The Ultimate Guide to Tanzania's Southern Safari Circuit

Going on a Southern Tanzania safari
A herd of elephants

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa’s untouched wilderness? Southern Tanzania offers an unparalleled safari experience, teeming with diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. 

We recommend the gems of Southern Tanzania Safari to anyone seeking to avoid the crowds and enjoy the more exclusive adventure of a Southern Tanzania safaris. But which are the best destinations to visit during a South Tanzania Safari? What is the best time to visit? And which are the best safari lodges and tented camp

In this article, we will cover all this and much more. But first, let us share how you can reach us to start planning your Southern Tanzania Safari tour. 

Book Your Southern Tanzania Safari Tour Package With Us

How to book your South Tanzania safari
A lion resting atop a tree

Southern Tanzania is choc full of pristine wilderness areas waiting to be discovered. Beyond their remote and truly wild nature, these parks are home to both rare and endangered animal species. If you’re planning a romantic getaway with your partner, a thrilling adventure, or simply want a tranquil holiday then these parks are the perfect destination.

For the best South Tanzania safari tours, we invite you to contact us via phone or WhatsApp at +254-704-532-105. You can also connect with us via email at safarioffers@kenyaluxurysafari.co.uk or safarioffers@ajkenyasafaris.com.

Discovering the Southern Tanzania Safari Experience

Exploring the Southern Tanzania safari circuit
Elephants at Ruaha National Park

Southern Tanzania harbors authentic and uncrowded safari adventures, appealing to the adventurous spirit in us all. Its remote and wild nature is the perfect setting for an immersive experience in the African wilderness, far from the busy tourist trails of the northern parks. A Tanzania safari package unveils the rich wildlife and stunning landscapes, marking Southern Tanzania as an undiscovered gem in East Africa.

This region offers a unique and refreshing alternative to the more popular northern parks, such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. In the southern Tanzania safari circuit, you’ll find the pristine Ruaha National Park, Nyerere National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi National Park, and the Mahale Mountains. Lake Tanganyika lies in the southwest of Tanzania and can be accessed via the southern safari circuit.

Each one of the southern parks teems with life and offers unparalleled game-viewing opportunities. With fewer visitors and less development, Southern Tanzania provides an intimate and exclusive safari experience that seasoned safari goers will cherish.

The Allure of Southern Tanzania

South Tanzania safari - exploring the pristine South Tanzania Parks
Mom and baby elephant quenching their thirst

Southern Tanzania’s vast, untouched wilderness captivates visitors, enabling a true immersion in the African bush. As you explore the region, you’ll encounter diverse wildlife and remote national parks that are far from the typical tourist trails.

This means that the southern safari destinations offer a more exclusive and intimate experience than their northern counterparts, making them the perfect choice for those seeking a unique Tanzania safari package.

Southern Tanzania boasts an incredible variety of landscapes, from the dry savannahs of Ruaha National Park to the lush wetlands of Nyerere National Park. These diverse ecosystems are home to an astonishing array of animal and plant species, many of which are unique to the region.

The southern safari circuit also boasts some of the best-guided walks in Africa. It gives you the chance to get up close and personal with nature in a way that’s not possible in more crowded northern parks.

Key Destinations: Ruaha National Park & Selous Game Reserve

Best National Parks on the Southern Tanzania safari circuit
Lion cubs in Ruaha National Park

Two national parks emerge as must-see attractions among the many in Southern Tanzania: Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve. These parks are the epitome of untamed Africa offering unique wildlife experiences and stunning landscapes that will leave you in awe.

Ruaha National Park

Southern Tanzania safari to Ruaha National Park
The gigantic baobab trees of Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park, one of Tanzania’s largest national parks, is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife, including:

  • Lions
  • Buffaloes
  • Zebras
  • Giraffes
  • Impalas

The park’s remote location and vast landscapes make it the perfect destination for those seeking a truly off-the-beaten-path safari experience.

Ruaha River, alongside other rivers such as Mzombe, Jongomero, and Mwagusi is the park’s lifeline providing much-needed drinking water for the wild animals. In the dry season, elephants mine dry riverbeds in search of precious drink. Ruaha River serves as an important habitat for the hippos, crocs, and fish that call Ruaha National Park home.

Selous Game Reserve

Boat ride on a Southern Tanzania safari
Boat ride on Rufiji River, Selous Game Reserve

The breathtaking Selous Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its undisturbed ecological habitats. The remote park, the largest game reserve in Africa, has since been split into two to now include the Nyerere National Park.

