A Southern Route Around the Serengeti

A highway through a World Heritage Site vs. a southern route bypassing the whole ecosystem? An alternate southern route clearly makes the most sense for Tanzania’s economy.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society has prepared a detailed presentation comparing the geographical, human, economic, educational, agricultural, and political aspects of the northern route through the Serengeti vs. two different southern routes. See the presentation:


For a cost analysis factors in the loss of tourism revenue and employment if the northern route through the Park is built. See the Economic Impact Statement on this site done by Serengeti Watch to see the real cost of the northern route.

On June 13, 2014, the German Embassy in Tanzania announced that it had finally received to go-ahead from the Tanzanian government to conduct a feasibility study for the southern route. It will be completed in 2015.

A southern route is clearly the best way, but it too must be carefully designed to avoid social and environmental impacts. The Hadza people live in this area, and their way of life as indigenous people must be respected. The Tarangire area has its own migration, and this must be respected as well. But all this can be done, while still maximizing economic benefits, with the right planning and support from donors.

What should be the exact route of the southern highway? Both the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the African Wildlife Foundation have made initial proposals.

The FZS highway would connect with existing roads and help link the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, as shown below.

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The AWF has proposed two possible southern routes, plus northern routes as well. (We feel that the northern routes will create unacceptable pressure on the northern Serengeti, as it will increase settlement, population, agriculture, and conflicts between humans and wildlife. It would also leave the door wide open for connecting the two road segments through the Park.)

Click to view larger image





There are 16 comments for this article
  1. berona at 1:32 pm

    In addition to the Southern route proposal, Tanzania can also negotiate with Kenya and both can build an alternative North Road through Kenya and thus by passing both Serengeti and the Masai Mara Section which is very small anyway? Kenya and the world can easily secure funding for the section by-passing masaai mara. In any case East Africa has just created a common market with free movement of goods and labour within the countries. There is no justification whatsoever for cutting Serengeti into two by means of an earth road, unless the main aim / driving force is to kill both tourism and the animals. This must be stopped at all costs.

    • Lyaruu at 1:49 pm

      We don't need to go to Tanzania by passing Kenya…We know this is Kenyan propaganda so that they can easily come to Serengeti via the road you're trying to propose…No Tanzanian leader can approve such rubbish…keep begging for that road to pass into Kenya until Jesus come!

  2. J Ooms at 6:07 am

    Roads bring more humans. Humans alter the environment. Serengeti will be affected. Fact, Fact, Fact. Our children may not appreciate the gamble that we take now.

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  5. Jvniekerk at 12:37 pm

    Show the people of Tanzania of the already commercialized devastation that has caused the decline of nature. There are many forests, rivers, parks that is been harmed by human interverence.

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  7. Emmanuel Msafiri at 12:22 pm

    I strongly support the Government plan. Let's think about Tanzania developement and not conservation of Serengeti to preserve nature; for whom?. Right now the communities bordering Serengeti and other parks in the north have been marginalised and very often used as tourist attraction while they gain little or nothing from the business. The main factors behind this marginalisation is absence of mixing with other societies and this is brought about by poor infrastracture currently in existence within the region. Opening up through road construction through Serengeti may see large number of people coming in that may in turn change these communities from poor into economic superpowers of Tanzania of not East Africa.

    In addition, Tanzanians want to see that their country is connected from all ends. The alternative routes suggested are but poor thinking of advocates of conservation who want to see that their organisation survive, so their jobs. The route thorugh south is will have the same impacts to nature as the one through Serengeti. Besides many communities living in this areas, there are several wildlife corridors as there are many human settements that may need be re-settled. In addition, if the Government decides to go through southern route it may not be working for the people of Tanzania. The proposed Southern route is very close to the current Dar es Salaam-Mwanza Road. Why not then abondon altogether the plan, if the direct route through Serengeti is impossible, and opt for Tabora-Kigoma or Tabora-Mbeya roads where people are desprate?

    While we think of nature conservation, let us take note of importance of human development. Apparently, we knew of global warming and its effects well in advance but still maintained polluting the sky with greenhouse gases, simply because we want human development. As Tanzanians want development, Serengeti shall never remain same as it looked two millenia ago.

    • Ferglboy at 12:52 am

      Roads don’t have to be at ground elevation, it could be elevated, it would be expensive to run above ground I know, but reasonable taxing on commercial shipping/trucking would help in the long run… It is not impossible. Wildlife would be greatly impacted during construction and special considerations would have to be implemented. Reinforced concrete can be made modular to minimize the time spent on the ground, and is relatively easy to fabricate… I wish I was an engineer…

    • David D. at 9:42 pm

      David, did you just bring race into the discussion? Why would you do that?
      I don’t agree with Emanuel’s views, but I don’t think it has anything to do with his race, more about the economic situation as he sees it. 
      And Emmanuel, try to think of the big picture. The Serengeti is a one of a kind jewel and many in your country prosper from it. Do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

  8. Boomer at 2:50 pm

    A road through the Park is simply insane. Its a simple cost / benefit analysis. The cost far outweigh the benefits. Period. Back to the drawing board to help marginalised communties.

  9. Justine at 2:03 am

    Emmanuel msafiri you are definitely out of the point here. Would you eat your roads as when tourism end in Tz ?

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