Northern Vs. Southern Tanzania Safaris – Which One Should You Choose

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African Scenic Safaris

Last updated on June 4th, 2023 at 04:18 pm

Tanzania Safaris

Tanzania is widely regarded as one of the premier safari destinations in Africa. Thanks to its incredible diversity of wildlife, stunning landscapes, and world-renowned national parks. Tanzania Safaris to either the Northern or Southern Circuit is the only and the best way to explore iconic wildlife destinations.

Now the question arises, which one should you choose? Both of the Tanzania Safari Circuits offer unique attractions and highlights. In the following blog, we have drawn comparisons between both circuits. This way our readers can decide which Tanzania Safaris they want to choose – Northern or Southern.

Overview Of The Northern And Southern Tanzania Safaris

Tanzania Safari

Tanzania has two main safari options divided into two circuits: the Northern Circuit and the Southern Circuit.

Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit is the most popular among safari-goers. It includes some of Tanzania’s most famous parks, such as Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Tarangire National Park. This circuit is known for its vast savannahs, high concentration of wildlife, and annual Wildebeest Migration.

Southern Circuit

The Southern Circuit is less crowded and offers a more exclusive safari experience. It includes parks such as Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, and Mikumi National Park. This circuit is known for its rugged terrain, diverse landscapes, and large elephant populations.

Read on for the comparison between Northern vs. Southern Safaris In Tanzania from the table below. The comparison is drawn based on some primary features like major attractions, accessibility of the regions and the best time to visit both the Tanzania Safari circuits.

FeatureNorthern CircuitSouthern Circuit
Major attractions Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National ParkSelous Game Reserve, Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park
WildlifeWildebeest migration, Big Five, giraffesElephants, lions, leopards, wild dogs
Best Time to visit Peak season from June to October, but year-round safari optionsThe best times are from June to October and December to March
AccessibilityEasy access via paved roads and airportsLimited access, mostly via dirt roads or small airports

Wildlife And Scenery Comparison Of Northern Vs. Southern Circuit Tanzania Safaris

Tanzania Wildlife

The Northern and Southern Tanzania Safaris each offer unique and diverse wildlife and scenic highlights. But, the differences are only regarding wildlife diversity, scenic highlights, and terrain/vegetation. Let’s dive deep to understand how these essential features vary.

Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit

Wildlife Diversity

  • The Northern Circuit is known for its large population of big cats, including lions, cheetahs, and leopards.
  • The iconic wildlife sightings include the wildebeest migration of Serengeti and the “Big Five” in Ngorongoro Crater.
  • A diverse range of other wildlife, including zebras, gazelles, giraffes, and hyenas are among other wild animals that call Northern Tanzania their home.

Scenery diversity

  • The Northern Circuit offers a diverse range of landscapes.
  • From the vast plains of the Serengeti to the volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and the forested slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to the baobab-dotted plains of Tarangire National Park; this circuit has varied geography.

Terrain and Vegetation

  • The Northern Circuit is characterized by open savannah plains. These are present with scattered acacia trees and occasional rock outcroppings.
  • The Serengeti plains are dotted with kopjes and large granite boulders. The terrain provides shelter for predators and serves as a lookout point for prey animals.

Southern Tanzania Safari Circuit

Wildlife diversity

  • The Southern Circuit is known for its large populations of elephants, lions, and other big cats, as well as giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles.
  • The region is also home to several endemic species, including the Udzungwa red colobus monkey and the Selous wildebeest.

Scenery Diversity

  • A diverse range of landscapes, including vast savannahs, rolling hills, and forested mountains are found in the Southern Tanzania Safari.
  • The Selous Game Reserve is also known for its waterways and wetlands, including the Rufiji River, which is home to large populations of hippos and crocodiles.

Terrain and Vegetation

  • The Southern Circuit is more varied. The diverse terrain ranges from rugged hills and rocky outcrops to grassy plains and lush wetlands.
  • The circuit also includes miombo woodlands and riverine forests, providing a diverse range of habitats for wildlife.

A brief comparison table for Northern vs. Southern Tanzania Safaris in terms of wildlife, terrain, and scenic highlights.

