Contrasting the Northern and Southern Safari Circuits : If you asked me to tell you just one thrilling safari destination in Africa, I don’t have to think twice, I will just name Tanzania. Whether it is your first time to be there or you have visited it several times, Tanzania is a breathtaking tourist spot where you won’t regret being there. Tanzania is endowed with exotic attractions that will leave you with an aesthetic experience once you have an adventurous journey in this fabulous country.

The main challenge that troubles most safari-goers when planning a safari to Tanzania is choice of destination to land especially the terms “Northern circuit” and “Southern circuit”. Tanzania has a number of attractions situated in almost every corner inside her border. The safari zones are divided into the so-called Northern Circuit which is the northern part of Tanzania, and the Southern Circuit which extends to the southern part of Tanzania. These safari zones are enriched with amazing attractions. Well! What differentiates these two safari circuits? Let’s see the differences between them;

Tourist destinations

The Northern Circuit hosts some picturesque destinations like the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Arusha National Park and magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro. The Southern Circuit comprises of remote and virgin parks and reserves like Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Mikumi National Park, Katavi National Park, Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Mahale Mountains National Park and the alluring Kitulo National Park. 

Experiences on safari

Another difference is on the safari experiences in the two circuits. The Northern Circuit is endowed with fascinating attractions that draw the interests of lots of nature lovers around the globe. If you want to have an aesthetic experience of trekking the Great Migration (world’s biggest annual migration of mammals), Serengeti is your perfect stop. Fans of this spectacular event always book their safari in the Northern Circuit. Ngorongoro Crater is another dazzling spot for nature lovers. It is the world’s largest unbroken caldera in the world and the home of a diverse species of wild animals. The Northern Circuit is home to the famous Big Five animals which include lion, elephant, black rhino, buffalo and leopard. They are always encountered in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater. The Northern Circuit is also a paradise for hikers and mountain climbers. Magnificent mountains like the challenging snow-caped Mount Kilimanjaro and its little wild brother Mount Meru not to mention the active volcanic mountain, Ol Doinyo Mountain, are excellent destinations for climbers.

The Southern Circuit is enriched with virgin, untouched and off-season destinations where you will enjoy the beauties of nature like the mighty Ruaha River, Udzungwa Mountains and the greatest game reserve in Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve. Contrary to the Northern circuit which is perfect place for visiting world-famous destinations, the Southern Circuit is perfect place for photographic safaris. 

Activities to do on a safari

You can enjoy doing once-in-a-lifetime activities in the Northern Circuit which include trekking the Great Migration, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, seeing the Big Five, canoeing in Lake Manyara and Lake Natron and birding in the Tarangire National Park. Unfortunately, night game drives are highly prohibited in the Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Park. Other activities like walking safaris are also restricted in the Tarangire and most of the areas in Serengeti parks. Moreover, water sports are also not allowed in Ngorongoro Crater’s Lake Magadi.

You have a number of activities to do in the Southern Circuit because most activities are permitted. Night game drives which are restricted in some parks in the Northern Circuit are permitted in the Southern Circuit. You can therefore enjoy viewing the nocturnal species in the night. Walking safaris are also permitted. You will enjoy stepping on the African wilderness while viewing vegetation, birds and small animals.

Contrasting the Northern and Southern Safari Circuits
Walking Safaris


Accessing the Northern Circuit is very easy as the region has the state-of-art airports and classic airstrips for visitors to land. International visitors can land on the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which receives hundreds of international and intercontinental flights. For visitors who land on the Juluis Kambarage International Airport (DAR) can book a flight to Arusha Airport (ARK) or to various airstrips inside the Serengeti (Grumeti (GTZ) and Seronera (SEU)) and other parks of the Northern Circuit. There are also a number of flights from Kisauni Airport (ZNZ) in Zanzibar to the Northern Circuit destinations.

The Southern Circuit is mainly accessible by road and train. Flights are present from various locations to regional airports like Songwe Airport in Mbeya. Most destinations in the Southern Circuit are reachable by road transport on either public or private buses. There are some expensive chartered flights to Selous Game Reserve and its neighboring Ruaha National Park.

Generally speaking, the Northern and Southern circuit offers unique experiences to all visitors who choose to be destined to these enchanting regions. You won’t regret being in these two blocks of Tanzanian safari. Consider having a trip to these places. 

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