While most of the safari crowd in Tanzania is concentrated on its northern safari circuit, only few lucky ones aware of the best-kept secrets of Tanzanian wilderness head to the unperturbed nature reserves to the south of the country. With availability of limited accommodations in the southern game reserves, southern Tanzania safaris are considered perfect for viewing the undisturbed nature of east Africa.
The southern nature parks are easily accessible from Dar es Salaam, a stunning city on the coast of Tanzania. Light aircraft carrying safari goers fly regularly from Dar es Salaam to the popular wildlife reserves in the southern safari circuit.
Southern safari destinations in Tanzania
Selous Game Reserve
One of the least visited safari parks of Tanzania is one of the hidden jewels of east Africa. Almost 5 percent of Tanzania’s land area is devoted to this fascinating game reserve, situated about 200 km to the west of Dar es Salaam. This huge wildlife conservation area of Africa is nearly four times as large as the world famous Serengeti National Park in the northern safari circuit. The sheer size of Selous game reserve explains why often it is the only destination in the itineraries of most southern Tanzania safaris.
The ecosystem of Selous primarily covers the conservation areas of Mikumi and Kilombero. Selous has the largest concentration of elephants in Tanzania. Its undisturbed wilderness is ideal for the survival of some of the endangered animal species of east Africa including the African wild dogs. Selous is also a paradise for bird watchers. About 350 bird species are found in the game reserve. The Rufiji River flowing through the game reserve is a popular venue for boat safaris. Boat safaris are ideal for bird watching and getting close to the crocodiles and hippos inhabiting the Rufiji River. Game drives in open four-wheeled vehicles combined with the game walks are perfect for viewing the famous residents of the park.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park, another popular safari destination in the southern safari circuit of Tanzania, is home to some of the rare floras and faunas of Africa. Fed by the Great Ruaha River and few smaller rivers and natural springs, there is abundant water supply throughout the year. Lions, cheetahs, elands, giraffes, zebras, impala, leopards, kudu, antelopes, jackals and bat eared foxes are frequently spotted in the wilderness. With more than 500 species of birds living in the park, Ruaha is great for bird watching. The wet season is ideal for bird watching. The largest number of large mammals and predators can be easily viewed during the arid season from May to December.