The Classic Southern Safari
Offering an unrivalled snapshot of Tanzania’s Southern Circuit, this 10-night trip combines all three Selous Safari Company camps: an incomparable wildlife experience at two contrasting safari destinations with your final port of call being our blissful beach lodge south of Dar es Salaam.
Day 1: Dar es Salaam – Jongomero, Ruaha National Park
After transferring to the domestic terminal, you’ll connect with your 8.30am flight to Ruaha National Park which will traverse the breadth of Tanzania. With a flying time of just 2.5 hours, on arrival at the airstrip, which is used exclusively for our guests, you’ll be greeted by your guide and driven the short distance to Jongomero where a traditional communal safari lunch awaits.
Under a dappled riverine canopy, this secluded sanctuary is positioned on the banks of a dry riverbed which is a natural pathway for animals in search of water and is the most splendid spot to experience the region’s extraordinary diversity of animals, birds and plants. Having set the tone for your trip by spending time relaxing by our swimming pool, you’ll enjoy a delicious afternoon tea before setting off on your first game drive. Epitomising ‘wild Africa’ in its most rugged, glorious form, you’ll explore Ruaha’s undulating landscape which is home to giant baobabs and the Park’s rich variety of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, eland, hippo, crocodile, lion and leopard.
Ruaha has gained a reputation amongst safari connoisseurs for its unique ecological and geographical character, offering a cross-section of species and a climate that is unique to the country. It is the largest National Park in Africa, and the feeling of remoteness and the spirit of adventure are immense. After afternoon tea, set out on a game drive in our open-sided vehicle, following the course of the Great Ruaha River in search of wildlife. Perhaps find elephants digging for water in the dry river bed, or catch a rare sighting of the African Wild Dog. As the sun sets, stop to admire the scenery and sip on a sundowner, before heading back to camp for hot showers and convivial drinks before dinner, discussing the day’s events and swapping safari stories.
Days 2 – 3: Jongomero, Ruaha National Park
Each evening over drinks, you'll have the chance to discuss your plans for the next day with our managers. Whether you chose to explore by vehicle or on foot, our expert guides will ensure you enjoy the wealth of biodiversity Ruaha has to offer. Game drives around Jongomero are unique and cater for the safari connoisseur; our remote location situated more than 70km from the next nearest camp means we don’t share our game viewing with any other guests or vehicles. Alternatively we offer a dawn game walk during the dry season.
With the African sun warming your back, you’ll navigate the parched riverbeds while your guide tells you fascinating, often bizarre stories, about the local flora, fauna, insects, birds and animals. For a truly authentic African adventure, Jongomero also offers a fly- camping safari in the mighty Ruaha (min 3 night stay at Jongo). Arriving at the exclusive wilderness camp either by road or by foot, you’ll settle in with hot bucket showers before meeting around the camp fire for a sundowner. After a tasty bush dinner, sleep beckons under the dome of a star gazer tent. You’ll return to the luxury of main camp the next morning ready to share your bush tales.
Jongomero is situated far to the South of the park and it feels like we have all of Africa to ourselves as we roam the riverine areas and hills. Birding is quite spectacular, with the park boasting some 570 different species of birds, including the Ruaha Red-billed hornbill and Ruaha Chat, which are unique to the park. Ruaha is an ecological convergence for Northern and Southern species of mammal and is also one of the few areas where Greater and Lesser Kudu can be seen. Game drives in Ruaha are unique and cater for the safari connoisseur, and with the bush luxury of Jongomero as our base, we can enjoy a most exclusive and rewarding safari experience. Dawn game walks are an absolute must; experience the warmth of the African sun warming your back as you navigate the dry river beds and listen to your expert guide tell you fascinating and often bizarre stories of the local flora, fauna, insects, birds and animals.
Booked in advance, we offer Walking Safaris in Ruaha, the authentic African experience. Arrive at the exclusive wilderness camp either by road or by foot and settle in with a hot bucket showers, before meeting around the camp fire for a sundowner and dinner. After sampling our bush cuisine, sleep under the stars of a small dome star gazer tent with a basin and hand towel outside. The next morning make your way back to camp having experienced a true African camping safari in the mighty Ruaha for one night.
Day 4: Jongomero, Ruaha National Park – Siwandu, Selous Game Reserve
You’ll depart Ruaha after breakfast for your flight to Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa. Boasting UNESCO World Heritage Site status for very good reason; Selous Game Reserve is home to the most exceptional and diverse wildlife, with more than half of Tanzania’s elephant population, over 40,000 hippos and the largest population of lion on the continent. An easy transfer from the airstrip, Siwandu camp is located in a grove of palms on the shore of Lake Nzerakera. As well as ensuring a stunning backdrop for the camp, this lakeshore location offers jaw- dropping game viewing with a great numbers of animals gravitating around the lake. It’s also the only place in East Africa where you can experience water-based game activities. With the orientation briefing out of the way, you’ll have time to settle into your tented suite over looking the lake. A two-course lunch on the Pontoon boat will be your first taste of Siwandu’s delicious food which will be accompanied by the chance to spot the hippos and crocodile drifting past you. Afternoon tea will give you the opportunity to meet and share freshly baked cake with your fellow safari before embarking on your first game activity. Returning to camp having experienced the local bush life, you will enjoy drinks around the campfire and a tasty three-course dinner under a canopy of stars.
Selous is Africa’s largest Game Reserve, the size of Switzerland and one of the last great wilderness areas on the continent. You will spend three unforgettable nights here as well as taking full advantage of viewing the abundant wildlife, either by boat, vehicle or on foot.
After lunch and a rested, there will be the opportunity to choose your first activity and begin to explore the Reserve, returning in time for sunset and dinner.
