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Selous & Ruaha - Undiscovered Tanzania

Tour Code: TZA04

An 11-day wildlife safari to southern Tanzania focusing on the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park. The tour can be extended to include a 3-night stay on the island of Zanzibar.

11 days from £5995(inc flights) Land Only Price: £5245 SRS: £995

This holiday takes you to southern Tanzania, where the lodges are small, visitor numbers are low and the landscapes are vast! We fly first to Dar es Salaam and then to the Selous Game Reserve. We’ll have three days to explore this huge reserve by game walks and boat trips as well as traditional vehicle safaris, enjoying its wealth of mammals  - including Wild Dog - and superb birdlife, such as the stunning Northern Carmine Bee-eater. We then fly west to Ruaha National Park where we’ll be based for four nights.  Ruaha is noted for its huge herds of Elephant, as well as such mammals as Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Greater Kudu and Defassa Waterbuck. Its birdlife is just as impressive and we’ll look for the endemic Ashy Starling as well as a host of other birds including cuckoos, bee-eaters and lovebirds. You can then either finish the tour with a flight back to Dar es Salaam and home, or opt to stay longer at the delightful Fumba Beach Lodge on Zanzibar.

• Explore two of Tanzania's hidden wildlife jewels, the Selous Game Reserve & Ruaha National Park
• 4 nights in Selous & 4 nights in Ruaha
• Mammals including Elephant, Masai Giraffe & Cape Buffalo
• Lion, Cheetah, Leopard & Wild Dog all possible
• Abundant birdlife including Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Pel's Fishing Owl & Ashy Starling (Tanzanian Endemic)
• Extend your stay on the beautiful island of Zanzibar
• Led by expert Naturetrek naturalist & local guide


All included in the price, except for lunches and dinners in Zanzibar (allow £80).


Small, exclusive lodges in Selous and Ruaha and a comfortable beach hotel on Zanzibar. All rooms have private facilities.

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London.

Day 2/5 Selous Game Reserve.

Day 6/9 Ruaha National Park.

Day 10 Depart Dar es Salaam.

Day 11 Arrive London.

Tanzania is a country of great beauty and diversity, encompassing some of Africa’s most evocative wildlife destinations, amongst them the sweeping plains of the Serengeti, the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. With over a quarter of its area allocated to wildlife conservation, Tanzania protects some of Africa’s last remaining wildernesses and, away from the familiar ‘northern circuit’ featured in our popular ‘Tanzania Highlights’ itinerary, much of the country still remains relatively free from tourism. On this holiday we concentrate on southern Tanzania, an area of huge but little-known national parks and game reserves rich in mammals, birds and other wildlife. Here the lodges are small, the visitor numbers are low and the landscapes are vast. The Selous, for example, is the largest game reserve in all of Africa covering over 45,000 square kilometres yet, to date, has accommodation for only 300 visitors. Compare this to Kenya’s Masai Mara which covers a mere 1,800 square kilometres but contains over 7,000 tourist beds! Likewise, neighbouring Ruaha is the largest national park in Tanzania but has equally sparse accommodation and even fewer visitors. It is not uncommon in both Selous and Ruaha to spend the entire day out on a game drive without seeing another vehicle or a single human being. So please do join Naturetrek in southern Tanzania this autumn and be part of the select one per cent of visitors to the country fortunate enough to spend time exploring one of East Africa’s last great wildernesses … who knows how long it will remain this way?

Our holiday begins with a flight to Dar es Salaam, the largest city in the country. From here we take a 45-minute flight in a light aircraft to the Selous Game Reserve where we stay in a small exclusive tented camp for four nights. Since the Selous is a ‘game reserve’, not a ‘national park’, there are fewer restrictions on wildlife-viewing activities and there will be opportunities for game walks and boat trips during our stay, in addition to the traditional vehicle safaris. This vast reserve is clothed in a mix of grassland, woodland and bush, and bisected by the meandering Rufiji River which, over the millennia, has created a complex network of channels, lakes and swamps. The Selous is home to a superb array and abundance of wildlife. There are thought to be about 120,000 Cape Buffalo in the reserve, plus 100,000 Blue Wildebeest, 40,000 Hippos, 4,000 Lions and plenty of Masai Giraffe, Greater Kudu and Eland. Around a third of the world’s population of African Wild Dogs live here, alongside Leopards, Cheetahs, Spotted Hyenas and a range of other predators. The birdlife is even more diverse, with over 400 species recorded, including Saddle-billed Stork, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Palm-nut Vulture, Purple-crested Turaco and the beautiful Southern Carmine Bee-eater.

Next we take a flight to Ruaha National Park, which is located to the east of the Selous, and transfer to a comfortable lodge for a 4-night stay. Ruaha covers around 20,000 square kilometres, but is part of the larger 45,000-square-kilometre Runga- Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem. Wildlife-viewing here is centred along the permanent waters of the Great Ruaha River which flows along the south-eastern boundary of the park and attracts an abundance of game during the dry season. Safaris are by vehicle and we will spend our mornings and afternoons slowly exploring the river’s edge and the adjacent baobab-dotted plains that stretch to the horizon. Tourist numbers are even lower in Ruaha than in Selous, and some feel that the game-viewing here is even better than in its larger neighbour! Ruaha National Park is noted, in particular, for its large herds of Elephant, over 10,000 of which occur, but we should see a wide variety of other species too, including Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Lesser and Greater Kudu, Defassa Waterbuck, Masai Giraffe and perhaps Wild Dog. Here too, birdlife is abundant and includes Long-crested Eagle, Ashy Starling (a Tanzanian endemic), Yellow-collared Lovebird and a kaleidoscope of sunbirds, rollers, beeeaters, cuckoos and many others.

Although our tour ends with a flight back to Dar es Salaam and then home, we would recommend extending the holiday with a 3- night stay at Fumba Beach Lodge on the island of Zanzibar. Here you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, look for the rare Zanzibar (Kirk’s) Red Colobus in the nearby Jozani Forest or simply relax after the safari on Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches.


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Thu 27th September 2018 - Sun 7th October 2018



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £5245 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Tanzania

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