SOUTHERN CIRCUIT DESTINATION


MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK

Mikumi national park is one of the 17 national parks found in Tanzania covering an area of 3230km making it the 5th largest park in the country. Mikumi national park is located just 288km away from Dar es salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. Mikumi is the best for wildlife safari due to large concentration of animals, the big four animals like elephants, Buffaloes, lions and leopards also large number of birds all over 400 species of birds and other animals like wildebeest, zebra, impala, hippos, baboon, giraffe, warthog, waterbuck, eland, reptiles including crocodile, monitor lizard and python are also resident in the park. Other animals that can be sighted though rare are the Sable Antelope resident in the southern part of the park bordering the Selous, the Greater Kudu, leopard, and the wild dog also known as the African Hunting Dog.

UDZUNGWA MOUNTAIN

Udzungwa Mountains National Park covers an area of 1,990 km2 (770 miles2). Uduzungwa is the second largest biodiversity in Africa. The habitats contains tropical rainforest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland and steppe. There is a vertical height range of 250–2,576 metres (the peak of Lohomero) which incorporates the Udzungwa Mountains part of the Eastern Arc Mountains. There are more than 400 bird species, 2500 plant species (25% of which are endemics) and 6 primate species. The Iringa red colobus and Sanje crested mangabey are only found in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. Udzungwa Mountains is the best for hiking and trekking as the park has no roads and is accessible only on foot. The hiking trails range in difficulty from the short one-hour Sonjo trek to the extremely challenging 6-day camping trek, the Lumemo Trail. The most common walk is the Sanje Waterfalls trail which takes approximately four hours to complete and allows the visitor to access the stunning 170 m waterfall whereby people may swim in the waterfall plunge pools as a part of the activities.

RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania covering an area of 20,226 square kilometres, its name comes from the Ruaha River which flows along its south-eastern border. The river provides permanent water in the park, and during the dry season animal concentration along its banks is spectacular. Ruaha National Park is about two to three hours drive from Iringa, a famous town on the Dar es Salaam to Zambia highway. Ruaha is the largest National Park in Tanzania. Its borders were extended in 2008 to include Usangu Game Reserve to protect the Ihefu wetlands and the Great Ruaha River catchment areas and biodiversity. This unspoilt wilderness is rich of beautiful fauna and flora, and contains a wide variety of animals that includes Greater and Lesser Kudu, roan and sable antelopes, which are rarely seen in most other game parks especially in Northern Tanzania. Ruaha National Park is famous for its herds of elephant and buffaloes.

The Ruaha River, which plays an important role in the ecosystem of the park, provides sanctuary to a large number of hippos and crocodiles. During the dry season the river attracts great quantities of game including lions, leopard, hunting or wild dog, impala, waterbuck, warthog, giraffe, and elands. In the plains ostriches, cheetahs and Grants Gazelles can be seen. The park is rich in bird life throughout the year, with over 450 bird species recorded. The best time for game viewing is during the dry season, from May to December. During the wet months from January to April some tracks become impassable. Ruaha National Park was named by natgeotravel as the best trip destination in 2018 “Ruaha is home to about one-tenth of the worlds endangered African lions”.

SELOUS GAME RESERVE

Covering 45,000km² of wilderness with grassy plains, open woodland, mountains and forests, the Selous Game Reserve (pronounced 'seloo', and named after the great explorer and hunter Frederick Courtney Selous) is Africa's largest game reserve. It's about three times the size of South Africa's Kruger National Park, and twice the size of the Serengeti National Park. In a fitting tribute, it is also one of Tanzania's three World Heritage Sites. At the heart of the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania’s largest river, the Rufiji, forms a complex network of channels, lakes and swamps that creates one of the most outstanding ecological systems in East Africa. The property harbours one of the most significant concentrations of elephant, black rhinoceros, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus and crocodile and other animals like wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, zebra, eland, the greater kudu, sable antelopes, giraffe, baboon, the vervet and blue monkeys, and the black and white colobus monkey which can be seen in certain riverine forests moving from tree to tree in family groups. There is a large population of predators including lions, leopards and the spotted hyena, and about 440 species of birds in the Selous, of both resident and migratory birds., amongst many other species. The reserve also has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps, making it a valuable laboratory for on-going ecological and biological processes.

KITULO NATIONAL PARK (GARDEN OF GOD)

Referred by locals as The Garden of God while botanist have named it as the Serengeti of flowers. Kitulo National Park is “one of the great floral spectacles of the world”, a rare botanical marvel and home to 350 species of vascular plants, including 45 varieties of terrestrial orchid which erupt into a riotous wildflower display of breathtaking scale and diversity during the main rainy season of late November to April. Moreover, Kitulo is attractive for bird watching, home to rare bird species. Big game is sparsely represented, though a few hardy mountain reedbuck and eland still roam the open grassland. Located about 100 kilometres from Mbeya town in Southern Tanzania, Kitulo National Park (413 sq km) is a botanist and hiker’s paradise. Wild flowers displays peak during the rainy season between December and April, excellent time for botanists, while the sunnier months of September to November are more comfortable for hiking but less rewarding to botanists. Conditions are cold and foggy from June to August. Accommodation is available in Mbeya town.

KATAVI NATIONAL PARK

The park is approximately 4,471 square kilometers (1,726 sq mi) in area, which makes it the third largest national park in Tanzania. The park encompasses the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains. It is a very remote park that is less frequently visited than other Tanzanian national parks. Katavi National Park is located about 40km from Mpanda town in southwest Tanzania, to the east of Lake Tanganyika, lying within a truncated arm of the Great Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow expanse of Lake Rukwa. The main vegetation of the park is Miombo woodland with scattered Acacia trees near Lake Chada. The park is good for large groups of elephants estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000- plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains. Also to be seen are elands and the rare sable and roan antelopes.


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