Southern Safaris

Nyerere/Selous National Park

Visit the Nyerere National Park previous known as Selous Game Reserve which is the Africa’s largest game reserve and one of our favorite wildlife viewing areas. This really is a hidden gem! The rivers and lakes at Nyerere National Park are the lifeblood of a park that hosts some fabulous game, including elephant, wild dog, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and fantastic prides of lion.

Nyerere National Park is not only a wonderful place for tourism, it also offers an amazing introduction to un-spoilt Africa. Home to some of Africa’s best walking, boat safaris and fly camping trips, Nyerere National Park has the greatest diversity of safari activities of all the Tanzania safari parks. The boating safaris in particular really set this park apart from other Tanzania parks. The fact that Nyerere National Park is so much quieter (in visitor terms) than the majority of the rest of the country just adds to its attraction.

                                 

Mikumi National Park

Mikumi National Park is the home of Flora and fauna and more than 300 species of birds inhabit the Park. Most people visit Mikumi National Park expecting to spot the ‘Big Four’ (cheetah, lion, elephant & buffalo) and other animals in the park like giraffe, zebras, impala, eland, kudu, black antelope, baboons and wildebeests. Chances of seeing a lion who climbs a tree trunk is larger.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha national park tis he second largest national park in Tanzania covering an area of 20,226sq. km and is located in south-central Tanzania. Because of its size, Ruaha is in a unique position, to be able to continue uninterrupted as it has always been an untouched, pristine eco-system which in today’s world is not only something rare but also very special.

Not only does Ruaha enjoy abundant wildlife, but the magnificent and constantly changing landscapes, add a magical touch to the whole experience. Baobabs dot the rocky hillsides, the cool green shade along the river the open grassy plains all make for a wonderfully varied and exciting trip.

The park is accessible all year round. Best time to visit Ruaha is during the dry season from end of April to December.

Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa mountains national park is the most biodiversity mountains and is unique by harboring some of the endemic flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere on earth except Udzungwa hence referred to as the “Centre of endemism”. Udzungwa Mountains Walking Safari is the best tour for nature, hiking & trekking.

The hiking trails range in difficulty from the short one-hour Sonjo trek to the extremely challenging 6-day camping trek the Lumemo Trail. The most common walk and famous is the Sanje Waterfalls trail being most conspicuous and the highest waterfalls (170m) in the national parks in Tanzania which takes approximately four hours to complete and allows the visitor access to the stunning 170 m waterfall and includes swimming in the waterfall plunge pools as part of the activity.

Best time to visit the park: Dry season (June – September) and Wet season (November – March) when wild flowers are flourishing and plentiful of butterflies. For bird watchers December, February is their best time as most migratory bird are nesting in the park.

Kilwa Kisiwani

Kilwa Kisiwani, an authentic historical town in Real South, Located about 300km south of Dar es Salaam, Kilwa Kisiwani is the leading historical site in southern Tanzania.

A quick visit to Kilwa Kisiwani gives a thrilling memory when discussing the rich history of the Swahili coast that extends along the Eastern coast of the Indian Ocean in Tanzania.

Despite the beauty of this Island which is located in Kilwa District, Lindi Region, memories of the past civilization and early settlements could be a memoir of a lifetime for any tourist venturing this part of Tanzania.

With its twin island of Songo Mnara, Kilwa Kisiwani is the United Nations Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, known by its rich history and Swahili cultural heritage blended with African and Arabic cultures.

Kiliwa Kisiwani is a tourist site, standing among the leading, earliest trading towns on the East African coast. Historical buildings in the island were constructed with coral stone mixed with limestone materials which had made the architecture beautiful and stable to survive weather conditions characterized by humid and hot temperatures for hundreds of years.

The Island had its prosperity achieved from the control of the Indian Ocean trade with Arabia, India and China between the 13th and 16th centuries, when gold and ivory from the mainland Tanzania and Congo were traded for silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain.

Most attractive, are mosques built in 13th century and a Portuguese Fort, which are presently give the island its historical fame. These mosques are dating between 13th and 18th centuries.

Between each mosque, there are cemeteries and worship places decorated with early Chinese porcelain and Persian artifacts including ceramics materials from the Middle East. Kilwa Kisiwani was occupied from the 9th to the 19th centuries by Oman Sultans and Persian merchants. Between 13th and 14th centuries, the island thrived as a leading business center on the Indian Ocean coast.

