Unexplored Tanzania: Southern Circuit - Natural Habitat

For adventurers seeking an immersion in Africa at its wildest, southern Tanzania stands alone. Far from the more crowded tourist circuits, this landscape largely uninhabited by people is home to enormous parks and game reserves. Packs of wild dogs and elephants by the tens of thousands roam the floodplains, while lion and cheetah pursue the hoofed game that flourishes here. This unconventional expedition covers a diverse range of terrain, from tropical river delta to misty mountain highlands. At every turn, you will be enthralled by its marvels through the insights of your renowned private guide, for a rare and remarkable safari indeed.

Itinerary

Day 1: Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Arrive in Dar Es Salaam, where you meet your Expedition Leader and enjoy a welcome dinner.

Days 2-4: Selous Game Reserve

Fly this morning to Selous for three nights at Rufiji River Camp. On a bank above the river, your recently remodeled tents offer private views of the hippos and crocodiles below. Farther afield, game drives and walking safaris immerse you in the languid habitat of this immense coastal plateau. TanzaniaÂs largest elephant herds live here, with more than 50,000 in residence. In this unusual environment of Borassus palms, lagoons and sandbanks, you may also see cheetah, giraffe, black rhinoceros and wild dog  one third of the worldÂs population is found in Selous. A raucous array of birdlife animates the marshes of the Rufiji Delta. A UNESCO World Heritage Site four times the size of the Serengeti, Selous is AfricaÂs largest expanse of land uninhabited by humans, and it's an amazing opportunity to be among its few visitors.

Days 5-7: Ruaha National Park

Fly by light aircraft to Ruaha, possibly the most dramatic national park in Tanzania for its combination of spectacular baobab-strewn vistas and wildlife diversity. The great Ruaha River is its lifeline, and your lodge blends seamlessly into the landscape at its edge. Game drives may reveal lion, leopard, cheetah and African dog, and you may spot less common species, such as greater and lesser kudu, roan and sable antelope. Rarely, however, will you meet other vehicles in this little-explored landscape. Back at your individual bandas of local stone and thatch, you survey wildlife from private verandahs overlooking the river.

Days 8-10: Katavi National Park

You reach Katavi by light aircraft, arguably the wildest of TanzaniaÂs national parks. Spend three nights in the heart and soul of western Tanzania, an inaccessible hotbed of wildlife. Katavi is so far off the Âbeaten path that to be in its bounds is an honor shared by few. You explore it in open-topped 4x4s, with your leaderÂs keen eye and interpretation enhancing every encounter. Elephants and giraffe graze beneath the acacias, while immense herds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and impala clatter across the plains, eluding lion and leopards. Colorful birds abound, too, and you may see showy crested barbet around camp. Your small tented camp is set deep in the shaded groves surrounding the prolific Chada floodplain; the pulse of Katavi can be heard through the bellows of hippos.

Day 11: Dar es Salaam / Home

A midday flight returns you to Dar es Salaam, where you have a dayroom before transferring to the airport for flights home.

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