attractions include large populations of elephants, giraffes, impalas, buffalo, lions, leopards, and hunting dogs. The Great Ruaha River that borders the park in the east, provides habitation for hippopotamus and crocodiles. Ruaha is also a prime destination for birdwatchers, with 436 species that have been identified so far.

Mikumi National Park is bordered to the south by Selous Game Reserve, the two areas forming a unique ecosystem. The vegetation of this area consists of savannah dotted with acacia, baobab, tamarinds, and some rare palm. Mikumi was named a National Park in 1967 and currently has an approximate size of 3,230 km2. Mikumi offers a unique wildlife experience with a large number of herbivores (buffaloes, giraffes, elephants and zebra) and a rich variety of bird species (more than 400) identified. On the hunt for all the herbivores, you will find large crocodiles, and of course lions and leopards.

Selous Game Reserve is the largest fauna reserve in the world, spanning over 55,000 km², almost four times the size of the Serengeti. Selous is considered important enough to be a World Heritage Site in which the lucky few can experience a safari in absolutely wild and unspoiled bush. The reserve was named after Englishman Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist, whose adventure books on Africa became best sellers in Victorian England. Among its unique attractions, the reserve contains one third of all the African hunting dog population in the world. Witness the majesty of large migrations of elephants, get close up with all the Big Five, and even enjoy game fishing while you are here.