Spectacular Southern Tanzania National Parks
Southern Circuit lies near to the southern border of the country, closer to the commercial city Dar es Salaam. The parks provide a very calm atmosphere compared to Northern Circuit Parks. They offer a good variety and density of game, an interesting crossover of eastern and southern Africa species, and plenty of predator action. In addition, open-sided safari vehicles enhance the viewing experience, in contrast to the closed-sided vehicles used in the north. Furthermore, the parks and reserves are huge and offer visitors an uncrowded and more exclusive game viewing experience with few other vehicles and a good sense of the vastness of the African wilderness.
The southern circuit offers a wider range of activities than are available in national parks of the north – as well as the usual daytime game drives, there are walking safaris, boating safaris, fly camping and even mountain trekking to find wild chimpanzees. Southern Circuit national parks and game reserves include: Selous/ Nyerere National Park, Ruaha National Park, Mikumi National Park, Udzungwa Mountains Park, and Saadani National Park.
Selous/Nyerere National Park
The Selous Game Reserve was renamed by the government of Tanzania to Nyerere National Park in 2019. It covers an area of 54,600 square kilometers, making it one of the largest National Parks in Africa. Not only that is a wonderful place for the seasoned safari enthusiast, Nyerere national park offers an amazing introduction to unspoiled Africa.
The park is located about 219 kilometers from the commercial capital city of Dar es salaam and will usually take about 4 to 5 hours drive.
Home to some of Africa’s best walking safaris, boat safaris and fly camping trips, the Selous has the greatest diversity of safari activities of all the Tanzanian national Parks. The boating safaris in particular really set this reserve apart from other Tanzania parks. Both travelling by road or by flight from Dar es Salaam is available. You can also fly directly form Zanzibar.
It was declared as a UNESCCO World Heritage site due to its dramatic landscape and great diversity of wildlife in 1982. It is home to lots of lions and home to the endangered African wild dog and the black rhino. It is easily accessible from Dar es salaam and Zanzibar by flight. In addition to that, there are exceptional accommodations for overnight stay inside and just outside the park.
The largest river in the country, the mighty Rufiji River, crosses through this national park. It divides the park into two sections, the north and the south Selous as was previously known. The northern Selous is exclusively reserved for photographic safaris and this is where we as Connect African Safaris operate. The south side was reserved for wild life hunting blocks and we do not participate in this activity.
The Selous is a great place for bird watching, with over 400 different bird species recorded here. The existence of the lake area, river areas and swamps provide a very good ecosystem for the naturing of birds.
It is estimated that this park may have up to 600 lions, an incredible amount considering the total population of lions in Africa is estimated to have dwindled down to about 32000. Other animals that can be found here are hippos, crocodiles, wildebeests, hyenas, leopards, elands, impalas, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, the African wild dogs, elephants, and antelopes.
Ruaha National park
This park is the largest park in East Africa and is known for its rich flora and fauna. Located in the Western part of Iringa Region, it is the home of large elephant population, with an estimated 12,000 elephants migrating through the greater Ruaha ecosystem each year, 30,000 buffalos, 20,000 zebras and a huge population of lions and leopards. The pack has unbelievable wildlife like sable antelope, grant gazelle, greater Kudu etc. Also surrounded by such amazing Lodges and tented camps as well as flying Camping which offer game viewing over 2000 buffalo flooding the river bed below the tents and lion viewing .The best advised accessibility is by flights due to its driving distance about 9-10 hours from Dar –es- salaam. The easiest way is by charter flights.
Mikumi National park
Is the 4th largest Park in Tanzania and situated in the Southern part of Tanzania near Morogoro town. The park is known for the herds of elephants, pride of Lions, Wild dogs, and a dazzle of Zebras, Giraffes, and more than 300 species of birds. Some of the prominent feature, the man-made hippo pools filled with large group of hippos swimming, crocodiles outside the pool hang around with their mouths open as a way to avoid overheating elephants and their calves drinking from the pool and having a mud bath to cool their body.
You can also sport some of the big five. Hippo pools provide close access to the mud-loving beasts and bird watching along the waterways. Mikumi National Parks shares boundaries with Selous and Udzungwa so it is fantastic for visitors who are ready to explore a well-arranged Tanzania Circuit Safari. There fantastic accommodations, it offers exceptional public campsites, romantic lodges and tented camps in and outside the National Park. Easily accessible from Dar es salaam about 4-5 hours by roads via Morogoro.
Udzungwa Mountains Park
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is the second largest biodiversity National Park in Africa and is located in Morogoro Region. This is a walking only park in terms of access. There are no roads for tour cars here At the Udzungwa waterfalls, one can enjoy hiking and swimming. Without forgetting Sonjo trail which leads to two water falls, hiking along the Miombo vegetation where some rare primates spend most of their day.
Sanje Circuit with 3 water falls trials endowed with butterflies, primates and birds along the lush vegetation. One can get opportunity to see about 10 species of primates that inhibit this park in which four of them cannot be seen elsewhere in the entire World. Others are Sanje Crested Mangabey and the Iringa Red Colubus Monkey. Furthermore over 400 species can be seen.
Without forgetting nice Lodges and tented camps are available inside and outside the Park. Can be accessed by roads from Dar –es- salaam to Mikumi Town then Left turn for Ifakara and Udzungwa Mountains Park about 6-7 hrs. through Chalinze, Morogoro. Can be accessed by Flight- by Air stripes Msolwa and Kilombero.
Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park is Tanzania’s 13th National Park established as a National Park in 2005, as the only National Park bordering the sea covers an area of 1062 km2. It is located between Dar es Salaam (200 km, 4 hours) and Tanga (75km, 3 hours) and borders the mainland coast. The Park is located on the shores of the India Ocean. It is the only place one can see elephants and other animals roam the beaches as well as the Wami River flowing through the Park and habitat of hippos, crocodiles and high concentration of River birds. Activities at Saadani include; Boating safari, walking safaris, game drives, historical tours, cultural experiences and bird watching.
It offers outstanding views of dolphins, humpback whales and green turtles and Roosevelts sable which can only be found in Selous Kenya. Other animals such as red duiker, antelope, wildebeests, zebra buffalos etc. can be sported. The Park is a home to a variable mix of both marine and mainland flora and fauna unlike the other national parks in Tanzania, tourists can combine a safari with a relaxing beach stay in the Park. Saadani’s coast is hot and humid and swimming is pleasant with the ocean’s temperatures. In terms of accommodations it offers exceptional public campsites, romantic lodges and tented camps in and outside the National Park.
Selous /Nyerere Park and Ruaha National Park are accessible by daily light aircraft flights from Dar es Salaam, which makes it very easy to arrange safaris in these parks and also to combine them with Zanzibar Beach Holidays