Selous Game Reserve

Once one of the world’s biggest game reserves, Selous has recently been split up to accommodate the new Nyerere National Park in honour of Tanzania’s first President Julius Nyerere. Together, the parks cover around 50,000 square kilometres in southern Tanzania, an area several times the size of the Serengeti.

Selous, Overview

The Selous Game Reserve is off the beaten path, and only 1% of Tanzania’s tourists visit this part of the country.

It is often seen as one of Africa’s last true wilderness areas – its savannah spans as far as you can see, and you can go days without ever seeing a car or another traveller.

One of the best sights within this game reserve is the Rufiji River, a gigantic river with a high density of crocodiles and hippos. Together with the Great Ruaha River, it creates a river delta, making for formidable game viewing and some of the most exciting boat safaris in East Africa.

Wildlife in Selous Game Reserve

Selous boasts some of the best wildlife densities in Tanzania. The reserve has hippos, buffalo, wildebeests, and zebras inhabit an area the size of Denmark.The sheer amount of prey attracts a diversity of predators including lions, as well as leopards, hyenas and crocodiles. Some rarer species include the African wild dog, of which 50% of its population live in Selous, as well as the sable and puku antelopes. Bird enthusiasts will also cherish this place, as 440 different species of bird populate this area. These can best be discovered by a boat safari.

The Best time to visit Selous

Like most national parks in Tanzania, the dry season from June to October is perfect for game viewing, as the vegetation is more sparse, making it easier to spot animals. March to May and late October to mid-December is the rainy season, which makes many of the roads impassable and animals harder to spot. For bird enthusiasts, we also recommend the shorter dry season from mid-December to March, as many migratory birds then settle in Selous. If the scarce wild dog is what you are after, June to August is perfect, as this is their denning season.

How to get to Selous Game Reserve

There are several options for reaching this remote bit of wilderness. The most convenient option is by plane from Dar es Salaam, or the next big national park, Ruaha. Dar es Salaam to Selous is about 45 minutes by small plane, while from Ruaha it would take around 90 minutes.

By car, this journey takes considerably longer but offers great views. From Dar es Salaam it is a 4-6 hour drive, and you pass by the equally stunning Mikumi National Park, getting two adventures for one.

For adventurers, there is also the unique opportunity to take the train. The TAZARA train line, running from Dar es Salaam all the way to Zambia, can be taken to Selous. The journey takes 4-5 hours and offers stunning views and a unique experience of seeing wildlife directly from the train. The train is notoriously late, so be flexible with your schedule if you choose this trasportation adventure!