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northern vs. southern circuit?

san francisco
Level Contributor
140 posts
47 reviews
24 helpful votes
northern vs. southern circuit?

We are a family of four (ages 62, 60, 29, and 27) planning our first safari for the first 1/2 of June 2019. Tentatively, we are thinking 7-8 nights safari and a few nights ending in Zanzibar. I know most folks do the Northern circuit, but DH really hates crowds, so after reading a lovely review of the Southern circuit by ShepofBristol, we started looking into that. I love the idea of boating and walking drives to mix it up with the SUV drives.

Here's a few questions: Will we see a lot less animals in Selous/Ruaha? Would it be feasible to add Ngorogoro Crater to Sealous/Ruaha? Mosquitos are also really attracted to my son and he is very sensitive to bites...any difference in north vs. south?

Thank you!

18 replies to this topic
Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,224 posts
472 reviews
468 helpful votes
1. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

The parks are different.

Will you see a lot less animals in south? No!

Is it feasible to combine Ngorongoro with Selous/Ruaha? Not really although it is not impossible. Fly in to Arusha proceed to Crater, return and catch flight to Ruaha and Selous then on to Zanzibar. Fly home from DAR. KLM Open Jaw would work for the intl. AMS_JRO, DAR-AMS

Mossies are most places. Less in Serengeti due to altitude.

san francisco
Level Contributor
140 posts
47 reviews
24 helpful votes
2. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

Thanks for the info. I shall start researching flights...

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
4,899 posts
13 reviews
10 helpful votes
3. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

If DH dislikes crowds, for sure head south for quiet. I was in Selous in June a few years back, staying at Lake Manze Camp and Selous Impala. Mossies were biting at Manze (set on lake) but not at Impala (set on the Rufiji River); no problem with tsetses at all. Two highlights for me were spending time following wild dogs on a hunt and evening boat safaris. Typically I will never miss a game drive but those evening boat rides were so relaxing, the sunsets so stunning and the water fowl so plentiful and eye-catching that I chose to do them each night.

I won't go on about Ruaha other than to say it's probably my favorite safari destination in Africa.

Good luck with your planning.

san francisco
Level Contributor
140 posts
47 reviews
24 helpful votes
4. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

Good info. Thank you!

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
453 posts
13 reviews
7 helpful votes
5. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

Selous and Ruaha are definitely the better choice in terms of the number of other tourists around and you will still see plenty of wildlife …. although rhino are highly unlikely. It would be possible to include Ngorongoro as Mfuwe says but if planning to do this I would suggest extending your trip a little so not too rushed.

I really like 4 nights Ruaha 4 nights Selous to avoid feeling torn between different activities.

san francisco
Level Contributor
140 posts
47 reviews
24 helpful votes
6. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

The only reason I was thinking of including Ngorogoro Crater was that all the photos I've seen of it are that it is teeming with wildlife, and it seemed like a must-see, in case this would be my only-ever safari trip.

But it sounds like there will be plenty of wildlife if we go only to Selous and Ruaha. So I think in the best interest of our pocketbook, we shall limit it to the southern parks.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
4,899 posts
13 reviews
10 helpful votes
7. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

I think you've made a smart decision.

Ngorongoro Crater is certainly one of the iconic destinations in the north. That said, it warrants 2 nights at most in my opinion and it would be better, both from practical and budget standpoints, to include it with a trip focusing on the Northern Circuit. Many visitors who say it's a one-off trip of a lifetime end up planning their next trip on the plane home; the Crater will be waiting for you.

Arusha, Tanzania
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4,527 posts
3 reviews
8. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

First day safari go northern Tanzania safari

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
8,353 posts
9. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

Nah

I would go to Ruaha also my favourite park, especially if crowds are not on the program, you will see more widlife than you can imagine combine it with Selous. boat trips and walks.

Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
2,674 posts
351 reviews
166 helpful votes
10. Re: northern vs. southern circuit?

It isn't cheap but if you can afford, I recommend that you spend 4 or even 7 days in Katavi National Park and then go for 4 nights to Greystoke Mahale for the finest primate experience available in East Africa. There could be no better combination of places in Africa.

Katavi receives a grand total of roughly 500 visitors a year; Mahale only gets 1,000. Katavi is populated with game including huge pods of hippos as well as huge numbers of crocodiles. I saw huge herds of topi, plenty of giraffes,elephants, zebra,buffalo as well as lions and leopards. The birding was also excellent, It also offers night drives,

Mahale is the most beautiful place I've ever been to in no less than 17 safaris in Africa. I've never seen a more beautiful,idyllic place. The lodge was just astounding as was the boat trip to the lodge.

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