Southern Tanzanian Safari Circuit overview:
Accommodation: Ruaha River Lodge – thatched bandas, Katavi Wildlife Camp – tented camp, Kungwe Beach Lodge – tented camp, Rufiji River Camp – tented camp
Destinations: Ruaha National Park – Southern Tanzania, Katavi National Park – Western Tanzania, Mahale National Park – Western Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve – Southern Tanzania
Activities: Game drives, guided nature walks, fishing, motorboat excursions, chimpanzee trekking
Arrive: Dar Es Salaam
Depart: Dar Es Salaam
Southern Tanzania Safari Circuit experience:
This Southern Tanzania safari circuit itinerary will take you off the beaten track, away from the tourist crowds and the sound of other safari vehicles. You will experience prolific wildlife, a night sky that shines with millions of stars and the chance to learn about the various ecosystems that exist in this fascinating part of Tanzania. Swim, snorkel and fish in Lake Tanganyika – the second deepest lake in the world and then experience chimpanzee trekking in Mahale National Park - a wildlife experience of a lifetime.
Days 1 - 3: Ruaha National Park
Depart from Dar es Salaam at 10:30 for the flight to Ruaha National Park. On arrival you will enjoy a game drive en route to the lodge.
Ruaha River Lodge occupies a unique position set around a series of rocky kopjes in a bend of the great Ruaha River. This Tanzania safari lodge blends seamlessly into its surroundings and affords views up and down the river. You can witness great wildlife dramas unfold from the comfort and protection of your self contained natural stone and thatch 'banda'. The lodge has two separate dining and bar areas servicing ten rooms each, thus maintaining a personalized small camp atmosphere. The twenty stone and thatch 'bandas' each have en-suite bathroom and private verandahs.
Huge, ancient baobab trees dot the landscape and Ruaha National Park is rich in wildlife, centered on the Ruaha River. There are not many camps in the park, which means that you will seldom comes across other travellers. Specialist guides will lead you to an abundance of leopard, lion, cheetah and wild dog, as well as several rare species including Greater and Lesser Kudu, Roan and Sable antelopes. Spend your days on morning and evening game drives, or alternatively opt to do a full day game drive with a picnic lunch.
Days 4 - 7: Katavi National Park
Flights to Katavi depart at 0700 on Mondays and Thursdays. The flight takes just over two hours. On arrival you will transfer to Katavi Wilderness Camp and relax in your new surroundings before departing on an afternoon game drive. This Tanzania safari lodge is located in the prime game viewing area of the park, affording you the luxury of watching wildlife from camp. The tents, luxurious in size and furnishings, are set back in amongst the trees that line the floodplain. This provides both shade and camouflage. The exclusive six tents have en suite bathroom and solar lighting.
Katavi National Park, one of Tanzania's most westerly and remote parks, is beautiful and has quality game viewing. With less than 200 visitors a year, this park is truly off the ‘beaten track’. Lake Katavi and Lake Chada boast one of the largest populations of Hippopotami and crocodiles.
Tom Appleby, an experienced zoologist and professional guide, will host your visit and lead game drives and walks. Specially adapted 4WD vehicles are used on game drives, with two-way radio and tiered seating for great visibility. Spend your days on morning and evening game drives, or alternatively opt to do a full day game drive with a picnic lunch.
Days 8 - 10: Mahale National Park
Enjoy breakfast at your Tanzania safari lodge and then you will transfer to the airstrip for the short flight to Mahale. On arrival there is a boat trip on Lake Tanganyika to reach the camp. The afternoon is spent relaxing, with a chance to canoe on Lake Tanganyika, fish and enjoy the bird life.
Kungwe Beach Lodge has ten spacious canvas tents on wooden platforms and with thatched roofs. Each tent is equipped with ensuite bathrooms with hot and cold running water, flush toilets and mosquito nettings. The veranda offers you a splendid view over Lake Tanganyika. In the evenings, candlelit dinners are served in the dining area or directly at the sandy beach.
Mahale is one of the best locations on Lake Tanganyika for fishing, and there are many fish in the area due to effective controlling. Some of the species caught are the Nile Perch and Yellow Belly. This Tanzania safari lodge can provide all the fishing equipment, boat and captain.
Observing the chimpanzees in their natural habitat has to be one of the greatest wildlife experiences and because of the remote location of the park only a few tourists are lucky enough to have this experience. You will spend two days tracking the chimpanzees - though habituated, they are wild animals and this means sightings are not guaranteed and finding them can take a short hike if you are lucky or a strenuous climb to the upper reaches of the mountain and hiking through thick bush without success. There are no roads in the park, only tracks and trails. While hiking through the forest is a fantastic experience you must be prepared for a tough hike and a good level of fitness is required.
In addition to the chimpanzees there are several species of monkey including red colobus and a notable array of colourful forest birds.