FeatureNorthern CircuitSouthern Circuit
Wildlife diversityWildebeest, zebras, and gazelles during migration season. High predator populationsLarge herds of elephants, wild dogs, and other predators.
TerrainMostly flat, with occasional rocky outcroppings and hills.Varied terrain, including hills, mountains, and rivers.
Scenic highlightsRolling plains, acacia woodlands, savannah, and open grasslandsRugged hills, meandering rivers, and lush wetlands provide a remote safari experience.

Tourist Crowds And Accommodation Of Northern Vs. Southern Circuit Tanzania Safaris

Travellers on Tanzania Safari Tours experience unique features of both the Northern and Southern Circuit. Both circuits have got their own set of uniqueness when it comes to tourist crowds, peak seasons, accommodation options, and budget considerations.

Budget considerations should be considered when planning a safari in either circuit. Visitors should book well in advance during the peak season.

Specifically, the Northern Circuit offers more options and attracts more tourists. On the contrary, the Southern Circuit provides a more intimate safari experience with fewer crowds.

Let’s look at the differences between the Tanzania Safari Circuits based on the criteria like the number of crowds, accommodation options, itineraries, and budget considerations.

FeaturesNorthern CircuitSouthern Circuit
Tourist Crowds More popular and attracts larger, especially during the peak season of July to October.Fewer tourists overall
Accommodation OptionsPlenty of lodges and tented camps, ranging from basic to luxurious.Few options, but they are more rustic and remote.
Accommodation Prices Higher and generally surge during peak seasonComparatively low accommodation prices.
Budget ConsiderationsMore expensive due to immensely popular national parks and higher demand for accommodation.Prices tend to be lower overall and are a good choice for travellers with a tighter budget.
Recommended Itineraries7-10 days, focus on the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater7-10 days, focus on Selous Game Reserve and

Activities And Experiences Of Northern Vs. Southern Circuit Tanzania Safaris

In terms of activities and cultural encounters, your experience on Tanzania Safari Tour will be varied. Here is an overview of what you should expect in terms of safari activities and cultural indulgence in both the circuits during Safari In Tanzania.

Northern Safari Circuit

  • Game drives are the most popular activity in this circuit. Visitors embark on early morning and late afternoon drives to spot a wide variety of wildlife.
  • Walking safaris are offered in the Northern region which lets visitors get up close and personal with local flora and fauna.
  • Hot air balloon Safaris are another popular activity that offers a unique perspective of the Great Wildebeest Migration.
  • Boat Safaris in the Lake Manyara National Park attract many visitors. You can spot hippos, flamingos, and other water birds too.
  • Bird watching is also another famed activity of the northern Tanzania Safari circuit.
  • Experiencing the Maasai culture and visiting the traditional villages are part of cultural visits during Safaris To Tanzania.

Southern Safari Circuit

  • Game drives are the main activity in the Southern Circuit. Visitors go on safari expeditions to visitors explore the savannah plains and woodland areas in search of lions, leopards, elephants, and more.
  • Walking safaris are offered in some parks. Travellers get the chance to explore the landscape on foot and spot smaller animals and birds.
  • Boat Safaris are available for cruising along rivers and lakes to spot hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of water birds.
  • Some parks offer fly camping safaris where visitors get to spend a night under the stars in a remote location.
  • Travellers on Southern Tanzania Safari get to experience Coastal Swahili culture and visit the local villages.

Northern Or Southern Tanzania Safari-Which One Is Better?

On the whole, picking a winner in the Northern vs Southern Tanzania Safari debate comes down to what you want in a safari. If wide-open savannahs scattered with profuse wildlife and hot air balloon rides are what you want then, the northern circuit is for you. Whereas, if you’re on the lookout for escaping the crowds and experiencing something a bit unique then the Southern circuit is going to be right up your alley.

No matter whichever option you choose, African Scenic Safaris provides exceptional Tanzania Safari Packages for both circuits. Combine this with tailored safari experiences that will cater to your individual preferences and you’re in for a treat.

Tanzania Safari with us will provide you with enough opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy wildlife sightings. Whether it is Northern or Southern Tanzania, one thing is for sure. i.e. you will come back with loads of memories and incredible experiences.

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