Where to go

Southern Tanzania Safaris

The Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park

Itinerary photo - Safari
Itinerary photo - Safari
Itinerary photo - Safari

Often overlooked by many safari operators in favour of the northern parks, the southern parks of the Selous and Ruaha are worth serious consideration and are the preferred destination for most who are really keen on their safari. The benefits of heading to the south is that, where the very north of the Serengeti gives the numbers of game, along with some seclusion, the southern parks are still very much “frontier” parks and so are noticeably less busy (they also feature the same spread of species as the north, but more like a thousand, rather than 2 million). The second important point is that, where the average lodge cost in the north is around $700 per person per night, the lodges in the south, where they offer a similar experience, are around $2-300 less.

When to go

This is probably the most important question to ask when considering a trip to the southern parks for safari as, unlike the open grassland plains to the north of Tanzania, the southern safari parks are much more seasonal due to the riverine topography of the area. On the whole, the best months for normal game viewing are considered to be from June until November, when the parks are at their driest and so the game is condensed around the river banks. This being said, for a few specialist activities, such as bird watching and walking, the window between January and March can also be very rewarding if a little humid and hot!

How to get there

Unlike the road based itineraries to the northern parks, the southern parks of the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park are easily accessed by small plane with the Selous being around a 30 minute flight from Dar es Salaam, and Ruaha being another hour and half on from there.

How long to go for

With access into and out of the parks being nice and easy, and the fact that it is possible to connect from the Selous to Zanzibar within an hour, it is definitely possible to go to the Selous for as little as 2 nights. We tend to recommend that you consider between 3 and 5 nights in each park as a good number. Please have a look at the links below for more in depth information on each of the parks.

When to go to Southern Tanzania for safari:

  • MJan
  • MFeb
  • MMar
  • NApr
  • NMay
  • YJun
  • YJul
  • YAug
  • YSep
  • YOct
  • MNov
  • MDec
  •   = Yes   = No   = Maybe

    Our top five hotels & lodges in Southern Tanzania:

    1. Beho Beho - Lounge

      Beho Beho

      Well, what can we say? Beho Beho is certainly a camp that is in the top three in East Africa if not Africa at the moment...they have been leading the way for the last few years in the Selous. Great location, up in the Beho Beho hills, away from the relative "traffic" in the park's centre. Great... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      5
    2. Siwandu Camp

      Siwandu Camp

      The first of the camps catering to the top end of the market, Siwandu Camp (formerly Selous Safari Camp) offers great value for money and is ideal for those that want this level of luxury and service but without the price tag. Comparatively, it arguably doesn't live up to the safari standards of... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      3
    3. Lake Manze Camp - elephant in camp

      Lake Manze Camp

      Lake Manze Camp is set right in the heart of the best game area in the Selous, and is, arguably, one of the best value options in Africa! Set up around 4 years ago on an elephant run it has simply gone from strength to strength and, based on our ratings system, where the most expensive is not... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      2
    4. Mwagusi Camp - Bedroom

      Mwagusi Camp

      Without doubt our favourite camp in Ruaha, Mwagusi Camp is a rare occurrence these days...a camp where the owner is to be found almost year round, where the game is spectacular, where the food and service are impeccable and where you can truly feel at home. This balance of elements means that... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      3
    5. Sand River Selous

      Sand Rivers Selous

      The grand dame of the Selous Safari circuit, along with Beho Beho, Sand Rivers Selous is the longest running safari camp and is also, still, one of the best. One of the major selling points is the location....set right on the banks of the Rufiji River, it is possible to sip a G&T looking both... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      4

    Our recommended top travel itineraries for Southern Tanzania: