It is no secret that Tanzania is one of the best Safari destinations you can explore on the African continent as it will offer you nearly everything that you can ever wish for or imagine on an African Safari Holiday. Basing on a thorough analysis of the numerous reviews written about Tanzania by various travelers and Safari experts, Safaribooking.com which is the largest online market platforms for safaris and tours, has declared Tanzania as the best Safari destination in Africa.
The majority of holidaymakers visit what is known as the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit which comprises of the very popular wide Serengeti National Park which is best known for its annual wildebeest migration that included millions of animals; the amazing Ngorongoro Crater a natural habitat to approximately 30,000 animals; Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park.
Although these popular and highly frequented destinations offer very wonderful safari experiences, well the country has a lot more to offers. For those of you interested in a less crowded, more remote, and pristine safari environment but will nearly the same level of game viewing, re recommend that you explore the Southern Tanzania Safari Circuit.
Taking a Tanzania Safari in the Southern-Safari-Circuit
Well, majority of the Safari on this southern safari circuit are focused in two (2) major areas and that is: the Selous game Reserve (which is the largest of this type on the African continent), and the Ruaha National Park (the largest National Park in Tanzania). irrespective of the fact that these two destinations are remote, they can easily be accessed by domestic flights from Dar es Salaam to their respective airstrips.
When compared to the large masses of animals in the Ngorongoro Crater as well as the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti, the Southern Safari circuit without a doubt lacks some of the glory of its Northern Safari Circuit counterpart, however it prides of the genuine African Wilderness Safari beauty. Amazingly, the wildlife in the south is more diverse than in the north, although it is not always easy to see due to the vastness of the area.
The Selous Game Reserve together with Ruaha National Park are not listed among the major tourist areas in the country, and have just a few lodges to offer, what however they have in plenty is the genuine feel of an African wilderness with untamed raw jungles and plains. Exploring the Southern circuit will reward you with a very different but equally rewarding and more remote safari experience.
About Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park covers an area of more than 20,200 square kilometers which makes it the largest National Park in Tanzania, approximate New Jersey’s size. This vast land is home to the largest elephant population in Africa as well as ten percent (10%) of the lions in Africa.
The landscape of Ruaha is scattered with baobabs and tiny palms trees, and it is bordered with distant outcrops of granite or kopjes and rolling hills. Another amazing feature in the park is the seasonal River Ruaha which is the life link of this park. During the wet season, its waters flow across the parks and tumble over rocky boulders. However in the dry season, it turns into a large sand river which attracts very large numbers of wildlife.
Wildlife in Ruaha National Park
The park is located within a transitional zone where the south meets east Africa. Because of this, the wildlife here is uniquely varied. You will be able to best see the rich diversity of wildlife in this park during the guided walking safaris and game drives. Another thing worth mentioning is the very high number of different bird species living within Ruaha. Today more than 550 bird species have been recorded within the park. You will encounter several different antelope species here including the roan, sable and the greater kudu.
Ruaha NP is among the best destinations on the African continent to see the rare and hard to pin down wild dogs which are strange carnivores with odd ears that are saucer-shaped and have a distinctive pattern of white, brown and black on their coats. These can be seen resting in trees in the day or hunting in the plains at night. Leopards too are found within Ruaha, although the numerous lions can best be seen around River Mdonya and River Mwagusi
About Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the largest game reserve in Africa, covering and area of 54600 square kilometers, making it almost three (3) times Serengeti’s size. On the hands, a small portion of approximately 5,200 sq km can be accessed for photographic safaris while the largest areas which is south of River Rufiji is apportioned to private hunting.
This however shouldn’t discourage you as the Selous is generally a beautiful place whose beautiful landscapes that are dominated by a series of lakes and a river that offer great wildlife views. Being a reserve, you can also enjoy fly-camping, walking safaris and boat rides beside the traditional game drives, and all these will widen you spectrum and adventure as you explore this remote wilderness.
Read here on how safe Tanzania is for safari travel.
Wildlife in Selous Game reserve
Because of the hunting activity carried out in the Selous, a number of animals here are panicky and very shy as compared to the more habituated ones in the north. One of the best places to see wildlife is around Lake Nzerakera and Lake Manze found in the eastern part of the reserve. During the boat rides refrain from dipping your hands in the water as these lakes are home to hundreds of crocodiles which are fun observing as you enjoy nice sundowner cocktails. Predators like lions wait by the lake shores to prey on other animals that come to drink at the lake. There are also very large schools of hippos commonly seen on the lake shore.
The walking safaris in the reserve give you an opportunity to encounter the smaller animals within the bushes, including bugs and several bird which you may not be able to see while in the Safari car. It is one of the places where you can see the African wild dogs in packs of more than twenty. Elephants were previously very many in number however due to poaching, their numbers greatly dwindled, although today you can still see a number of them and their young ones in the bushes. Giraffes as well are very plenty here and you can encounter these even on walking safaris.
The one thing that you will not encounter while on Safari in the Selous Game Reserve or Ruaha National Park are crowds of tourists. The two tourist destinations have a few safari camps and lodges which are intimate and smaller in size offering a wilder, off-the-beaten-track ambience. These range from the modern luxury facilities to the rustic budget facilities.