Southern Circuit

Mikumi National Park

The park is 283 kilometers from Dar es Salaam city along the Dar es Salaam–Iringa main road. Unlike other parks and game reserve in the country, the road to Iringa passes across the Mikumi National Park which gives a room to the travels to view the wild animals. Mikumi is surrounded by the game reserve (Selous), mountains (Lumango and Uluguru) and a river (Mkata).Mikumi National Park covers an area of 3,230 square kilometers and makes the third largest Park in southern Tanzania in Morogoro region. Mikumi hosts carnivores like lions, leopards, wild dogs, and a large population of herbivores grazing in the vast Mkata floodplain grasses including zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, impalas, elephants, Greater kudu, and sable antelopes.

Other mammals and reptiles include eland, waterbuck, wildebeests, crocodiles, and baboons. The park
also offers a nice view of birdlife and hippos to the close range on the north part of the park. Mikumi is famous for its ecosystem that makes it an important educational and research center. Many students from various colleges and university in the world pay a visit for their studies.

Ruaha National Park

The contiguous Rungwa, Kizigo, and Muhesi game reserves are the main source of the Ruaha River and then a most important place for the Ruaha elephants during the dry seasons over 8,000 searching for water and grassland. The combinations of the above constitute the greater Ruaha Ecosystem with an area of approximately 25,000 square kilometers. Southern Highlands of Tanzania lay Ruaha National Park that covers an area of about 12,950 square kilometers and makes the second largest park. The origin of its name is from the river that crosses to the park having the largest water catchments.

The vegetation of Ruaha is covered by tall trees such as baobab, tamarind, acacia albida, wild figs, grasslands and Miombo woodland to the eastern side of the river. Ruaha River is a home to hippos, crocodiles and numerous water birds include spotted eagle owl, African cuckoo, bee-eater, doves’ shrikes and ostriches among others. Ruaha accommodates other numerous wild animals include roan and sable antelopes, African buffaloes, lions, greater and lesser

Kudus, gazelles, wild dogs, cheetahs, wildebeests, hartebeest, impalas, and zebras.

Selous Game Reserve

The Rufiji River that flows its waters across the Selous about 250 kilometers long accommodates dozens of birdlife to its delta outside the reserve. Kingfisher, weavers, waders, herons, fish eagle and African skimmer are among more than 350 species that have been recorded.

Selous Game Reserve is located in Southeast of Tanzania covering an area of 45,000 square kilometers in Iringa region. The game reserve is the oldest and largest protected area in Africa. The reserve was named in 1922 after Frederick Courteney Selous, the British explorer who was killed in the reserve by an elephant during WWI. Selous was also keen naturalist and conservationist as well as a hunter in the area. With its vast area, Selous offers walking, boat, photographic safaris, and hunting.

Selous provides shelter for large numbers of buffaloes, elephants, wild dogs, eland, reedbuck, bushbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, Great kudu, sable antelope, zebras, crocodiles, hippos, warthog, giraffe and the remaining black rhinos. Others include lions, leopards, and the spotted hyenas in abundance with rare

Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa is the largest and with most biodiversity and a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed as the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly being the delicate African violet. Udzungwa alone among the ancient ranges of the Eastern Arc has been accorded the national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 meters (820 feet) to above 2,000 meters (6,560 ft) without interruption.

The more challenging two-night Mwanihana Trail leads to the high plateau, with its panoramic views over the surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending to Mwanihana peak, the second-highest point in the range. Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species, from the lovely and readily-located green-headed oriole to more than a dozen secretive Eastern Arc endemics.

Four bird species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including the forest partridge, first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl. Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world – the latter, remarkably, remained undetected by biologists prior to 1979. Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures: ongoing scientific exploration will surely add to its diverse catalog of endemics.


Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 km (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi.

Kitulo National Park

Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu – The Garden of God – whereas botanists have dubbed it the Serengeti of Flowers, host to ‘one of the great floral spectacles of the world’. Kitulo is indeed a rare botanical marvel, home to a full 350 species of vascular plants, including 45 varieties of terrestrial orchids, which erupt into a riotous wildflower display of breathtaking scale and diversity during the main rainy season of late November to April.

Having its unique flower species remained wild, with birds singing and migrating to the highland forests, Kitulo Plateau National Park is latest and a newcomer to Tanzania’s tourist attractive sites. Bustani ya Mungu (God’s Garden) is the visitors’ name given to this new park, the only of its kind in Africa where wildflowers, birds and harmonious grass-eating mammals are dominating. Kitulo Plateau is perched between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Livingstone and Poroto Mountains in Southern Highlands of Tanzania. It is the site of one of the world’s great floral spectacles.


The temporary park headquarter are at Matamba located some 60 km from Mbeya town. The main road
from Dar leads through Chimala in the south on a dusty road called Hamsini na Saba -78km to the park gate at matamba. Reaching the plateau from Matamba park gate will take you one hour when driving with a robust 4WD. Accommodation within this new Tanzania Park is very limited but there are several options from Mbeya town’s hotel, guesthouses, and camps near Kitulo Matamba gate or near the farm. There are two church hostels near Matema beach for cheap Tanzania safari accommodation.