According to great Muslim traveler Ibn-Battuta who visited and stayed in Kilwa Kisiwani between 1331 and 1332, the island was ranked among the most beautiful cities of the world during that time.

The Great Mosque of Kilwa was the largest mosque of its kind in East Africa. The mosque accommodates two mosques, all constructed in 11th century.

Ibn-Battuta had explained this mosque to have been built by the ruler of Kilwa Kisiwani, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman.

Makutani palace is the other building of the past where the sultan of Kilwa Kisiwani resided. The building was constructed in 1516 and fitted with minarets to encounter invaders.

There are spacious rooms for women and bathrooms; all decorated with earthen-wares and ceramics. Orchids and green trees were planted to provide shade and beautifying the palace.

Another attraction at Kilwa Kisiwani is the Portuguese Fort. This beautiful building was later used as a garrison by the Arabs and Germans to punish Africans who opposed their occupation over the east coast.

Kilwa Kisiwani remains the old trading town of the Indian Ocean and that had attracted trade with Arabia, India and China, particularly between the 13th and 16th centuries, when gold and ivory trade from the mainland Tanzania thrived.

Silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain were the leading trading goods between Kilwa Kisiwani, Oman, China and Persia (Iran).

Most interesting,  Kilwa Kisiwani minted its own currency in the 11th to 14th centuries.

The World Heritage Committee had approved the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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.

Perched at around 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Poroto and Livingstone Mountains, the well-watered volcanic soils of Kitulo support the largest and the most important montane grassland community in Tanzania.

Having its unique flower species remained wild, with birds singing and migrating to the highland forests, Kitulo Plateau National Park is latest and a new comer 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 wild flowers, 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 eminently hike-able park is carpeted in wildflowers for six months of the year, from November to April. There is a documented 350 species of wild flowers including lilies and fields of daisies.

Although sparse in big game, this natural botanical garden is highly alluring to bird watchers who thrill to sightings of rare Denham’s bustard, the endangered blue swallow, mountain marsh widow, Njombe cisticola and Kipengere seedeater.

Endemic species of butterfly, chameleon, lizard and frog further enhance the biological wealth of God’s Garden. Unique and the only of its kind in Africa for natural orchids and birds, this park has been gazetted last year set for tourists.

Kitulo National Park stands alone, boasting of being the only tourist attractive site in the continent offering floristic visits than the traditional wildlife photographic holidays which most tourists to Tanzania are used to experience. Tourists from all corners of the world are now exposed to this park, and are expected to book their itineraries to this new park.

There are about 400 plant species, most of them are wild flowers and other such attractive, natural plants, which no doubt at all, will attract visitors to go there. Recorded 45 endemic orchid species are found only in the park than any other part of the world.

The park covers 413 kilometers of forest-land, dominated with plants and few wild animals which together form a natural habitat that is tourist attractive by itself. The park’s scenery is as comparable to the Biblical Garden of Eden, as most visitors there say.

Added to its natural attractions and uniqueness, Kitulo Plateau is the natural resting site for intercontinental migrating birds during periods of the year on their way to Europe.
It is only in this park where migrating Storks rest while flying from Cape Town in South Africa to Northern Europe.

European White Storks and other species of Storks from Scandinavian countries via West Africa migrate to brood inside Kitulo Plateau on their way, flying across the European and African continents every year. These big, attractive birds stop in this park for some months and later continue with their long journey across the continent.

Kitulo National Park is the only natural habitat area in Africa perched on the sky at a higher altitude than any known park in the continent.

It is located 3,000 meters above sea level on the East African massif, much influenced by the eastern Rim of the Great Rift Valley which stretches from the Red Sea in Middle East across north and East Africa to Mozambique in Southern Africa.

To reach the park, one has to drive from Chimala town along the Dar es Salaam to Mbeya highway, then climb the scenic plateau through 57 pin-corners through the spectacular rough road known as “Hamsini na Saba” or Fifty-Seven by the number of its pin, sharp corners.

After few hours of slow driving on the 4 x 4 car, one reaches Matamba the temporary park headquarters, about 50 km south of Chimala.

