Southern Circuit

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Southern Circuit National Parks

Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania’s parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the step slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall. The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates.

The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitor’s center.

Katavi National Park

This park lies south of the Mahale Mountains on a high flood plain surrounding Lake Katavi. It is one of the most difficult parks to reach and is strictly for those of an adventurous spirit. It is one of the best places to view game and has a real wilderness atmosphere. July to October are the best months to visit Katavi.

Mikumi National Park

Forming the northern border of Africa’s biggest game reserve-the vast Selous-Mikumi is one of the most popular of Tanzania’s national parks and very accessible. The main feature of the park is the Mikumi flood plain, along with the mountain ranges that border the park on two sides.

Mkomazi Game Reserve

Located in Tanzania’s eastern arc close to the Pare mountains, Mkomazi Game Reserve is the focus of an intensive breeding program to save the endangered black rhinos. Tourist facilities in this remote area are very sparse, so not many people bother to visit Mkomazi. It is a place reserved for truly interested visitors.

Ruaha National Park

This is the second-largest national park in Tanzania and boasts an unusual variety of wildlife, but is among the less-often visited. It is a transition zone between East Africa and southern Africa for both animal populations and vegetation.

Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo is more than a water wonderland. Deserted sandy beaches nestle against a cloak of virgin forest, where bush buck move fleet, yet silent, through a maze of tamarinds, wild palms, and sycamore figs strung with a cagé of trailing taproots. A number of indigenous mammal species share their protected habitat with introduced species such as chimpanzee, black-and-white colobus, elephant and giraffe.

Saadani National Park

Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beach front. It is the place where sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole!

Selous Game Reserve

Tanzania is home to one of the single largest remaining elephant populations in the world and most of these elephants are found in the remote and wildly beautiful Selous Game Reserve. Larger than Switzerland in size, the reserve is the largest in Africa and is second only to the Serengeti in its concentration of wildlife. Walking safaris can be taken from the camps in this game reserve.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiverse of a chain of a dozen large forest-swatched mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers. Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for an avian wealth embracing more then 400 species.