Southern Circuit Zone
The National parks of southern Tanzania have earned a reputation. The remote location, limited bed space, and boundless bushes ensure that the safari experience of Tanzania’s southern land remains a true adventure. Even though, many travellers are overlooking the southern parks in favour of the northern and more popular ones. However, southern Tanzania safari circuit is worth much more consideration by those who are keen for a more remote safari destination.
At Kili Footprints we offer special packages to Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi National Park, Ruaha and Udzungwa National park. Most of our Southern Tanzania safaris are starting from Dar es Salaam and they are often combined with a Zanzibar beach holiday!
Mikumi National Park
Located only 283 km from Dar-es-Salaam, this park was established to protect the environment and resident animals and is an important educational center for students of ecology and conservation.
The Mikumi flood plain is the main feature of the park along with the bordering mountain ranges. It has a landing strip and is home to, among others, the buffalo, zebra, giraffe, lion, wild dogs, python, monitor lizard, hartebeest, wildebeest, elephant hippo, impala, warthog, eland and antelope. Birds include the hammerkop, saddle-bill stork, and the malachite kingfisher. The vegetation is made up of woodland, grassland and swamps.
Ruaha National Park
With its 13,000 sq. km, Ruaha is the second largest Tanzanian park and the world’s largest elephant sanctuary. The park represents a transition zone where eastern and southern African fauna and flora overlap. It is the northernmost example of Miombo woodland, common in central Africa, and the most southern protected area in which Grant’s gazelle, lesser kudu and striped hyena are found. To be able to see kudu, roan and sable antelope in the same park is one of the special features of Ruaha.
In the dry season, the river is an excellent place for observing large numbers of animals such as lions, leopards, hunting dogs, giraffes, waterbucks, elands and warthogs. Thousands of birds flock Ruaha on their annual migration, and 465 bird species have been sighted in the park. The park’s residents include kingfishers, plovers, hornbills, green wood hoopoes, bee-eaters, sunbirds and egrets.
Selous Game Reserve
This pristine reserve, a World Heritage Site since 1982, comprises an area of 55,000 sq. km, covering about 6 % of Tanzania’s land surface. Larger than Switzerland, it is the world’s largest game reserve and second only to Serengeti in its concentration of wildlife. It is also the sanctuary of the biggest elephant herd in the world, about 32,000 elephants live in the reserve.
It is named after the British hunter and writer Frederick Courteney Selous, who was killed during the First World War in the Beho Beho region. The reserve is part of the 75,000 square km Selous ecosystem and offers beautiful landscapes for animal spotting!
Udzungwa Mountains National Park
In Udzungwa only trekking expeditions are possible. Without the noise of cars, this park offers a unique chance to experience true wilderness. The park hosts six species of primates, two of them are of endemic forms – the red colobus monkey and the sanje crested mangabey, discovered in 1979. The large populations of elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, wild dog and sable antelope resides primarily on the side of the mountain range which is presently inaccessible.
Other highlights of this park includes the spectacular mountain scenery with rain forest, wooded grasslands, rock faces, rivers and waterfalls. The fall of the Sanje River drops 170 m through the forest and into the valley below. Additionally, a mountain plateau with views of over 100 km, much of it across a mosaic of mountain forest and grassland. This park is for the adventurous ones!