Open walking safaris through the grasslands watching birds and wild flowers, hill hiking on the neighboring ranges during the day, gives a visitor fantastic views of Lake Nyasa and its beautiful Matema Beach down the mountains.

Wild flowers blossom between December and April, and the summer months from September to November are best to visit the park. From June to August the entire park is foggy with no visibility during the daytime, and it is hardly possible to view its beauties.

Accommodation is available at Matamba and Chimala, but for more comfortable stay, Mbeya municipality, some 100 km away is an option.

Before its transformation into a tourist park, the area was a livestock ranch set for breeding Merino sheep from Australia and European cattle breeds. British officers mapped the area in 1920 for ranching purposes.

Because of its cool and moderate weather similar to Mediterranean or European conditions, the area has since then attracted a number of British and American settlers who reared livestock and practiced small scale tourist projects.

Beautiful scenery of the land below makes the park an ideal place to pay a visit. This unique scenery brings it closer to northern Tanzania nature parks of Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Kilimanjaro.

When full flocked, Kitulo National Park will be the leading nature conservation park in Africa, specializing on orchid holidays with less wildlife itineraries. It will add a new product to Tanzania’s wildlife-based tourism, which so far, has been competing with other destinations like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

What to do
– Good hiking trails exist and soon will be developed into a formal trail system.
– Open walking across the grasslands to watch birds and wildflowers.
– Hill climbing on the neighboring ranges. A half-day hike from the park across the Livingstone Mountains leads to the sumptuous Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa.

Lake Ngosi

Lake Ngosi, a thrilling crater lake in Southern Highlands of Tanzania

Standing as the second largest Crater Lake in Africa, Ngosi Lake is the leading tourist attraction in Rungwe district pulling hundreds of visitors each year.

The lake is located about 38 kilometers south of Mbeya city, near the sprawling Tukuyu Township. It is located on Ngosi peak on the Uporoto Mountains which makes part of Eastern Arc ranges.

It is located at an uplift of 2,600 meters above sea level in a thick, natural forest of the Uporoto nature reserve, covering some 9,332 hectares of land. It has a length of 2.5 kilometers and width of 1.5 kilometers and 75 meters deep.

To reach the lake, one has to drive and stop at the edge of the Uporoto Forest Reserve at the foothills of the Uporoto range. It takes up to two hours walking from the foothill to the ridge where the lake lies at 200 meters below.

It is an exciting adventure to trek or walk through the dense montane forest to the crater rim. Monkeys and many bird species can be seen in the forest which is also home to an endemic species of chameleon and montane, wild banana trees.

Walking and climbing the Uporoto range is organized by special guides familiar to the route which is made up of cascades, horrific gorges and valleys where someone could fall with no option of rescue. It is risky to fall into the gorges if one trek without care, and, if one falls into one of numerous gorges on the way to the lake, it will be the end of his or her life.

Despite those risks, it is automatically safe to trek the Uporotos and view magnificent Lake Ngosi which is a sight of outstanding natural beauty and a superb hiking hotspot.

It is a green shimmering lake walled by the collapsed caldera of the extinct Ngosi Volcano. The peak is the highest point of the Uporoto Ridge Forest Reserve. The forest has an endemic three horned chameleon (Chameleon fuelleborni).

This stunning caldera lake dates from some time in the Neocene period. The water is slightly brackish, contains some fish, and is up to 75 m deep. The lake has spiritual significance for the local inhabitants.

A caldera is a roughly circular depression formed by the collapse of a magma chamber roof onto its magma body beneath. It is a large rounded depression resulting from the destruction of a volcano in a violent eruption.

The mountain and the lake are counted to an age of one million years, and remains an old volcano that has now collapsed to form a wide caldera filled with a shining alkaline ‘soda’ waters.

The waters of the lake are said to have magical medicinal powers. Ngosi means ‘The Big One’; in vernacular Kinyakyusa dialect.

Climbers looking to view this scenic lake are well rewarded with excellent views from the top of the sharp crater rim, from where the lake gleams below with an overwhelming tranquil air, and beyond the land are pocked with the points of smaller volcanic peaks.

Walking to the rim leads through upland grasslands and tropical forests where families of Colobus monkeys chatter and play, and a miasma of birds take refuge.

