Tanzania's Secret South - African Encounters

Tanzania’s Secret South

(2 Reviews)
28 Sep - 5 Oct 2024
28 Sep - 5 Oct 2024

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    8 days
    Availability : 28 Sep - 5 Oct 2024
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Get off the beaten track in Tanzania’s Secret South on guided walks, day and night game drives, boating, and fishing in Ruaha and Nyerere parks. Tanzania’s vast southern areas are remote, wild, and beautiful. Unlike the popular north, relatively few people venture this far. And yet these superb parks boast some of the richest wildlife in East Africa.

    From a unique and comfortable tented camp in the richest wildlife area of Ruaha to luxury tents overlooking the Rufiji River in Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous) where you can explore on foot, by boat, and in open vehicles, this safari in Tanzania’s Secret South is perfect for those wanting to venture off the beaten track for a real wildlife adventure.

    This African Encounters Signature Safari will be personally escorted from Dar es Salaam by company founder and director Karen Platzer for groups of 4 or more participants. For groups smaller than 4 people the tour will be guided by qualified local guides.

    Early bookings are ESSENTIAL as these luxury small camps fill up to 12 months in advance!

    Optional extension:  Combine your Secret South safari with northern Tanzania’s famous Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, as well as some amazing parks in neighbouring Kenya on my Tanzania & Kenya Safari!

    Or end your safari with a few relaxing days on  Zanzibar, the spice island.

    Arrival & Departure

    Arrival: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania     

    Departure: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Your Ruaha camp is in an exceptionally game-rich area of Ruaha National Park. You’ll stay in an authentic and very comfortable safari camp built from local materials. Activities here include walking and game drives.

    Your next camp is in a premier location inside what is now known as Nyerere National Park.  Each tent is built on a raised platform with its own unique and unspoiled view of the Rufiji River – the perfect space to relax and unwind. Activities in Nyerere include walking, game drives, and boat trips on the river. 

    Price Includes

    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Luxury tented camps and chalets, all rooms with private facilities.
    • All meals and drinks (excludes premium brands) on safari.
    • Scheduled flights Dar-Ruaha-Nyerere-Dar
    • Laundry in safari camps
    • Park and concession fees and permits
    • Game drives in customised 4x4 safari vehicles
    • Sundowners, guided bush walks and night game drives.
    • Qualified and knowledgeable safari guides.

    Price Excludes

    • International airfares
    • Visas
    • Travel insurance (mandatory)
    • Any Personal Expenses
    • Tips & gratuities

    Day 1Dar es Salaam

    Independent arrival, transfer to our central city hotel.

    Day 2Ruaha National Park

    Morning flight from Dar es Salam to Ruaha Nationa Park where your guide will be waiting to escort you to camp, arriving in time for a delicious lunch in camp. 

    Mwagusi Safari Camp offers a unique and comfortable tented safari experience. The camp is almost entirely built from natural materials such as grass thatch, timber, driftwood, stones, and reeds, and sits perfectly in its surroundings.

    Each “banda” consists of a large spacious tent sheltered by a cooling thatch roof and set on a polished red floor. Each banda has en-suite facilities with flushing toilet.

    After lunch, refresh and unpack before heading out on an afternoon game drive – a taster of what will be an action-packed three days in this stunning park. Return to camp for hot showers, drinks around the campfire, and a three-course dinner.

    Days 3 & 4Ruaha National Park

    Ruaha National Park has been dubbed the undiscovered gem of Tanzania and is often called “Tanzania’s best-kept secret”. Situated off the beaten track, and far from the crowds of the famous northern parks, this rough tract of wilderness pulsates the real energy of an Africa long-forgotten. Visitors come to Ruaha to enjoy the dramatic landscapes and abundance of wildlife, with well-maintained roads and few visitors.

