Tanzania's Southern Circuit safaris, tours & holiday packagesThe southern parks: for second-time visitors to Tanzania
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The southern parks present a wide range of experiences, from savannah to wetlands, walking safaris to river experiences
The south of Tanzania is mostly a destination for the second-time visitor. 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 Dar, 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. The Selous Game Reserve to the south of Mikumi is great for river experiences on the Rufiji River and also for walking safaris. Udzungwa Mountains National Park is all about forests, waterfalls and weird endemics, while Ruaha National Park just west of Iringa is the gem of the southern circuit.
Ruaha and the Selous would be such good first-time safari destinations but with the Serengeti easier to get to, it's hard to ignore the north if you haven't seen it. If you love walking and an authentic safari experience then go to the south of Tanzania and combine Ruaha with the Selous and Katavi.
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Ruaha is a remarkable dry season park and because of its remote location, it has very little tourist traffic. You can join one of our walking safaris to enjoy areas where hardly anyone ever goes. Ruaha is also part of the so-called Tabora species divide – the latitude line where Southern African species meet East African species. It's the only place, for instance, where you find lesser and greater kudu, roan and sable antelope all in one park, and it's the southernmost habitat for Grant's gazelle, although it's probably a sub-species. We recommend as much time as possible in Ruaha, especially now that the southern swamps and wetlands have been included, doubling the size of the park and making it the biggest in Tanzania. Ruaha would definitely be our first recommendation, followed by the Selous and then Saadani. Mikumi is hardly worth a visit unless you're stuck in Dar es Salaam and you only have a night or two, but even then it would be more rewarding to fly to Ruaha or the Selous.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Tanzania Southern Circuit
A Grumeti safari is rewarding throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Grumeti Game Reserve is during the migration months of June and July - when massive herds of wildebeest arrive to cross the crocodile-infested Grumeti River… go there.
The best time to visit Arusha National Park is from June to October, during the dry season. It is easier to spot the wildlife - since they normally gather around the waterholes, rainfall is minimal, vegetation is not too thick and mosquitos… go there.
Rubondo Island National Park is best visited in the dry months of July to February. The jungle is less humid - however, there are also less mosquito’s and the temperatures are not as extreme. go there.
June to August during the dry season, is the best time to visit Saanane Island National Park. This season is great for game drives, picnic as well as rock hiking. go there.
June to October is the best time to visit Mkomazi National Park. During the dry season - when the wildlife viewing is at its prime. go there.
July to October, during the dry months - is the best time to track the chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park. Chimpanzees can be found easily on the low mountains slopes. go there.
June to October is the best time to visit Mikumi National Park. During the dry season, the wildlife concentrate around waterholes and rivers - making it easier to spot them. go there.
There is no need to go overboard with fitness preparation for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. However, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a physical undertaking, so you should prepare yourself accordingly with a Kilimanjaro training program. Being in… go there.
Reviews on our Tanzania Southern Circuit safaris
Discover Africa and Carel has put in such an effort for us to experience the annual wildebeest migration, meticulous planning and accurate predictions with logical and the best accommodation options both sides of the Mara River guaranteed us…
Jates and Hil Oettle
from South Africa
I just wanted to thank Discover Africa and Karl Svendsen - the safari was great - we saw many more animals than expected including cheetah, leopard, many lions and even a three-day old elephant calf. Additionally, we had our own hippo…
We had the most wonderful time in Tanzania. We left yesterday and miss it already. We saw the big 5 and felt super lucky to see the lions and leopard with their kill. Our guide was also wonderful. Thank YOU for planning our trip of a…
I am copying Megan in case she is back from maternity leave (congrats Megan!). We are having an absolutely WONDERFUL trip. It has far exceeded our expectations! Everything has been perfect, the accommodations, transport, tours, etc. We…
from South Africa
We could not have been more pleased with "Discover Africa." Our agent, Megan W, was knowledgeable, accommodating and highly responsive. She asked pertinent questions, listened carefully to our needs, then organized a personalized tour- the…
from United States of America
We had a wonderful experience with the Discover Africa team on our trip to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Due to unforeseen circumstances we needed to head down early and their team were most helpful in arranging exciting new options for us while…
from South Africa
“Since the...early 90s when Mark and Milly Houldsworth sat down to design this little camp, it's been much copied, but never equalled. We wanted our camp to be effortlessly comfortable - a home from home, where you wanted for nothing. But… read more
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