The path leads into the forest for about 2.5km and then begins the climb to the crater top. Just before the top, the path branches in two; the right hand path leads swiftly to the peak, and the left leads down to the water’s edge.

Lake Nyasa

Lake Nyasa, also called Lake Malawi, lake, southernmost and third largest of the East African Rift Valley lakes of East Africa, lying in a deep trough mainly within Malawi.

Lake Nyasa (Nyasa means “lake”) is located at the south-west of Tanzania,  The lake lies in three countries’ territory; Tanzania and Malawi. However, it is bordered by three countries, Tanzania , Malawi and Mozambique. It is the third largest in Africa (after Lake Victoria and lake Tanganyika)  with 550 kilometers length and 75 kilometers width,  covering an area of more than 11,400 square kilometers. In some parts,  the lake is as deep as 700 meters.

The Lake lies in the sided walls of mountain ranges: the forested Livingston Mountains and Nyika Plateau, which provide the magnificent view of the lake from far and the landscape for hikers and backpackers.
Lake Nyasa is also among the Great Rift Valley’s lakes, which shares some of the characteristics with lake Tanganyika.  The lake has a distinctive characteristic: 14 rivers pouring their waters into the lake, and only one river which flows out to the sea, River Shire.

The Lake also has a lot of names such as “Lake of stars” which is provided by the lovers who trip their and discover it one of the dreamy and romantic destination in Eastern Africa. It is situated between Malawi, Mozambique as well as Tanzania.  It has so many things to offer such as numerous opportunities for water sports as well as diving. The lake is enormously rich with diverse fish species and is one of the most appealing lakes that offer unforgettable underwater views!

Some parts of the lake offer nice beaches and places to swim. Matema, in the northern part of the lake is considered to be the best beach for people who like to relax swim along the lake shore. In contrast to other lakes the water of lake Nyasa is bilharzias free.  There are also caves and interesting waterfalls to see.

Other activities include local canoeing ride down the river, hiking on surrounding mountains.

Though Lake Nyasa does not receive many tourists, the lake is magnificently attractive and is rich in crocodiles and hippopotamus. For Fish lovers, Lake Nyasa is biologically the most diverse lake, containing approximately 30% of world’s cichlid species (colorful fish which are easily seen in the lake’s clear water)

Volume 7,775.00 km3,  Surface Area 29,500.00 km2, Depth Mean depth: 264.0m Maximum depth: 706.0m

Mbozi Meteorite

Mbozi Meteorite: World’s eighth largest, located about 65km southwest of Mbeya is the Mbozi meteorite, weighing an estimated 25 metric tonnes, it’s around 3m long and 1m tall

Mbozi meteorite is the most popular tourist attraction found in Songwe region.

Weighing in at a cool 12 tons, the irregularly shaped Mbozi Meteorite – which lies on the southwestern slope of Marengi Hill, 70 kilometers west of Mbeya, off the road to Tunduma – is the world’s eighth largest known.

The meteorite is a fragment of interplanetary matter that was large enough to avoid being completely burned up when entering earth’s atmosphere.

But the fragment is small enough to avoid exploding; of the estimated five hundred meteorites that fall to earth each year, only thirty percent strike land, and less than ten are reported and recorded.

The Mbozi Meteorite has been known for centuries by locals, who call it Kimwondo, but the absence of legends recounting its sudden and undoubtedly fiery arrival indicate that it fell to earth long before the present inhabitants arrived, a thousand years ago. The meteorite was officially discovered in 1930 at the time when only the top was visible.

To reveal the whole meteorite, the hillside around it was dug away, leaving a pillar of soil under the meteorite, which was then reinforced with concrete to serve as a plinth. The irregular notches on the pointed end were caused by souvenir hunters hacking out chunks – no easy task given the strength of the nickel-iron of which it’s made.

Most meteorites consist of silicates or stony-irons, so Mbozi meteorite is uncommon in that it’s composed mainly of iron (90.45 percent) and nickel (8.69 percent), with negligible amounts of copper, sulphur and phosphorus.

A visit to the Meteorite Site is always fascinating especially if you are in a group and you travel using public transport as a means of getting a better taste of the countryside and face some adventures. This enables the group to also interact with the locals who are ever ready to share views with visitors.