In complete contrast to the country’s northern half, Southern Tanzania is well off any kind of tourist radar – and is all the better for it. Worth serious consideration for keen or avid safari-goers, the southern parks are massive, some twice the size of Wales.
Top on the list of southern parks to visit, the mighty Selous Game Reserve is one of Africa’s largest game reserves, and one of the most varied. It has the world's largest number of big game, with thousands of elephant, 200,000 buffalo and about 2,000 rhinoceros, as well as a huge concentration of hippo, crocodile and wild dog. The Rufiji River is the lifeblood of the park and is where you’ll see an astonishing variety and selection of birdlife. In the sandy river beds elephants dig for water, and lions lie in the shade of palm trees. The Selous is our top tip for a very exclusive, varied safari experience, covering everything from game drives, to boat safaris, bush walks, fishing and even sleep outs under the stars.
Contiguous with Selous, Mikumi National Park is ideal for those who want a safari a little closer to the capital. Tanzania’s fourth-largest park and the most accessible from Dar es Salaam, Mikumi offers year-round wildlife adventures – perfect for those on a strict timeline. Set between mountains, the park’s floodplains and open vistas attract plenty of good game, including herds of buffalo and elephant, prides of lion, and the occasional lone leopard.
A name that makes safari aficionados go misty-eyed and start dreaming of the bush, Ruaha National Park is perhaps Tanzania’s most wild. During the dry season months, the Ruaha offers game viewing to rival anywhere in Africa.
There are mighty herds of buffalo stalked by slinking prides of lion, leopard coughing in the night and elephants liable to stroll into camp just as you’re settling down for tea. A vast area with towering baobab trees, sandy rivers that turn to torrents when the rains come, and with a foot in both East and Southern Africa, Ruaha is a place of adventure - so expect the unexpected.