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Tanzania Safari Holidays

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Tanzania Safari Holidays

With so many parks in which to take your Tanzania Safari Holiday, there is always somewhere in season, no matter what time of year. The most important decision you need to make is whether to go North or South for your Tanzania safari.

Safari Holidays in Southern Tanzania Safari Holidays in Southern Tanzania
Fortunately, the northern safari parks are very different to those in the South and there are advantages and disadvantages to each:  The Northern Safaris offers unparalleled quantities of game on flat plains, but is very busy; whereas the Southern Safaris have many less visitors, the lodges are smaller and more intimate, and allows short or extended walking safaris, safaris by boat, as well as safaris by open-sided vehicles.
The north is famous for the Safari Parks of the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater and unparalleled volumes of game especially the migration and all the cats. The Big Five (the old hunting animals; buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard) can be viewed here - but the overall diversity of smaller game is equally impressive. Ultimately the region is where about 90% of all wildlife documentaries have ever been made! The migration is a major draw for the area as 2 million wildebeest and zebra meander in an almost circular manner throughout the Serengeti on their annual pilgrimage for the best grass.
The Ngorongoro Crater(actually a caldera) is one of Africa’s most famous sites. With 600 metre high walls all the way round and the highest concentrations of animals year round across the entire continent the game viewing is staggering as many animals are trapped inside, including 32 black rhino. Everything can be seen here.
Lake Manyara is a stunning park set on the rift valley.  The perfect place to start your safari as the scenery will take your breath away.  It’s only worth actually staying in the park if you push through deep and stay for 2 nights or so….but a perfect way to start a northern itinerary with a picnic in the park.
Meanwhile taking a Tanzania safari holiday in the South is totally different:

The Selous is Africa’s largest (and oldest) game reserve, 45 minutes to the south west of Dar es Salaam, is one of the largest designated conservation areas in Africa and is one of the last, true strong holds for African wild dog. It is twice the size of the Serengeti and roughly the size of a small country. The top of the park is the most attractive – the massive Rufiji River runs through from West to East giving life to a network of channels and lagoons that make up an exceptional eco-system - one of Tanzania’s three world heritage sites. With regards to game, it is possible to see everything that you can up in the north but not the migratory herds (although I don’t expect you’ll be lucky enough to see the rare Selous rhino or exceptionally rare cheetah). Boating safaris are the activity that differentiates Selous from everywhere else in Tanzania.

Ruaha is an undiscovered gem. The park is wild and raw, giving off a character very rare to find anywhere on the continent. The riverine landscape of Selous is contrasted by Ruaha’s burnt red earth and Baobab studded countryside – vast escarpments can be seen across the park. Ruaha is all about truly wild, raw wilderness; only 10% of the volume of tourists that go to the Selous go to Ruaha! The park is a haven for huge numbers of elephant (approximately 30,000) good herds of buffalo and massive concentrations of all the cats, especially large lion prides.

North vs. South – the bullet points.
The North – the pros
  • The Great Migration and the Serengeti’s immense predator concentrations
  • Africa’s most famous sites – Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Kilimanjaro.
  • Cultural significance – Olduvai Gorge, the Masai and the Hadzabe.
  • The Serengeti’s mobile camps and the regions super luxury lodges
  • Big Five destination
The North – the cons
  • Very busy ‘honey pot’ parts to every park apart from Tarangire especially Ngorongoro Seronera (in the Serengeti)
  • Reduced flexibility of activities due to National Park regulations
  • No walking apart from outside parks and certain specific walking areas in the parks
  • No boating
  • Flights to the North from Dar are more expensive than to the South (especially to the far north of the Serengeti)
The South – the pros
  • Much quieter and less visited parks than in Northern Tanzania
  • Wide range of activities – walking boating and ‘fly camping’
  • No large hotels in the area – far less commercial
  • Easy access; Selous is a short and cheap flight from Zanzibar and Dar.
  • Overall a less expensive destination, especially since it is easy to take a short, 3 or 4 night fly in safari into the Selous
  • African wild dog – a safari enthusiasts prize sighting!
The South – the cons
  • Not a Big Five destination. Selous has no cheetah and few rhino. Ruaha has no rhino
  • Very limited cultural element to Selous and Ruaha
  • Much more seasonal parks than those in the North. In season from July through to November.
So whether you go to the northern or southern parks depends on so much; the time of year, your budget, what type of experience you want to have, whether you’re honeymooners or a large family and what animals you want to see!

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