Southern Tanzania's Amazing Dry Season

A 7-NIGHT TOUR OF THE SOUTHERN TANZANIA CIRCUIT EXPLORING LESSER VISITED SELOUS & RUAHA WITH SUPERLATIVE WILDLIFE VIEWING, SMALL BUSHCAMPS, WALKING & FLY-CAMPS

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Where
TANZANIA
When
JUNE TO OCTOBER
How long
7 NIGHTS
How much
FROM £5,595 PP
why
EPIC WILDLIFE; OFF THE BEATEN TRACK; WILD PARKS & CAMPS; EXPERT GUIDES; PRISTINE WILDERNESS
staying in
LUXURY CAMPS

Ruaha in the dry season offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Tanzania while Selous' wilderness is a total contrast. An eye-opener for families who want to experience a sense of wild Africa.

Not only is Southern Tanzania visited by a fraction of the people who travel to the better known parks in the north, it's also somewhere that bristles with action, particularly between June and October.

Ruaha and Selous combine to provide great contrast and a wonderful experience of wild Africa. In Ruaha’s dry season, massive herds of buffalo graze the flood plains of the Ruaha and Mwagusi Rivers, drinking en-masse in the river beds in the mornings and evenings. At these moments interactions between the buffalo and Ruaha's very large prides of lion are common. The two enemies are rarely far from each other and marauding attacks (successful or otherewise) are a regular feature of this park.

The riverlines and rocky terrain in Ruaha provide exceptional cover for it's leopard population and the park has deservedly built a reputation as one of the best places to see this illusive predator.

Elephant are a major feature, with large breeding herds gathering in the sand rivers to dig for water during the dry season, while groups of bulls feed their way from Tamarind to Acacia hoovering up nutricious seed pods during the heat of the day. They're also a regular feature in many of the camps; waking to find a bull elephant gently feeding a few feet from your window makes for a truly unforgettable (if slightly sleepless) night.

Ruaha also has good cheetah and wild dog as well as a good number of the more unusual species if you're really lucky, such as aardwolf (small bushy hyena-type creature) zorilla and caracal, all of which are present, if rare.

Selous is a contrast with Ruaha in almost every way - dominated by the Rufiji River, its tributaries and oxbow lakes, it has a palpably wild feeling and offers not only excellent mammal and bird viewing, but also the chance to walk, boat and flycamp as well as game driving. 

The riverlines and rocky terrain in Ruaha provide exceptional cover for it's leopard population and the park has deservedly built a reputation as one of the best places to see this illusive predator.”

DAY 1 - 3

The Selous

Riven by The Rufiji River with its network of sand river tributaries, oxbow lakes and flood plains, Africa's largest game reserve has a palpable sense of wilderness. It's home to - and shaped by - the continents largest mammals; elephant and hippo in particular while it's Rivers and lakes team with crocodiles and myriad birdlife.

Days 1 - 3: Selous

The Rufiji River

Open air rooms at Sand Rivers provide a spectacular perspective on the river. Hippo wallow below your room, their honks and laughter a constant backdrop to your stay here. In the morning you'll wake to the sounds of bulbuls, kingfishers and weavers.

Days 1 - 3: Selous

Secret flood plains

Much of the attraction of the Northern Selous is its wonderful secret pockets, many of which are best reached on foot. Walk silently with your armed guide along paths swept by the feet of elephant and hippo to emerge in magical openings to find animals quietly feeding. 

Days 1 - 3: Selous

Off the beaten track

The terrain in the Selous changes quickly in a short distance, which makes for ideal country to explore on foot or using a combination of drives, walks and boat safaris. 

Day 4 - 6

Ruaha

A flight of just over an hour brings you to Ruaha - 3000 ft higher than Selous, drier cooler and a total contrast in terms of the wildlife. Here you can expect to come across a wide variety of plains game from Greater and Lesser Kudu to Sable and Roan Antelope.

