The Selous Game Reserve has an area of more than 50,000 sq km making it the world’s largest conserved area excluding Polar Regions. Selous is three times bigger than the Serengeti National Park. The reserve is a World Heritage Site and covers almost 6% of Tanzania’s land. The Selous takes its name from the famous hunter and conservationist Frederick Courteney Selous who was killed in action in WW1 within the now Selous. His grave lies close to the Beho Beho Hills and can be seen on a game drive in that area.
The Selous Game Reserve is home to a high diversity of both large mammal and bird species. The Selous Game Reserve has over 60,000 elephants and 40,000 hippos. The world’s largest population of African Hunting Dogs exists in the reserve. Of Tanzania’s 1,113 different species of bird, 430 have been positively identified within the Selous Game Reserve.
The photographic tourism section of the Selous is very atmospheric, displaying the grandeur of this incredible African wilderness. The Rufiji River meanders its way through the Miombo woodland and Acacia-Terminalia savanna, connected by streams to five attractive lakes, which teem with hippo, crocodile and waterfowl.
A game drive along the network of rough roads is reliably rewarding, especially during the dry season around the lakes. Whether you are camping in the bush or staying at a lodge it is very easy to arrange a walking safari, where you will have a ranger with you at all times. A boat safari on either the lakes or the Rufiji River is a fantastic opportunity to see the wildlife and thousands birds from a different perspective. When you leave the busier Mtemere region in the east other vehicles are a rare sight and you are just as likely to pass a ranger patrol vehicle as a safari car full of visitors.
Due to its sheer size and the remoteness of the Selous Game Reserve, a minimum of three nights is recommended although one or two nights is also possible. All inclusive fly-in safaris, with game viewing activities operated by the lodges are a popular choice. Should you really want the true wild experience, choose several nights bush camping. The TAZARA Railway (Dar es Salaam to New Kipiri Mposhi in Zambia) passes through the Selous Game Reserve several times a week and is also a great mode of transport.
In the Selous
There are many lodges and campsites within the Selous Game Reserve, however recent increases in park fees make this a more expensive option. However if you are looking for pure quality of experience it is better to stump up the extra cash and stay in the heart of the Selous.
Lodges are found on the banks of the Rufiji River and in more remote hilly locations within the reserve. Because of the diversity of available accommodation and habitat we recommend a minimum stay of 3 nights in the Selous Game Reserve
One of the main attractions of a stay in central Selous is the opportunity to visit the Hot Springs, where a soothing dip in the warm waters is possible. The grave of Frederick Selous is also nearby. Lake Tagalala offers great bird watching and is also home to large pods of hippo and large, deceptively slow-moving crocodiles.
Wilderness fly camping in the Selous can only be described as the ultimate bush experience! Surrounded by 360 degrees of unspoilt woodland and grassy plains, listening to the various sounds of the bush, you will really feel like a part of the scenery. Walking safaris with a ranger through the bush of the Selous Game Reserve are always exciting, and boat safaris allow you to experience the wonders of the Selous from a different angle.
For more information on staying inside the Selous Game Reserve, visiting Lake Tagalala and the Rufiji River. Selous itineraries