Nevertheless, Selous Game Reserve remains one of Africa’s largest protected areas hosting incredible wildlife, such as lions, hippos, crocodiles, and a plethora of aquatic birds. It’s home to the largest concentrations of the critically endangered African wild dog.

Rufiji River, the largest in East Africa, meaders through Selous Game Reserve and Nyerere National Park facilitating the survival of wild animals in the two parks. Selous offers unique activities like walking safaris and boat trips, providing you with a well-rounded and diverse experience.

Other Attractions on the Southern Safari Circuit: Mikumi National Park

Mikumi National Park

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Giraffes in Mikumi National Park

Bordering Selous Game Reserve to the South, Mikumi National Park is about 4-5 hours from Dar es Salaam on the route to Ruaha National Park, Udzungwa Mountains, and Kitulo. This remote park is superbly scenic sporting scenic floodplain grasslands, vast miombo woodlands, ancient baobabs, and forested areas.

Mikumi National Park is populated by magnificent sable antelopes, elephants, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, blue wildebeest, aggressive buffaloes, and African hunting dogs among others. Besides game viewing, the national park is great for photographic safaris.

Udzungwa Mountains

Udzungwa Mountains Safari Southern Tanzania
Sanje Waterfalls, Udzungwa Mountains

This national park is a bird lover and nature enthusiast’s paradise. In contrast to other national parks that sport open plains and grasslands, the Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a lush region showcasing over 2,500 plant species.

Here, you can find over 250 bird species, 12 primate species, as well as butterflies, amphibians, and reptiles. In the wilder western side of the park, you can find elephants, buffaloes, greater kudu, sable, bushbucks, lions, hyenas, leopards, and many others.

Wildlife Wonders of Southern Tanzania

Encountering wildlife on a South Tanzania safari
A giraffe in the park

Indeed, Southern Tanzania is a paradise for wildlife lovers. Its parks and reserves boast an impressive array of animal species, from the iconic “Big Five” to lesser-known but equally fascinating creatures. The region’s unique position at the junction of East African and Southern African eco-regions contributes to the incredible diversity of wildlife found here.

Unforgettable wildlife encounters abound in the southern safari circuit. From tracking elusive leopards in Ruaha National Park to observing the fascinating behavior of the African wild dog in Selous Game Reserve, you’ll be amazed by the rich array of species that call this region home.

Unique Species & Eco-Regions

Unique animal encounters on South Tanzania safari
The rare Abbott’s Duiker

Southern Tanzania’s unique convergence of East African and Southern African eco-regions distinguishes it from other safari destinations. This fascinating convergence results in a rich variety of wildlife species that are found in very few places the world over. As you explore the region, you’ll encounter rare and endemic species such as:

  • Abbott’s Duiker
  • Crested Barbet
  • Dik-dik
  • Banded Mongoose
  • an array of butterflies, chameleons, lizards, and frogs

This incredible biodiversity is a testament to the pristine nature of the national parks and reserves in South Tanzania. 

Untouched by mass tourism and development, these wilderness areas offer a sanctuary for countless species and provide a rare glimpse into Africa’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned safari goer or a first-time visitor, the wildlife wonders of Southern parks will leave a lasting impression on you.

Notable Wildlife Encounters

Rare Wildlife Encounters on a Southern Tanzania safari
Wild dogs of Nyerere National Park

Home to amazing wildlife encounters, South Tanzania ensures an unforgettable safari experience. Perhaps the most iconic of these is the sighting of African wild dogs, an incredibly rare and endangered species. These highly social canines live in packs and can be found in the wilderness areas of Southern parks, offering an opportunity to observe their fascinating behavior.

Leopards, lions, and primates are also among the notable wildlife encounters you can expect in South Tanzania parks. The elusive leopard is a master of stealth and agility, while the powerful lion is a symbol of Africa’s untamed beauty.

In the mountainous regions of Mahale and Udzungwa, you can even embark on a thrilling chimpanzee trekking adventure, providing an up-close and personal encounter with our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.

Activities & Adventures in Southern Tanzania Safaris

Boat Safari Southern Tanzania
Boat tour in the mighty Rufiji River

Safari tours in Southern Tanzania extend beyond just wildlife viewing, presenting a world of adventure and excitement to delve into. With a vast array of activities available, you’ll never be short of thrilling experiences to enjoy, including:

  • Game drives
  • Walking safaris
  • Boat trips
  • Fly-camping

Catering to both adrenaline junkies and nature enthusiasts, South Tanzania has something for everyone. Here are some activities you can enjoy:

  • Explore the awe-inspiring landscapes of Ruaha National Park on a game drive
  • Venture deep into the wilds of Nyerere National Park on a walking safari
  • Consider camping in the Udzungwa Mountains for a unique experience
  • Embark on a chimpanzee trekking adventure in the Mahale Mountains

Whatever your interests and passions, South Tanzania is sure to provide an unforgettable Tanzania safari tours experience, especially when it comes to southern Tanzania safaris.

