Go2Africa’s Top Places to Travel in Tanzania in 2024
Hidden Gems in the Southern Circuit for the Intrepid Traveler
Cape Town, South Africa (February 13, 2024): Tanzania is one of East Africa’s premier year-round safari destinations. While northern destinations such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are extremely popular with tourists, exploring national parks in the southern circuit of the country with fewer crowds is a great option for those who are looking to uncover Tanzania’s hidden gems. Go2Africa has an itinerary for every type of traveler whether you are interested in seeing the Big 5, experiencing the great wildebeest migration, swimming with whale sharks, or chimp trekking. Having meaningful interactions with Africa’s oldest tribes and assisting wildlife researchers on conservation safaris adds purpose to each trip.
Below are Go2Africa’s top suggestions for the Southern Circuit. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city is the gateway to Southern Tanzania and Zanzibar’s beaches. This vibrant city with bustling streets offers a beautiful historic town that travelers will likely stay overnight in before or after a safari.
“Nyerere National Park and Ruaha National Park work perfectly for any kind of safari traveler -families, couples, and honeymooners. They are fast becoming one of the prime game-viewing destinations in Africa and a forerunner in sustainable travel initiatives. What’s more is that they still offer a piece of rather remote and untouched Africa, and it’s rated as one of the most exclusive wildlife experiences on our continent. Other than having the animals all to yourself you can also enjoy boat safaris and walking safaris! Over and above that it also easily pairs with some fantastic beach destinations, the best of both worlds, bush & beach.” Anja Naude – Go2Africa African Safari Expert & Conde Nast Traveler Top Specialist.
Tanzania's Southern National Parks
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Where to Stay: Jabali Ridge
Ruaha National Park is one of the largest national parks in Tanzania, located in the center of the country. It forms a transitional point between the landscapes of East and Southern Africa, with its golden plains of sun-bleached grass and ancient baobab trees. Home to the largest elephant herds in East Africa, it also has all of the big cats - lion, leopard, and cheetah in healthy numbers, along with the highly endangered wild dog and spotted hyena. Only about 1% of visitors to Tanzania go on a Ruaha safari. It is known as one of Tanzania’s best-kept secret safari spots, promising unhurried, uncrowded game viewing. The dry months of June to October are best for a Ruaha safari. Jabali Ridge is perched among giant granite boilers with bird nest thatched roofs and wooden shutters that open to views across the Ruaha savannah stretching all the way to the Mwagusi River.
NYERERE NATIONAL PARK
Where to Stay: Roho Ya Selous
Africa’s largest national game reserve is a real highlight on the southern circuit. This wildlife-rich region is fed by the great Rufiji River – a reliable water source that attracts a wide variety of animals. From the Big 5 to the largest populations of endangered wild dogs, Nyerere offers some of the best game viewing on the continent in an off-the-beaten-path destination. Nyerere isn’t subject to the restrictions that govern Tanzania’s other national parks, so along with game drives and river cruises, travelers can go on guided walking safaris. Eight tented suites at Roho ya Selous are equipped with their own private veranda with breathtaking views.
MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Where to Stay: Greystoke Mahale
Known for its lush forests, lakeside beaches, and chimpanzee treks, Mahale Mountains National Park is a magical hidden gem on Tanzania’s southern circuit. The park was born out of a need to protect the thousands of chimps that call the region home. This area is home to the world's largest known population of chimpanzees. Trek through the rainforest where Mahale's endangered chimpanzees live, while leopard, bushbuck, bush pig, and a variety of birds and butterflies can also be spotted. The lake, with 250 species of tropical fish, is perfect for snorkeling and fishing, as well as kayaking. With Lake Tanganyika as its neighbor, visitors can expect the most incredible sunset views. Along the beach with lake views, Greystoke is the perfect base camp for a chimpanzee adventure.
KATAVI NATIONAL PARK
Where to stay: Chada Katavi
Tucked away in the little-visited west of the country is Tanzania's 3rd largest park. A Katavi safari will really take travelers off the beaten track and offer the intrepid safari-goer an unforgettable wildlife experience. Katavi receives only a handful of visitors each year as the only option is to fly in and there is only one camp. Katavi is one of the few places in East Africa where you can expect to meet more lions than people. The park is home to huge numbers of buffalo, elephant, hippo, crocodile, and lion, centered in increasing concentrations around Katavi's rivers as the hot dry season wears on. This Tanzanian hidden gem might be relatively unknown to most people, but the little-visited park is a hotspot for prides of lions preying on unsuspecting buffalo. Chada Katavi is a tented camp off the beaten track and often these are the best kind.