Selous Game Reserve
The largest protected wildlife reserve in Africa, Selous Game Reserve enjoys a stunning landscape of waterways, wetlands, verdant forest, hills and scrubland, making it a magnet for a huge variety of both wildlife and birds. Off the beaten track, it’s a wonderful reserve to escape the crowds, whether taking an exciting game drive, a relaxing boat safari or a walk in the bush.
Covering an area larger than Switzerland, Selous stretches endlessly over more than 5% of Tanzania. Its most notable feature is the Rufiji River which runs from west to east in the north of the reserve, creating a network of lakes, swamps and waterways. The delta acts as the perfect playground for hippo, elephant, crocodile and buffalo, while the lush grazing makes great hunting ground for all the predatory cats. This wonderland of waterways is also a haven for birds, with over 440 recorded species and the reserve is one of the remaining strongholds of the critically endangered African wild dog.
We love Selous for evoking a real feeling of wilderness, add to that its plentiful wildlife and it’s easy to understand why the reserve is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s more, as a reserve, Selous is not governed by the regulations of Tanzania’s other national parks, which means there are lots more safari activities to experience, such as night drives which are great for spotting nocturnal wildlife, guided walks where you can really feel you are part of this incredible wilderness and one of our favourite experiences, taking a boat safari. A boat trip allows you to get up close and personal with hippo and elephant. Great for both bird lovers and photographers, it’s a wonderful way to enjoy a relaxed safari adventure.
Just 45 minutes by air from Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, the Selous is Tanzania’s most accessible safari destination, but despite this it has never attracted the crowds that the parks of northern Tanzania experience. With just a handful of camps, you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself, which is just one of the reasons that we always savour a visit to Selous. Most camps can be found in the north, to benefit from the high concentration of game which gather around the Rufiji River and surrounding waterways. For those that prefer a wilderness experience, there are a small number of camps south of the river where you can go for days without seeing another game drive vehicle.