Tanzania upside down

2013-02-04 09:40

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

It is quite hard to argue that Northern Tanzania is a first grade safari destination. But while the main stream of the country’s safari tourism follows the great migration and the Big Five into the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, the unexplored gems are waiting in the south of Tanzania

The call of game-rich wildernesses with no other vehicles in sight is music to the ear of safari purists and provides a real alternative to the attractions of the north.

From Dar es Salaam the first stop is Mikumi National Park, the 3 230 km² wilderness is known for large buffalo herds and an elephant population of approximately 2 000 animals. The vast Mkata Plains are somewhat reminiscent of the Serengeti. The treeless expanse makes it easy to view zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, hyena and lion. A four-hour drive on the A7 from Dar es Salaam makes Mikumi one of Tanzania’s most accessible parks and a popular starting point for the Southern Safari Circuit.

In the south Mikumi borders the biggest wildlife conservation area in Africa. The Selous Game Reserve is a true wilderness that still has a healthy population of the endangered African wild dog as well as lion and a diversity of antelope. In an area almost the size of Switzerland you will come across miombo woodlands, open grassland and savannah. With very few permanent structures the Selous has an authentic wilderness feel that will appeal to intrepid nature lovers.

The next stop in the circuit is Ruaha National Park, but before you make your way to Tanzania’s second largest park, a stop in the Udzungwa Mountains is well worth the detour. The magical mountain forest is a biodiversity hotspot full of colourful birds, butterflies and monkeys. A hike up to the Sanje Waterfall will give you the best of this wonderland in about half a day.

By the time you get to Ruaha National Park you are deep into the Tanzanian wilderness.

On the border of two different ecosystems Ruaha offers a unique mix of species. Here roan and sable antelope occur alongside greater kudu and Grant’s gazelle. The park is overflowing with life and diversity and the best thing is that you will not have to share the sightings with other tourists. The 10 000 km² wilderness is filled with lion, wild dog, leopard, cheetah, 10 000 elephants and 450 bird species.

The Great Ruaha River is the life-giving element of the park and attracts many of the large mammals.

Ruaha is as far as most travellers will go. However, the most adventurous can venture into a park that is as close to pre-colonial Africa as you will ever be. Due to its inaccessibility Katavi National Park is in a completely pristine state with no other travellers to spoil your experience.

When the dry season reaches its end, the hippos are piled into the few remaining puddles and the fights among the bulls are a spine-chilling sight.

Safaris in southern Tanzania take you far off the beaten track and this luxury comes at a cost. The distances are far and western conveniences are not always available. If you want to explore these beautiful wilderness areas, but don’t have the courage or the kit to take it on by yourself you can book accommodated safaris to southern Tanzania.

For more information on safaris in Tanzania, visit www.tanzania-experience.com.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.


24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.