Selous National Park

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected game reserve on the African continent covering an area of 54,600 square kilometers comprised of a vast wilderness with forests, grassy plains, mountains and open woodlands. The reserve is located in the southern part of Tanzania along the southern Tanzania safari circuit and offers the best escape from the large tourist crowds in the northern safari destinations like Serengeti while offering you a remarkable wildlife experience. It is considered to be among the hidden gems in the country and offers a wide range of Selous Game Reserve Camps for accommodation. The reserve is located about 219 kilometers from the busy city of Dar es salaam and may take about 4 hours’ drive. Selous Game Reserve has a new name, Nyerere National Park.


Selous Game Reserve is crossed by River Rufiji (which is the largest river in the country) in the center and forms a network of swamps, channels and lakes to create a unique ecological system. The reserve is separated into 2 major sections by the river which are the northern and southern Selous.

The Northern Selous: this region covers just about 5% of the total area of the reserve and hunting is completely prohibited in this area, which has been exclusively set aside for photographic safaris.

The southern Selous: the southern part of the river is separated into various hunting blocks each covering an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometers however we emphasize that we do not operate or even support wildlife hunting.


There are a number of wildlife mammals found within this national reserve among which are: approximately 145,000 buffalos, 4,000 Lions, 100,000 wildebeests, large hands of giraffes, 35000 zebras, 40000 hippos, 250,000 impalas, large numbers of Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, waterbucks, elands and bushbucks. In addition to leopards, crocodiles and hyenas, the reserve is among the few wildlife sanctuaries on the African continent where you will find the puku antelopes, the African wild dogs as well as the sable antelope. Previously the Selous was home to a very large number of elephants but because of excessive poaching these numbers have greatly reduced.

This game reserves is also a home to over 445 different bird species  and these have been recorded to live in the various habitats within the reserve for instance along the lake areas are the giant kingfishers, the pink backed pelican as well as the African skimmer; along the sandbanks you will see the white-fronted bee-eater, fish eagle, carmine, ibises and palmnut vultures. The purple-crested turaco, yellow-billed stork, trumpeter hornbill, white-crowned spur-winged plovers, malachite kingfishers and various small waders are among the other water birds, as well various migrant species all visible.

What to do in Selous National Park

During your Selous Safari Holiday there are a number of different activities you can engage in that will surely offer you a very memorable experience while in Africa as highlighted below.


Game Drives/ Viewing

This is one of the interesting and popular activities that shouldn’t be missed on your safari in Selous game reserve. Game drives are best done early in the morning so as to be able to view predators before heading back to their hiding areas and in the afternoon to view animals going back to their resting places. During the game drive you will follow different game tracks in the reserve which will reward you with great views of the big five animals which include elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and black rhinos, other animals like giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impalas, elands, view colorful bird species, beautiful landscape, scenery, sunrise or sunset among others.

Wildlife is much easier to watch during the dry season, when the animals gather at water points to queue their thirst.


Guided nature walks

Selous Wildlife reserve is one of the protected areas in Tanzania that offers the adventurous nature walk an activity that allows you to get out of the vehicle and explore the game reserve on foot. Nature walks are best done in the morning and late evening in the company of an armed park ranger who is well conversant with walking trails in the reserve. During the guided nature walk you will get close and personal with animals like giraffes, zebras, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, impala, have great views of beautiful scenery, listen to sweet birds singing in trees, enjoy the peaceful and quiet environment, take incredible pictures, breath fresh air among others.


Bird watching

Selous game reserve is a home of over 440 bird species including migratory and aquatic bird species making it one of the best birding areas in Tanzania. There are different bird habitats in Selous game reserve such as the sand backs, islands, lagoons, channels along the Rufiji River among others. During the birding safari bird lovers should look out for different bird species including yellow billed stork, African spoonbill, black winged stilt, African skimmer, broad billed roller, brown necked parrot, palm nut vulture, rock pratincole, white headed lapwing, yellow billed stork, thick billed cuckoo, white backed vulture, northern carmine bee-eater among others. Bird watching in Selous game reserve is best done during the boat safari on River Rufiji.


Boat Safaris

This is one of the amazing activities in Selous Wildlife reserve and boat safaris is carried out on River Rufiji that bisects the reserve into two sections. During the boat safari, you will have spectacular views of beautiful scenery, aquatic animal’s, aquatic bird species like fish eagles, kingfishers, herons, bee-eaters, hippos and crocodiles among others. Other animals to look out for include elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs among others drinking water along the water banks.


Selous Fly-Camping Tours

For the more adventurous holidaymakers, you can set out on the Selous fly-camping safaris, which are organized by a number of camps. These adventures involve sleeping out in the African wilderness in basic tents under a mosquito net. These adventures are more suited for those who can do without so much comfort.


Hot Air Balloon Safaris

In Tanzania Hot Air Balloon Safaris are conducted only in the renowned Serengeti National Park found on the northern safari circuit as well as in the vast Selous Reserve in the southern part of the country offering visitors an aerial view of the plains below as you marvel at the different wild animals in the reserve.


Sport fishing

Selous game reserve is one of the protected areas in Tanzania that offer sport fishing activity. During the exciting sport fishing activity, you will be able to catch different fish types such as tiger fish, which is the most common, catfish among others.

WhEN TO VISIT Selous National Park

The best time to visit Selous Game Reserve is from June to October, which also ranks as the peak tourist season in Tanzania.

Being a classic dry park, Selous has remarkable game viewing opportunities that gradually get even better in the later times of the dry season. Wildlife is much easier to watch during the dry season, when the animals gather at water points and also at this time of the year, the vegetation is generally thinner. Wildlife viewing in Selous game reserve is therefore best during this time as is easier to view the animals since they gather around the waterholes and rivers.


From November to May and December, the Selous game reserve is experiencing the wet season bringing about fascinating scenery that is green with large amounts of rains and this is the low tourist season in Tanzania.

In the low season months of March, April and May when the reserve is wettest, the prices of safaris to the Selous might be lowered in order to attract tourist. Bird watching in the Selous is at its peak as the migratory birds are present which implies that this is the best time to enjoy a Tanzania Birding Tour.

HOW TO GET To Selous National Park

Selous game reserve can be accessed by three modes of transport that is road, air and railway.

Road Transport, when using road transport means you will drive from Dar es Salaam to Selous Wildlife reserve, though the road is bumpy and may take a whole day drive you will have great views of tall palms, hilly areas, lush grasslands and an optional stopover at Mikumi national park on the way. You can also use another route of passing through Morogoro to Selous Wildlife reserve with views of rural villages in Tanzania.

Air Transport, this is one of the quickest means of transport to Selous Wildlife reserve compared to road and rail. There are scheduled and charter flights that depart from Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar to an airstrip in Selous game reserve.

Rail Transport, Selous game reserve can also be accessed by rail through the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA). The railway starts from Dar es Salaam through the bush routes to Selous game reserve, which takes about 4 to 5 hours. On the way, you will be able to enjoy bush lands, rural landscapes in Tanzania among others.

For great experiences, exciting moments and spectacular wildlife views Selous game reserve is an ideal destination to visit therefore for more information about Selous you can contact Hotana Safaris.