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Unexplored Tanzania: Southern Circuit

A journey to the remote and secluded southern circuit of Tanzania
Day 1: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Arrive in Dar es Salaam, where we meet our Expedition Leader and enjoy a welcome dinner.

Days 2 - 4: Selous Game Reserve
Fly this morning to Selous for three nights at Rufiji River Camp. On a bank above the river, our recently remodeled tents offer private views of the hippos and crocodiles below. Farther afield, game drives and walking safaris immerse us in the languid habitat of this immense coastal plateau. Tanzania’s largest elephant herds live here, with more than 50,000 in residence. In this unusual environment of Borassus palms, lagoons and sandbanks, we may also see cheetah, giraffe, black rhinoceros and wild dog – one third of the world’s population is found in Selous. A raucous array of birdlife animates the marshes of the Rufiji Delta. A UNESCO World Heritage Site four times the size of the Serengeti, Selous is Africa’s largest expanse of land uninhabited by humans, and we feel privileged to be among its few visitors.

Days 5 - 7: Ruaha National Park
Fly by light aircraft to Ruaha, possibly the most dramatic national park in Tanzania for its combination of spectacular baobab-strewn vistas and wildlife diversity. The great Ruaha River is its lifeline, and our lodge blends seamlessly into the landscape at its edge. Game drives may reveal lion, leopard, cheetah and African dog, and we may spot less common species, such as greater and lesser kudu, roan and sable antelope. Rarely, however, do we meet other vehicles in this little-explored landscape. Back at our individual bandas of local stone and thatch, we survey wildlife from private verandahs overlooking the river.

Days 8 - 10: Katavi National Park
We reach Katavi by light aircraft, arguably the wildest of Tanzania’s national parks. We spend three nights in the heart and soul of western Tanzania, an inaccessible hotbed of wildlife. Katavi is so far off the “beaten path” that to be in its bounds is an honor shared by few. We explore it in open-topped 4x4s, with our leader’s keen eye and interpretation enhancing every encounter. Elephants and giraffe graze beneath the acacias, while immense herds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and impala clatter across the plains, eluding lion and leopards. Colorful birds abound, too, and we may see showy crested barbet around camp. Our small tented camp is set deep in the shaded groves surrounding the prolific Chada floodplain; the pulse of Katavi can be heard through the bellows of hippos.

Day 11: Dar es Salaam / Home
A midday flight returns us to Dar es Salaam, where we have a dayroom before transferring to the airport for flights home.

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