The National Parks in the Southern Circuit have gradually earned reputation amongst connoisseurs as the best-kept secret on the African safari circuit offering remote, untouched swathes of game-filled wilderness with an exclusive born of isolated access.
Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is located in the north of the Selous Game Reserve in Morogoro region. It is bordered by Uluguru Mountains in the North and Rubeho Mountains to the south-east. The park was extended to border with Selous in 1975 . It was gazetted in 1964 during the construction of Morogoro- Iringa highway . The park shares the eco-system with the Selous Game Reserve, and Kilombero Game Controlled Area. With 3,230 square kilometers coverage is well-known for its population of elephants, giraffes buffaloes, zebras, elands, greater Kudu, wildebeest, roan and sable antelope. Predators include tree-climbing lions (which are in large number), leopards, wild hunting dogs and black-backed jackal.
More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here including Eurasian migrants such as red billed oxpecker, marabou stork and lilac breasted roller, who stays between October and April. There are more interesting bird species in the miombo woodland, for example, shelleys double collared sunbird, pale billed hornbill and violet-crested Turaco as well as violet-backed starling
The surrounding mountain and hills brings compelling natural beauty with addition to superb light, make it a wonderful venue for wildlife photographers.
It is common to see elephants, lions and sometimes giraffes on/along the Tanzania-Zambia highway.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park derives its name from the Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern border. The river provides permanent water in the park and, during the dry season, animal concentration along its banks is extremely heavy. Ruaha National Park is about two to three hours drive from Iringa, a famous town on the Dar – Zambia highway, and covers an area of 12, 950sq km, making it the second largest National Park in Tanzania, after Serengeti.
The park is mainly woodland which provides a different habitat as compared to the popular northern Tanzania plains reserves. Ruaha National Park is famous for its elephant herds and animals that are rarely seen in the northern parks, like the greater kudu and the roan antelope. Other animals that are common include the sable antelope, lesser kudu, lions, leopard, hunting dog, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, warthog, giraffe, bushbuck, and the hippos and crocodiles which inhabit the Ruaha River. The park is also rich in bird life. The best time to visit the park is during the dry season, from May to December, when animals are concentrated along the river.
The Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in the world and has some of the finest virgin bush left in Africa, where the last of the really big-tusked elephants and large-maned lions roam. It supports around one million head of game, is bigger than Switzerland and is a World Heritage site. The Selous is relatively easy to get to – by 4WD it is eight hours drive from Dar – but hard to get around, even though half a dozen airstrips have been constructed by the Game Department. From March to May floods sweep the valley, forcing the game on to the ‘islands’ of higher ground, where elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, crocodile, puku, buck, eland, sable and others concentrate.
The Selous is Africa’s largest Wildlife sanctuary and one of its least known treasures. Covering 21,000 square miles of completely undeveloped land, the Selous is one of the last great tracts of true wilderness left in Africa. Yet very few travellers have seen this remote corner of the continent. The Selous and has some of the finest virgin bush left in Africa, where the last of the really big-tusked elephants and large-maned lions roam. It supports around one million head of game, is bigger than Switzerland and is a World Heritage site. From March to May floods sweep the valley, forcing the game on to the ‘islands’ of higher ground, where elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, crocodile, puku, buck, eland, sable and others concentrate.
Udzungwa Mountains National park
Udzungwa Mountains National park is a national park in Tanzania with a size of 1990 sq km(700 sq miles). The habitats contained within the national park include tropical rain forest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland and steppe.
Streching across the Eastern arc mountain range, Tanzania’s udzungwa mountain National Park supports diverse wildlife, including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog and eland. 6 species of primate are found here and two are endemic, the iringa red colobus monkey and the Sanje crested mangabey Manke
Kitulo National Park
Kitulo, which has only fairly recently become a fully protected national park, is situated on the Kitulo Plateau, which forms part of Tanzania’s southern highlands. The area, which is known locally as the “Garden of God,” provides a home for a wide variety of wildflowers such as balsams, bellflowers, honey-peas, irises, lilies and orchids.
Perched at around 2600 metres, (8500ft) between the rugged peaks of Kipengere, Poroto and Livingstone Mountains, the well-watered volcanic soils of Kitulo support the largest and most important montane grassland community in Tanzania
Katavi National Park
This National Park is in Rukwa Region at Mpanda District 40km south of the Mpanda town,southern eastern Tanzania. The Park is famous for its undisturbed natural face compared to other National Parks in the country. The main vegetation is Miombo woodland with scattered acacia trees near lake Chada. The Lake is rich in birdlife and the highest population of Crocodile in Tanzania.
Major attraction includes Lake Katavi with its vast short-grass flood plains in the North.Palm fringed lake in the park include Zebra,roan antelopes, Sable, Elands, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalo, Lion, Crocodiles, And water fowls.
There are Airstrip in Mpanda town and in Sumbawanga.Rest house and Campsite within the National Park area and hotels and lodge in Mpanda and Sumbawanga towns provide good accommodation.