Game Drives, Walking Safaris & Boat Trips

Walking safari on a Southern Tanzania safari
Guided walking safari

Wildlife viewing in South Tanzania takes various forms, ensuring that your safari is as varied and exciting as possible. Game drives are the classic safari activity, allowing you to cover vast distances in search of the region’s incredible wildlife. From the open savannahs of Ruaha National Park to the wetlands of Nyerere National Park, game drives offer encounters with varied species in their habitat.

For those who prefer a more intimate and immersive experience, a walking safari provides the opportunity to explore the African bush on foot. Accompanied by expert guides, of course. A walking safari allows you to truly connect with nature, offering a unique perspective on the region’s diverse ecosystems.

Boat trips in Nyerere National Park and Selous Game Reserve, provide a different vantage point from which to observe the region’s aquatic wildlife and birdlife. Drifting along the Rufiji River, you’ll have the chance to spot hippos, crocodiles, and a plethora of aquatic birds, making for a truly memorable experience.

Unique Experiences: Fly-camping & Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee Trekking Safari Southern Tanzania
A chimpanzee

Southern Tanzania offers extraordinary adventures with unique experiences sure to create lasting memories for those seeking them. Fly camping, particularly in Ruaha National Park is an exhilarating activity that involves camping in remote locations.

It provides a thrilling opportunity to immerse yourself in the African wilderness. Far from the crowds and distractions of everyday life, this style of camping allows you to fully appreciate the beauty and serenity of the natural world.

Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains National Park is another unforgettable experience that is unique to South Tanzania. This activity takes you deep into the heart of the forest in search of wild chimpanzees.

Your trek through dense foliage and rugged terrain will be rewarded with up-close encounters with these intelligent and social animals. It’s an experience that will stay with you long after your safari is over.

Accommodation & Safari Styles in Southern Tanzania

Where to Stay while on South Tanzania safari
Rufiji River Camp

A wide range of accommodations and safari styles are available in Southern Tanzania, catering to all tastes and budgets. From luxurious lodges and tented camps to more rustic and adventurous options, you’ll find the perfect base to explore this incredible region. With so many options available, it’s easy to customize your Tanzania safari package to create the perfect experience for you.

In addition to the variety of lodging options, Southern Tanzania also offers tailored safari experiences to cater to individual interests and preferences. 

Whether you’re planning a family safari, a romantic honeymoon, or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, you’ll find customizable itineraries that will ensure your trip is truly unforgettable. From private game drives and guided walks to exclusive use of a safari camp or lodge, the possibilities are endless.

Lodging Options

Where to stay on a South Tanzania safari
Roho ya Selous Camp

Southern Tanzania offers a diverse range of lodging options to suit every taste and budget. For those seeking the ultimate in luxury, you’ll find opulent lodges and tented camps that provide the perfect blend of comfort and adventure. 

These upscale accommodations often come with a host of amenities, such as swimming pools, gourmet dining, and spa services, ensuring that your safari experience is as indulgent as it is exciting.

For travelers looking for a more rustic and authentic experience, Southern Tanzania also boasts a number of bush camps and budget-friendly accommodations. These options provide a more intimate connection with nature, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the African wilderness. From basic camping to more comfortable tented camps, there’s something to suit every preference and budget.

Tailored Safari Experiences

You can customize a Southern Tanzania safari to align with your individual interests and preferences, ensuring that your trip is as unique and memorable as possible. 

From family safaris that cater to the needs of travelers with children, to romantic honeymoon safaris designed for couples seeking a secluded and intimate experience, there’s a tailored safari option for everyone.

For adventure seekers, Southern Tanzania offers a range of thrilling activities and experiences that can be incorporated into your safari itinerary. Whether you’re interested in tracking elusive predators on foot, camping under the stars, or embarking on a chimpanzee trekking adventure, you’ll find a range of customizable options that will turn your safari dreams into reality.

Planning Your Southern Tanzania Safari

Remote Safari Southern Tanzania
The beautiful and tranquil wilderness of Ruaha

Many factors should be considered when planning your Southern Tanzania safari. These include the best time to visit, how to get there, and the safari costs and budget considerations. With the right information and a little preparation, you can ensure that your trip is a truly unforgettable experience.

