Often overlooked by many safari operators in favor of the northern parks, the southern parks of the Selous and Ruaha are worth serious consideration and are the preferred destination for most who are really keen on their safari. The benefits of heading to the south is that, where the very north of the Serengeti gives the numbers of game, along with some seclusion, the southern parks are still very much “frontier” parks and so are noticeably less busy (they also feature the same spread of species as the north, but more like a thousand, rather than 2 million).
Tanzania’s Southern Highlands officially begin at Makambako Gap, about halfway between Iringa and Mbeya, and extend southwards into Malawi. Here the term encompasses the entire region along the mountainous chain running between Morogoro in the east and Lake Nyasa and the Zambian border in the west.
Unlike the road based itineraries to the northern parks, the southern parks of the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park are easily accessed by small plane with the Selous being around a 30 minute flight from Dar es Salaam, and Ruaha being another hour and half on from there