The South of Tanzania offers better value accommodation than the north, a less touristy experience but is not a classic ‘big 5 safari destination’.
The Selous Game Reserve is a huge dry season park offering boating, walking safaris and fly-camping with excellent wild dogs.
Ruaha National Park is a beautiful red-earth park where you can also enjoy walking, fly-camping, super prides of lions and huge buffalo herds. Ruaha is home to 10% of the whole world’s lions, so to say the wildlife here is not as prominent as in the north could be a mistake!
The west comprises of Katavi and Mahale which are expensive to get to, but because of their relative inaccessibility offer a simply magical experience alone in the wilderness, where you can trek chimps in the Mahale Mountains and see some of Tanzania’s most dramatic safari scenes in the depths of Katavi’s harsh dry season.
Southern itineraries are usually made up of either three of four nights in both The Selous and Ruaha. For those who want a very short safari and more beach time, then the Selous for four nights can be an easy and dependable option. However, we would recommend trying to combine both if budget allows, as this will provide you with diverse landscapes, wildlife and a range of safari activities.
Very few travellers head to Katavi and Mahale because the flights are simply very expensive, and the few lodges available there are too. If you did go though, you can either fly from Arusha via the Serengeti or from Dar, but via a night or two in Ruaha. Flights only operate a few days a week though, so the west is usually only doable for those with a big budget who are very set on visiting it and who will revolve their entire holiday around doing so.