Days 4 - 6: Ruaha

Excellent dry season wildlife

One of the great joys of Kigelia Camp, tucked away on the banks of the Ifuguru River, is the bull elephant that visit the camp regularly throughout the dry season. There arent many more memorable ways of seeing elephant than ten feet away from the comfort of your tent.

Days 4 - 6: Ruaha

Open vehicles

Ruaha is one of the most varied, stunning and photogenic parks you will come across in Tanzania. Expect to see a wide range of species on your travels including a good chance of seeing wild dog. All against a backdrop of sensational scenery. 

Days 4 - 6: Ruaha

Small bush camps

The park has some excellent choices of camp from the stylish traditional tented camps to those bringing a more simple comfort to the bush. In the eastern part of the park you will find Nomad's Kigelia Camp, pictured above, a wonderful retreat off the beaten track that will be hard to tear yourself away from. 

Days 4 - 6: Ruaha

Elephant country

Ruaha National Park is a genuinely wild location that offers exciting encounters with Africa's giants. Strike out from the 4x4 and you'll experience outstanding walking, often supported by lightweight flycamps. 

A note from Alex

Early days in Ruaha and Selous

Natural High was conceived in Ruaha on a journey that began in the early 90s. Fresh out of unversity with a degree in Biological Sciences and a burning passion for wildlife, I was given the chance to run a small safari camp on the banks of the seasonal Mwagusi River. A chance I seized with both hands and immediatley immersed myself in the incredible wildlife here. An initial plan to stay for 3 months quickly slid into a year, then another... and another. In all we lived in Ruaha and Selous for five years in all seasons, exploring every corner, much of it on foot and remained full time in Tanzania for many years after that. These days we return regularly to old haunts and new.

From day one in Ruaha we were overwhelmed by the scale and variety of the wildlife we encountered. Lion and elephant were regular visitors to camp as were leopard, including on at least one occasion a female leopard took a liking to the bathrooms, much to the surprise of the inimitable Kanu, the man whose job it was to clean them. After a few years in Ruaha we moved east to the Selous, where, under the guidance of Richard Bonham I was lucky enough to lead walking safaris and flycamps in the stunning northern sector of the park.

Amazingly these parks still manage to remain somewhat off the main tourist trail today - particularly if you aim for the early season -  partly because their riches don't neccessarily reveal themselves all on day one. But to those willing to slow down and look, a safari to this part of the world has a charm all of its own. Devote more than a flying visit to Southern Tanzania and you cannot fail to be smitten by both Ruaha and Selous.

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What our clients said...
Thank you so much for all your help and insight in creating another fantastic holiday for us in Tanzania. After the tree nest experience of 2013, I was a bit sceptical that Ruaha could be better - but it was!”
The Cooke Family

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Our experienced travellers include:

Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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Personal service and excellent organisation

"This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days they had produced a wonderful-sounding itinerary in Costa Rica. There were helpful notes for packing as they seem to have someone there who has been to any chosen destination. We did do some groundwork for flights but left it to Dial-a-Flight who were also most efficient. We visited the office as it is very local to home and everyone there was cheerful and interested in our upcoming trip. We were presented with a leather file which turned out to be the most useful item en-route for all our paperwork ..... and it smelled lovely!
The holiday was one of our best ever. Not just because we saw a plethora of wildlife, but because there was always someone waiting to whisk us to another destination, be it to the airport, from the airport or a boat to a lodge etc. And they did it with great charm and humour and were always very knowledgeable about any queries we had.
For the last 8 days we had a driver/guide who was just outstanding. He was very familiar with the 3 remaining lodges where we stayed and his rapport with the other staff and guides helped to ensure that we were really well looked after. He was a skilled naturalist, had a great sense of humour and was always putting our welfare first - he made a wonderful companion for the trip.
All of the above meant that it was a really relaxing holiday so that we could maximise our time looking at the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
We would highly recommend Natural High ...... where next?!"

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