Selling The Southern Tanzania

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Elephants

Hello Moses

Southern Tanzania contains two of the country’s best, yet least known, safari areas – Nyerere National Park, formerly known as Selous Game Reserve, and Ruaha National Park. Nyerere is best known for its lush landscapes and diversity of activities, including magnificent boating safaris on the Rufiji River; while Ruaha is renowned for phenomenal game viewing, entrancing baobab forests and a sense of vast wilderness. These two contrasting parks can easily be combined in an itinerary using short, internal scheduled flights, and is generally referred to as the Southern Circuit.

Today we don’t want to discuss the standard facts of location, size, seasonality and logistics — you can find all of that detailed on our Info Zone, or you can take our virtual fam trip or enrol in our Asilia Academy to learn more. Instead, we would like the opportunity to focus on why the Southern Circuit is an excellent option for every safari goer and provide you, our agent partners, with the sales tools needed to confidently sell these destinations.

Map of Southern Circuit.
Reasons the Southern Circuit appeals to first-timers as well as experienced safari goers:

  • Exclusivity: On enquiry guests often mention northern parks due to name recognition only, however they are often unaware of the actual experiences they may have. This is where an African specialist can listen, advise and offer the right safari to suit them. For example, in the same breath, guests may request a stay at Ngorongoro in August while also asking for a more exclusive, authentic safari experience. As we know a quiet Crater in peak season is unlikely, pandemic notwithstanding, therefore proposing a Southern Circuit itinerary, where there are fewer tourists and sightings are less busy, may be more in keeping with your guests’ safari expectations. Did you know that in a typical year, the Serengeti receives more than 330,000 tourists, whereas Ruaha welcomes only 6 percent, at 20,000 visitors.
  • Perfect photography: Due to fewer vehicles, the south makes the perfect location for photographers. There is no need to jostle for the best spot at sightings or Photoshop the other vehicle’s bumper out of the image afterward, as you will have the time and space to take those perfect shots.
  • Authenticity: A southern safari could be considered more authentic as the animals are less accustomed to cars and human noise so behave more naturally.
  • Price point: As the price of safaris increase, often guests do not have the budget for the ever-busy Northern Circuit. The south offers a fantastic experience at a more reasonable price point. It’s worth considering for guests who have grand visions, but a lead-in budget.
  • Availability: With visitor numbers increasing, availability in high season is becoming more scarce in the north, leading to a need to consider and educate your guests about the possibility of visiting other destinations.
  • Easy to book: The Southern Circuit is a simple flying circuit with daily scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam, the islands and the Northern Circuit. There is no need for vehicles, long drives or unknown arrival times, offering simplicity in booking as well as travelling.
  • Product: With smaller tourist numbers, there isn’t a confusing mass of product to engage with and keep your websites up to date. Rather, the Southern Circuit offers a perfectly formed range of camps and lodges with varied price points and styles offering something for everyone. Also, the majority of the suppliers in the south are well established and have been operating for many years, therefore offer consistently good service, guiding and know how to offer the best guest experience.
  • Activities: In the north there is a focus on driving which, especially for families with young children, isn’t always desirable. The south delivers a wide range of game activities including game and night drives, cultural experiences and camp talks, catch and release fishing, boat and walking safaris, with some operators also offering fly-camping, all of which result in a richer, more diverse safari experience.
  • Distinct destinations: You may think being so geographically close Ruaha and Nyerere would be similar, but far from it. They offer their visitors the perfect twin-centre safari with contrasting landscapes, animals and birds, game activities, wildlife experiences and even weather and seasons.
Wild and wide range of game activities and experiences on the Southern Circuit (clockwise from top left): Nyerere’s sundowner boat safaris with catch and release fishing, dawn game walks with our expert walking guides; Ruaha is Tanzania’s birding paradise; exclusive wildlife experiences with plenty of predators.
NYERERE NATIONAL PARK RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Previously Selous Game Reserve, in 2019 the newly named Nyerere became Tanzania’s largest national park covering 30,893 km2 — double the size of the Serengeti at only 14,763 km2 and is approximately twice the size of Costa Rica. The second largest national park to Nyerere at 20,260 km2, Ruaha is approximately 25% larger than the Serengeti with only 6% of its visitors.
Watery wonderland: Meandering streams, ox-bow lakes and swamplands alongside hot volcanic springs and open woodlands, plains and dense thicket forests. Rugged landscape: Savannah, miombo woodland, acacia forests, dry riverbeds lined with palm trees, kopjes and iconic baobabs.
Only safari destination offering boating safaris in East Africa ideal for photographing the park’s large numbers of crocodiles, hippos, water birds and animals coming to drink at the waterside. Predator paradise with leopard, cheetah, wild dog and 10% of the world’s lion population, with many forming super prides that regularly clash with the buffalo. A Big 5 battle not to be missed!
Nyerere is home to 1,300 of the world’s remaining 4,000 wild dog, as well as good predator populations of lion and leopard. With over 570 species of birds recorded, Ruaha is Tanzania’s premier birding destination. Bird lovers should travel in green season when the migratory birds return to the park.
One of the largest giraffe populations earning it the name ‘Giraffe Park’ and also home to over 300 bird species including many water birds. Renowned for large herds of elephant and buffalo, Ruaha even offers a mini-migration as the large herds search for water. As well as rare antelope sightings of roan, sable and greater and lesser kudu.
Textbook honeymoon destination for a classic bush and beach itinerary and also perfect family destination as children are able to get out of the vehicle and experience more varied activities including boating safaris, fishing, walking safaris and fly camping. A perfect destination for the safari connoisseur searching for a pure, authentic safari experience. Ruaha is still considered a new ecological frontier, with relatively recent discoveries of new species such as the kipunji monkey and Ruaha red-billed hornbill.
Tips for promoting the south and maximising the opportunity to match your clients’ expectations with their experience:

  • Put it on the map: It’s harder to sell the south if you haven’t promoted the region previously to guests through your website, blogs and webinars. Asilia can provide you with plenty of marketing collateral to ensure you are promoting the south perfectly, so when you suggest a southern itinerary, you are not selling from scratch.
  • Consider it as a different destination: We often hear, “they went to Tanzania last time and want to try a new country.” Tanzania is a destination your guests can travel to again and again with numerous circuits and experiences, so consider marketing the south differently to the north to encourage more repeat visitors.
  • Continually promote it: As you would with any destination, continually promote the south’s USPs and properties through your social media channels to fix the destination in the eyes of your guests and encourage enquiries.
  • Invest in fam trips: Travelling to the circuit yourself and selling from experience ensures you sell passionately and enthusiastically, which increases your chance to convert a booking.
  • Product training: Asilia is always here to offer you and your team full destination and camp product training, giving consultants more knowledge to sell with greater confidence.

The Southern Circuit is a hugely special itinerary, and we hope this newsletter has highlighted the extraordinarily wild, diverse and rich experiences your guests will have when traveling to Nyerere and Ruaha. As always, Asilia is on hand to help you every step of the way so please visit our Agent Space, download images, sample itineraries and information documents, as well as book your ARM for some team product training or enrol in this summer’s Asilia Academy.

Happy southern selling,
The Asilia Team

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