Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Safaris both Northern and Southern Tanzania - feasible?

Safaris both Northern and Southern Tanzania - feasible?


Jun 4th, 2012, 02:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Safaris both Northern and Southern Tanzania - feasible?

hey all,

my fiance and i are planning our honeymoon to south africa and tanzania in august 2012.

we plan to stay in tanzania for 9 nights and are quite confused about how to go about choosing which game reserve/national park to go to. according to some reports, the serengeti migration may not be the best in august as the herd will be moving towards kenya (?) by then. Interested in selous/ruaha because of the boat safaris and supposedly less crowded but more chances of spotting big 5 and such.

ive been reading the posts in this site and everyone's been really helpful and informative. however, i haven't seen any post regarding the feasibility of going to both northern and southern tanzania at one go.

is it possible and practical and worth while to go to serengeti in the north, and selous and ruaha in the south -- within the above mentioned time span.

if not feasible, where should we go?

any and all advise/recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

many thanks.
pervinmukhi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
The migration in Kenya in August?? That's not correct. August is the month that they cross the Mara river (in Tanzania).

Now, this is not exact science, but they tend to cross more often at a time when it's full moon. But full moon is August 1 and August 31. Since August 1 is a bit fast, I'd say your chances to see a crossing are best in the 2nd half of August.

To answer your question about combining N and S Tanzania; it can be done (I just had Sun Safaris do it for a friend of mine), but 9 days is a bit short. I would not lose a day flying back & forth. I'd chose either N or S circuit and stay there. You will not be disappointed in either trips.


pixelpower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3
im in the same conundrum. is it necessary to go to both or is the northern circuit better than the southern one or vice versa?
seeker817 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
The Northern Serengeti deserves minimum 3/nts (though during Aug* 4/nts when some of the herds that do not make it into Kenya's Masai Mara**, would be better) and if this is the only area up North you wish to visit, have to be a fly-in/out as the drive would take up a day or longer to/from.

*there are few camps in the north, most rather expensive and at this late date, many of them are already fully-booked for this August.
**disagree with pixilpower, as in fact, the migration IS in the Masai Mara during August; the herds start to arrive in the Mara from June and remain thru Sept and often even Oct.

For Southern Tanzania, both Selous and Ruaha deserve 3-4/nts each.

You've run out of days, not even taking into consideration transport to/from north/south and then to/from the individual parks in both.

Then if to/from South Africa, be prepared for at least a 4/hr flight not taking into consideration time needed for check-in/security for this international flight. If South Africa after East Africa, you'll also require a Yellow Fever inoculation and proof of same for entry. Besides, of course, the strange flight schedules/time and costs of this flight between East and Southern Africa.

If, however, you wish to visit both - then fly into the Northern Serengeti, spend a few days, then fly (via DAR) to Selous for the balance. Don't try to include Ruaha. From Selous fly back to DAR for flight to South Africa.

If only the North, you can include 2/nts at Tarangire, 1/nt at Ngorongoro Crater, the balance at Northern Serengeti.

If only the South, then you can easily split the time between Selous and Ruaha.

It's up to you.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Having done both places.....however, not in the same trip, I would say that you will waste an enormous amount of your precious time traveling from one place to another -- and for what? I tell people all the time - you don't need to move from place to place to see animals. Its not a zoo where a particular animal in only on display at one specific place. My advice is to pick a couple of places that are likely to give the best sightings for your time period and then stay there. Stay 4-5 nights in each place. You are much more likely to have meaningful encounters than you will rushing from camp to airstrip and back again.

I'm not sure what "boat safaris" you are talking about for Ruaha and Selous. We did one evening on a lake from Selous Safari Camp and we did one afternoon on the water at Sand Rivers in Selous. There were no boat safaris in Ruaha. I would add that the water portion was a very minor part of the experience in Selous. At Selous Safari we saw a few hippo, two crocs and lots of birds on the water. At Sand Rivers we saw lots of pretty scenery -- no animals at all.

Read my trip report and responses as to why we chose to stay 4 nights in each camp in Southern Tanzania.
TC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
I'm with TC here. Either circuit deserves 2 to even 3 weeks. Pick one. For the north; 3N Tarangire+Manyara, 3N crater and 3N Serengeti. For the south; 4N Selous, 2N Mikumi, 3N Ruaha.

pixelpower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
I'd vote for northern Tanzania if it's your first trip to Tanzania, if you can get accommodations at this late date. I'd skip Lake Manyara, however, if you've only got 9 days and concentrate on Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the northern Serengeti. If you're flying from JNB to JRO, you'll spend an entire day traveling. Unless you do the "red eye" on Precision Air, flying Kenya Airways via Nairobi, then Precision into JRO is your best bet. You'll have to spend the night in Arusha. That leaves you only 8 days for the safari, I'd guess? I'd spend 2 nights in Tarangire, 1 night at the Crater, 2 nights in the central Serengeti and the remaining 3 nights in the northern Serengeti. After the night spent at the Crater at, say Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, you'd do your allotted half day drive the next morning, then drive into the central Serengeti for a couple of nights. Then, move on to the northern Serengeti, flying back to Arusha from there. All of this is dependent on getting accommodations, though. Perhaps you'll find some last minute cancellations as groups give up unsold spaces in the next month or so.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2012, 11:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
The thing is; pervinmukhi is very late to the party. I doubt he will find any free accommodation on the crater rim. Idem with a lodge within the Tarangire borders.

Therefor I'd say South Africa is better. But then it's winter there. That may be a bit chilly for a honeymoon...
pixelpower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 5th, 2012, 01:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642
I did both N and S Tanzania in 2008 spending 8 nights in each region. It was my second trip to the north and first to the south. If this is your first trip to Tanzania or Africa, I'd suggest staying in the north.

I agree that you only have time for one - if you can book accommodation at this late stage go for the north and I would recommend flying one way and having your vehicle meet you in the Serengeti and then do a slow trip back through the Crater and Tarangire. Maybe 3-4 nights in the Serengeti, 1 night at the Crater or 2 nights around Karatu (gibbs Farm or Ngorongoro Farmhouse) with a day trip to the crater if the accommodation at the rim is booked and then a couple of nights in Tarangire.

Whilst accommodation availability may be better in the South I recall that the game viewing was slower, but very good. The boat trips on the Rufiji were great and provided a welcome break from the vehicle.

If you don't mind some cooler temperatures, say a maximum of 16-20C during the day, you might consider the Sabi Sand area of South Africa.

Happy planning,

Treepol is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 5th, 2012, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 676
I'd also much rather do the northern circuit, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Serengeti, with just 9 nights in Tanzania you'll be rushing around even to do just these three places.
geetika is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 10th, 2012, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Do Northern Tanzania for your honeymoon. For your first, fifth or tenth anniversary, do Southern Tanzania.

If you want to get out on the water and are in N. Tanz, consider a canoe trip in Arusha National Park.

For Aug, waste no time in booking.

Congrats on your wedding.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:16 PM.