Researching and comparing various safari packages will help you find the ideal Tanzania safari package that fits your needs and budget. Whether you’re a repeat safari goer or a first-time traveler, Southern Tanzania offers a wealth of opportunities for adventure and discovery that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

When to Go: Seasons & Wildlife Viewing

When to a embark on a South Tanzania safari
Impalas in Sealous Game Reserve

For optimal game viewing, the dry season is the best time to visit any national park in Southern Tanzania. This season typically runs from June to October. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making it ideal for game drives and other safari activities. The dry season also sees animals congregate around water sources, increasing your chances of encountering a wide variety of species.

It’s also worth considering the wet season, which occurs from November to May. While some lodges and camps may close during this time due to heavy rainfall, those that remain open often offer lower rates and fewer crowds. The wet season also brings lush vegetation and an abundance of migratory birds, making it a great time for bird-watching enthusiasts and photographic safaris.

Getting There: Accessing Southern Tanzania’s Safari Circuit

Several options are available to access Southern Tanzania’s parks and reserves. The most common route is to fly into Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, and then take a connecting flight or drive to your chosen destination. There are several airlines that operate flights from Dar es Salaam including Coastal Aviation, Auric Air, and Safari Air Link.

For those who prefer to drive, some parks, such as Selous Game Reserve, are easily accessed by road from Dar es Salaam. However, keep in mind that driving times can be long, and road conditions may be challenging during the wet season.

For parks like Katavi and Mahale Mountains, located in more remote areas, you have to catch one of the twice-weekly flights from Dar es Salaam or Arusha. These flights will enable you to see some of Tanzania’s most majestic and untouched places.

Safari Costs & Budget Considerations

Consider the associated costs when planning your Southern Tanzania safari. The cost of a safari can vary widely depending on the type of accommodation, the length of your stay, and the activities you choose to participate in. On average, a mid-range safari with lodging in Southern Tanzania can cost around $350 to $400 per person per day, while high-end luxury safaris can range from $600 to $700 per person per day.

To ensure you get the best value for your money, it’s important to research the various safari packages available and compare prices. Keep in mind that park fees, accommodations, and transportation are just some of the expenses you’ll need to factor into your budget. For budget-conscious travelers, planning ahead and booking your safari in advance can help secure the best deals on flights, accommodations, and park fees.

Summary

Southern Tanzania offers a truly unforgettable safari experience, teeming with diverse wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and thrilling activities. 

Its remote nature sets it apart from the northern parks, providing an exclusive and captivating experience for all intrepid explorers and seasoned safari-goers alike. With so much to discover and explore, a Southern Tanzania safari is an adventure that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Kenya Takeaways: 

  • Explore Southern Tanzania’s untouched wilderness for an exclusive safari experience!
  • Witness incredible wildlife wonders with unforgettable encounters and unique ecosystems!
  • Enjoy thrilling game drives, walking safaris, boat trips & fly camping – tailored to your individual interests & budget considerations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Next, we look at common questions about planing a safari to Southern Tanzania. 

Is Tanzania or South Africa Better for Safari?

Tanzania is the perfect choice for travelers looking for classic African scenery and an unforgettable safari experience. It has the highest wildlife densities in Africa, making it ideal for seeing predator-prey interactions and other great animals like elephants and hippos. South Africa is a great choice for a cosmopolitan city visit or vineyard tour, but Tanzania safaris are the better choice for a relaxing beach vacation or gorilla trekking.

Is Safari Cheaper in Kenya or Tanzania?

Experience the cheapest safari possible in Kenya! Both budget-friendly and luxurious lodgings are far more affordable in Kenya than in Tanzania, making it the optimal destination for a cost-effective African adventure. You can enjoy the beauty of the African savannah without breaking the bank. 

Is Tanzania Safari Worth It?

Yes, Tanzania safaris are absolutely worth it! The parks are endowed with incredible scenery and animals. The Serengeti National Park offers one of the most amazing wildlife-viewing experiences in the world. You won’t regret it!

What Is the Best Time To Visit Southern Tanzania for Wildlife Viewing?

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Southern Tanzania’s wildlife by visiting during the dry season, from June to October!

How Can I Access Southern Tanzania’s Parks and Reserves?

Fly into Dar es Salaam and you’re on your way to exploring Southern Tanzania’s majestic parks and reserves! Enjoy an exciting adventure as you take a connecting flight or drive to your chosen destination.