Take the overnight flight from London Heathrow to Dar es Salaam via Dubai. On arrival, you’ll be met by the local Abercrombie & Kent representative who’ll assist you as you transfer to your hotel. Make the most of the city before your journey takes you through Tanzania’s wildernesses, game reserves and national parks.
Take a short flight to Selous Game Reserve, Africa’s largest protected area, four times the size of the Serengeti. It’s swarming with wildlife, so keep your camera at the ready, even as you settle into your luxurious accommodation at Siwandu. The spacious octagonal tents are set into a peaceful palm grove on the shores of Lake Nzerakera, making this a viewing hotspot, particularly for ticking off some of the 1050 species of bird you can find in Tanzania.
Situated deep in the reserve, you can head out from your camp at Siwandu on walking safaris, track game on jeep safaris or take to the waters of the Rufiji River system by boat – accompanied, of course, by an experienced guide. With so few lodges and camps here, you’ll have the vast expanse mostly to yourself.
As well as the 70,000 elephant (the continent’s largest concentration), 120,000 buffalo, 40,000 hippo and 4,000 lion, the reserve is also home to painted African wild dog. With rare sable antelope, hartebeest and spotted hyena too, Selous will yield some spectacular sights. Enjoy meals of local fresh fruit, vegetables and spices served in the camp’s dining area. You can even spend a night in a mobile bush camp right on the banks of Lake Nzerakera.
Board a short flight west to Ruaha National Park, a vast and remote reserve encompassing over 10,000 square kilometres of plains and wooded hills. This is another rarely visited destination free from the crowds. Relax in your tented suite which sits on stilts at Jongomero Camp, on the edge of a seasonal river in the park’s isolated southern reaches.
Explore the park with an expert guide, spotting huge herds of elephant, rare species of antelope and even the elusive leopard. Though you can have just as many viewings by taking it easy, sitting back on your private veranda with a drink, set of binoculars and camera to hand.
Many of the rivers here are seasonal, but whether you come in time for the sand rivers or the mighty torrents of the Rufigi, Jongomero and Ruaha rivers, they are features which draw life to them. After another day exploring this wild terrain, sip a sundowner while the sky breaks into purples, oranges and reds behind the baobabs’ dusk silhouettes which line these rugged hills.
It’s time to say farewell to southern Tanzania’s incredible bush experiences. Take your last shots as the sun rises, before boarding a flight back to Dar es Salaam and then an evening flight returning you to the UK the following morning.