Less frequented than the parks in the north, the southern circuit of Selous Game Reserve, Udzungwa Mountains, Mikumi and Ruaha national parks provide a sense of adventure which can be explored by plane, train or 4x4 out of Dar es Salaam. For those with limited time and larger budget we organise tailor made itineraries for the southern circuit usually by air due to the long land journeys to Ruaha and Selous.
The Mikumi National Park is located in Mikumi near Morogoro. It is bordered by the Selous Game Reserve to the south. It is also bordered by the Udzungwa Mountains and Uluguru Mountains. Its landscape compares to that of the Serengeti with the north-west characterized by alluvial plain of the river basin Mkata. Vegetation in this area consists of savannah dotted with acacia, baobab, tamarinds and some rare palm.
Tree climbing lions are found in the Mikumi National Park. Other animals include giraffe, elephants, zebras, impala, eland, kudu, gnu, wildebeests, black antelope, baboons and buffaloes. About 5km from the north of the park are two artificial pools inhabited by hippos. The park also boasts more than 400 species of birds.
Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s largest national park. It is popular for its large population of elephants. Other animal species found at Ruaha are African wild dog and sable antelope. It is also a true birdwatchers paradise – 436 species having been identified. Among the resident birds are different species of hornbill, kingfishers and sunbirds. Migrants’ e.g. the white stork also visit Ruaha. There are lodges in Ruaha and several park-run public campsites.
The habitats in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park include tropical rain forest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland and steppe. The Lohomero peak which incorporates the Udzungwa Mountains and part of the Eastern Arc mountains has a vertical height ranging between 250-2,576 meters. There are more than 400 species of bierds, 2,500 plant species and 6 primate species.
Tourism in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park revolves around hiking and trekking as the park has no roads and is only accessible on foot.
The Selous Game Reserve is located in the south of Tanzania and is one of the largest faunal reserves of the world. Some of the typical savannah animals like elephants, hippopotamus, African wild-dog, Cape buffalo and crocodiles are found in this park in large numbers than in any other game reserve or park. A section of the northern park along the Rufiji River has been designated a photographic zone and is a popular tourist destination.
Several high end lodges and camps mainly situated along the river and lake systems are available in the park. Attractions in the park include the river rufiji which flows into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island and the stiegler gorge – a canyon 100 meters wide and 100 meter deep. Walking safaris are permitted in the Selous and boat trips on the Rufiji are a popular activity.
The Serengeti National Park is situated in the Mara Region and it is Tanzania’s oldest national park. It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white bearded or brindled wildebeests and over 250,000 zebras and for its numerous crocodiles. It is also known for its wealth in other resident wildlife particularly ‘the Big Five’. Serengeti is believed to hold the largest population of Lions in Africa due to the abundance of prey species. Leopards are commonly seen in the Seronera region but are present throughout the park. The African elephant are recovering from population lows due to poaching in the 1980’s and are largely found in the northern regions of the park. Black Rhinoceros are mainly found around the kopjes in the center of the park. African Buffaloes are still in abundance.
The park also boasts of other species including cheetah, gazelles, topi, hyena, impala, eland, African wild dog, waterbuck, baboons, and giraffes. It is also home for about 500 bird species including ostrich, kori bustard, crowned crane, secretary bird, lovebirds, marabou stork, martifal eagle and many other vulture species.
Talk to Safari Expert if you have any question about your travel to Tanzania. Next African Safaris will be happy to assist you.