Days 5– 6: Siwandu, Selous Game Reserve
After a peaceful night’s sleep with the noises of the bush just beyond your canvas, you’ll start your day with early morning tea or coffee and freshly baked biscuits delivered to your tent by your personal butler. At Siwandu, game drives tend to follow a hearty breakfast giving the animals time to gravitate towards the lake. This ensures a far denser concentration of game around the camp.
Siwandu offers a brilliant range of game activities for its guests. Climb on board one of our open sided 4WDs to explore the landscape and enjoy tales of wild encounters that your expert guide will share with you. If a leisurely boat cruise is more your thing, you can take to the water and wend your way along the the Rufiji River tributaries; venture close and see the animals from a different perspective while you learn more about the fascinating life of water birds and our wonderful populations of hippo and crocodile. Or, set your clock to experience the thrill of a dawn game walk and have the opportunity to track animals and engage with the smaller habitats and ecosystems. Don’t be daunted by the early start, there’s plenty of time to make up for it later by the pool, the perfect place to relax and enjoy a mid-afternoon snooze. For guests younger than 16, who cannot take part in our main walk, we offer a fun, fact-filled children’s walk around our camp footprint.
By boat, either by following the course of the mighty Rufiji River or exploring Lake Nzerakera; weave amongst the pods of hippo and crocodile lining the bank and observe game coming down to drink.
Start the day earlier on a game walk, heading out on Selous’ most privileged of experiences. Accompanied by our experienced guide and an armed ranger, walk out into Africa’s largest wilderness, learn about the complex eco-system that it embraces, encounter the thrills and be enthralled at the wonder of being at the heart of nature.
Explore the game in the surrounding areas, from your seat on an open-sided vehicle, a comfortable and privileged journey through the wild African bush. You can expect to see any of the major African mammals, including elephant, giraffes, lions, leopard and even the rare African Wild Dog.
Return to camp for a splendid lunch, then a difficult decision between a siesta or a dip in the swimming pool whilst waiting for the heat of the day to subside. Mid afternoon meet for a cup of tea or cooling lemonade and scrumptious cakes under the Jackel Berry tree, and then move onto your second safari of the day - slowly meandering along the Rufiji River or perhaps tracking a leopard and her cub through the woodland.
Again, as in Ruaha, there is an opportunity for a Walking Safari; if you are interested please book in advance.
Day 7: Siwandu, Selous Game Reserve - Ras Kutani, Swahili Coast
From the majesty of the bush you’ll be whisked away to the cast away paradise of the Indian Ocean. This morning you’ll wave goodbye to the great Maasai giraffe and the other plains’ game on your final game drive to the airstrip as you fly either direct to Ras Kutani (with Safari Airlink) or return to Dar es Salaam for your. From here you’ll be met by a driver who will be your guide on the fascinating 1.5 hour road journey through market towns to the haven of Ras Kutani, 25 km south of Dar es Salaam.
Ras Kutani is set in an idyllic position on the shores of the Indian Ocean with white sand beaches stretching as far as the eye can see. Checking into one of the nine beachside cottages or one of the large, beautifully light and airy hillside suites (ideal for honeymoon couples or small families), is you cue to kick back. Settled in your home from home for the next few days, cast your khakis and shoes aside and with the sand between your toes, relax into the beach’s unique pace of life with BBQ lunches, sunset cocktails and delicious private dinners.
Depart at 09h00 for a short game drive to the airstrip for the flight to Dar es Salaam. Flights leaves Siwandu at 09h45 and lands Dar at 10h20. On arrival in Dar es Salaam you will be met by a driver, and take a road transfer to Ras Kutani. The journey time is approximately 90 minutes, and you will arrive in Ras Kutani in time for lunch. If you choose to fly, the flight from Dar to Ras Kutani airstrip is 10 mins, on arrival you will be driven to the shores of a fresh water lagoon and rowed across the water to our camp. Or alternatively safari during the day and embark on the 16h00 Safari Airlink flight direct to Ras Kutani for arrival at 16h50 and perfect time to settle in, shower and settle into the bar as our staff muddle you a zesty fresh cocktail.
The tranquil Indian Ocean shores of Tanzania - Ras Kutani is a small coastal retreat of castaway luxury, set alone on a pristine beach of white sands, cooled by the Indian Ocean. Immerse yourselves in the spirit of relaxation and indulgence that is Ras Kutani’s specialty. With a choice of walks along the beach, through the coastal forest or visit the local village of Kichangani; the opportunity to boogie board or kayak, or to watch turtles hatch or catch a glimpse of a passing humpback whale, there is always plenty to do between relaxing!
Days 8 – 9: Ras Kutani, Swahili Coast
Wake up to the glowing sunrise and the chatter of monkeys in the trees which cocoon your room. Ras Kutani is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and lies next to a fresh water lagoon with a backdrop of a virgin coastal forest. With these incredible surroundings, this location will ensure you are fully immersed in the purity and beauty of the natural world.
Ras Kutani’s keynote is relaxation. A sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, there’s no better place to switch off and unwind. In addition to languishing poolside, if you want to drag yourself away from your sun lounger, there are a host of other activities for you to enjoy.
Whether you choose to opt for some pampering with a tranquil spa treatment and explore the local village or prefer something more active like snorkelling among the shipwrecks, boogie boarding or kayaking on the lagoon, there is more than enough to ensure your stay at Ras Kutani will be a memorable one. For those visiting during the months of June, July and August, we are lucky enough to host turtles who lay their nests along the beach giving guests the opportunity to watch hatchlings.
Day 10: Ras Kutani, Swahili Coast - Dar es Salaam
On your final day, with your bags packed you can enjoy your last few hours of tropical sunshine before transferring back to Dar es Salaam either by road or air to meet your international flight back home – Bon Voyage and Karibu Tena!