The first safari experience is an unforgettable adventure, with breathtaking sunsets, open plains, and the excitement of observing wild animals in their natural habitats. Tanzania has numerous reasons why travelers return to the country repeatedly, and for those on their second safari, southern Tanzania emerges as a prime destination worth revisiting.
Unlike the popular and busy regions like Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, southern Tanzania offers vast expanses of untouched wilderness and wildlife. This secluded area allows visitors to escape the crowds, explore off-the-beaten-path locations, and witness iconic species in lesser-known surroundings. If you’re planning your second safari in Tanzania, consider these essential tips to optimize your experience:
Choose a Quieter Corner: While the northern parts of Tanzania attract many visitors with attractions like the Great Migration, the southern region provides exclusivity and space. Ruaha National Park, covering around 7,800 square miles, is East Africa’s largest protected wildlife area. Despite being home to approximately 10% of the world’s lion population and diverse wildlife, it attracts significantly fewer visitors. Jabali Ridge, a luxurious lodge perched on a rocky outcrop, offers an excellent starting point for adventures in this magnificent wilderness.
Explore the Wetlands: The newly opened Usangu Expedition Camp in the Usangu Wetlands within Ruaha National Park offers a unique opportunity to experience an area that was once a poaching territory. Since its incorporation into the park in 2008, the wildlife in this vast region has flourished. Guests can encounter roan and sable antelopes, ostriches, and big cats while participating in ‘citizen science’ experiences, contributing to wildlife monitoring through camera traps. The camp, located approximately 40 miles from its nearest neighbor, provides six luxury tents, and exciting activities like seasonal boating and walking safaris await.
Embrace Photography Opportunities: One of the advantages of safariing in southern Tanzania is the lack of crowds. Unlike the north, where predators can be surrounded by numerous vehicles, the south offers a more peaceful environment. This not only benefits the animals but also allows avid photographers to capture the magic of East Africa’s flora and fauna. Nyerere National Park, formerly known as the Selous Game Reserve, is a vast wildlife-rich area with just a few scattered camps. Roho ya Selous, one such camp overlooking Lake Nzerakera, offers dedicated photography safaris with specially modified vehicles for optimal photo opportunities.
Take to the Skies or Explore After Dark: The breathtaking plains and escarpments of southern Tanzania become even more majestic from the sky. Hot air balloon safaris are available at Kwihala Camp in Ruaha National Park, offering an opportunity to witness the cinematic beauty of the region as the sun rises over the horizon. Additionally, night drives are permitted, revealing a different cast of creatures that come alive after dark. Usangu Expedition Camp equips their vehicles with thermal cameras and iPads for a unique night safari experience. The camp also offers exceptional culinary delights, making unexpected safari memories.
Start Seeing Double: With the wonders of Ruaha and Nyerere National Parks being UNESCO-listed for their undisturbed beauty and diversity, it’s easy to combine both parks into one remarkable trip. Proximity to each other allows for straightforward connections by road or air, offering diverse terrains, from dense wilderness to vast savannahs. To maximize your safari experience, consider visiting Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park before concluding your Tanzanian adventure at Roho ya Selous in Nyerere National Park.
Plan Your Trip:
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about safari experiences
Question 1: What makes southern Tanzania a great destination for a second safari?
Answer: Southern Tanzania is an ideal destination for a second safari due to its exclusivity, vast wilderness, and opportunities to witness iconic species in lesser-known areas. Places like Ruaha National Park offer a quieter and less crowded experience compared to popular regions like Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Question 2: What wildlife can be seen in Ruaha National Park and Usangu Wetlands?
Answer: Ruaha National Park and Usangu Wetlands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, elephants, and various bird species. The Usangu Wetlands, incorporated into Ruaha National Park, have seen flourishing populations of roan and sable antelopes, ostriches, and big cats.
Question 3: Are photography opportunities better in southern Tanzania compared to the north?
Answer: Yes, photography opportunities are often better in southern Tanzania due to fewer crowds. Unlike the northern regions where predator sightings can attract multiple vehicles, the quieter environment in the south allows photographers to capture the beauty of East Africa’s flora and fauna without disturbances.
Question 4: What unique experiences can be enjoyed at Usangu Expedition Camp?
Answer: Usangu Expedition Camp offers unique “citizen science” experiences, where guests can contribute to wildlife monitoring by setting up camera traps in the vicinity. Additionally, night drives with thermal cameras provide a chance to spot nocturnal creatures, adding to the excitement of the safari adventure.
Question 5: Can both Ruaha and Nyerere National Parks be combined in one trip?
Answer: Yes, combining both Ruaha and Nyerere National Parks in one trip is possible and highly recommended. Their proximity allows for straightforward connections by road or air, offering a diverse safari experience, from dense wilderness in Ruaha to the wildlife-rich savannahs of Nyerere.