    Terrain and wildlife in Ruaha are varied and dramatic. Open plains are filled with iconic baobab trees and purple-tinged hills provide the backdrop to this beautiful scenery. Riverine bush and dry river beds may be a hideout for kudu and elephants while huge herds of buffalo and scores of giraffes are never far away. Big cats are also a-plenty. Ruaha is never short on excitement; and when the big game gets too much, the prolific birdlife here will delight even the most disinterested of twitchers.

    Flexibility is key at Mwagusi and you can choose the time and length of your game drives (from a 6-hour early morning drive, a shorter 2-3 hour drive, or a full-day drive with picnic lunch), accompanied by a knowledgeable guide and an experienced driver.

    Our vehicles are specially adapted open-sided 4WD vehicles each with comfortable seats and high shade awning to enable one to stand and still be in the shade whilst game viewing. Each vehicle is equipped with reference books, beanbags for photography, drinks, and all the necessities for a day in the bush. All guides and drivers have direct communication with the camp from the vehicles.

    Day 5Nyerere National Park

    After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to our lovely camp and head back to the airstrip for our flight to Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve). We’ll be met with another warm welcome and a short game drive will see you at Rufiji River Camp for lunch overlooking the river.  The camp has just a handful of comfortable tents, which are set on high wooden decking and offer magnificent views of the river and forest beyond from private verandas. 
    If you can tear yourself away from the river, head to your beautiful riverfront room to relax through the heat of the day, gathering back in the mess for tea and cake as the sun starts to cool. Then it’s time to board a small boat for a relaxed meander up the river – a wonderful contrast to the previous days’ game drives.  As the sun sets, drift back to camp in time for sundowners before dinner.

    Days 6 & 7Nyerere National Park

    Half-day game drives in open 4WD vehicles depart camp early in the morning and enjoy breakfast under the shade of an ancient tree, or if you prefer, head out on your game drive once you have enjoyed your in-camp breakfast. You’ll return to camp in time for lunch, before an afternoon rest or a dip in the pool. The afternoon game drive begins in the mid-afternoon and will return after sundowners. We’ll generally be the only vehicle roaming around – and that’s what we love about southern Tanzania!

    Experienced guides will take you out on the Rufiji River to experience a different type of safari and see wildlife from a different perspective. Hippos and crocodiles, together with the hundreds of different species of colourful birds, will escort you while you quietly move along the waters of the enormous river or the beautiful lakes that form this incredible ecosystem.  

    Whether looking at the animal tracks, spotting elephants, or photographing flowers and insects, there’s always something to learn on a walking safari which usually lasts around two hours. Walking safaris are escorted by a knowledgeable guide and accompanied by a ranger with a rifle. Very often you will first find the spoor of an elephant… and then you find the one who left it! Believe me, an elephant from a safari vehicle looks big; an elephant during a walk is huge! Later, sundowners and a roaring campfire will be waiting to welcome you; a prelude to an excellent three-course dinner.

    Day 8Departure

    A leisurely start this morning with a cup of tea as the sun comes up, followed by breakfast with a view of the mile-wide Rufiji River.  A short game drive brings you back to the airstrip where you’ll board your flight to Dar es Salaam to connect with your onward international flight or join an optional extension.

    Optional extensions:

    Combine your Secret South safari with northern Tanzania’s famous Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, as well as some amazing parks in neighbouring Kenya on my Tanzania & Kenya Safari

    Or enjoy a few days of relaxing beach time on the island of Zanzibar

    2 Reviews
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    Y. Malcolm

    Solo Traveller

    If you long for the days when you weren’t sharing a sighting with 14 other trucks, when you could enjoy the sounds of the bush seated by a campfire, when you could be immersed in the experience of being in nature unmarred by the din of CNN International, come to Ruaha and stay at Mwagusi!


    Karen de Willimoff & John McIndoe

    Couple Traveller

    We were constantly amazed by the variety in landscape and wildlife in Selous and Ruaha. Well done Karen, and thank you very much.