Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania covers over 45,000km² and is one of the country's three World Heritage Sites. The reserve is world-renowned for its unspoilt bush and vast numbers of game, including elephant, lion, hippo and over 440 species of bird. Incredible scenery and the option to enjoy the African bush not only on game drives but game walks and boating safaris, too, make Selous an incredible safari destination.

  • Huge park with relatively few visitors, giving a truly wild, African safari experience
  • World Heritage Site
  • A diverse range of habitats and animals
  • Boating safaris through the waterways of the magnificent Rufiji River
  • Prolific wildlife, including over 120,000 buffalo, 100,000 wildebeest and 4,000 lion
  • Fly-camping safaris
  • Over 440 species of incredible birdlife, including waterbirds and birds of prey
  • Walking safaris to experience the bush from a close and personal perspective
  • A wide range of accommodation from basic camping to high-end lodges

Named after the famous hunter and conservationist, Sir Frederick Selous, the Selous Game Reserve covers over 45,00 km² of land, making it Africa's largest protected reserve. No permanent human habitation is allowed in the area, ensuring that the landscape and its abundance of game have remained undisturbed since it was first designated as protected land in 1896.

The area is made up of a number of concessions. The southern section is used for hunting and the beautiful northern section above the Rufiji River is reserved for photographic safaris only. This area, known as Nyerere and where no hunting is permitted, is where most tourists go.

Things to see and do in Selous Game Reserve

One of the most wonderful things about Selous is the range of safari activities offered in the reserve. Here, you are not limited to game drives, but have a choice of other options, too, affording you the best safari experience possible.

The magnificent Rufiji River bisects the park in the north as it makes its way to the Indian Ocean. It provides a number of beautiful waterways along which boat safaris are offered. Boat safaris provide wonderful encounters with a huge variety of game coming down to drink on the river banks amongst hundreds of hippo and crocodile.

Walking safaris are also offered in Selous, allowing you to get close and personal with the African bush, its animals, birds and insects. There is nothing quite like the loud silence of the bush with its bird calls, insect chirps and the occasional roar of a lion.

Selous Tanzania Bush walk Azura Selous Game Reserve Camp

Exploring Selous on foot

(Image: Azura Selous Game Reserve Camp)

Game drives are offered in the cool early morning and again as the sun sets in the evenings when you're most likely to see the Big Five, a vast number of antelope species, giraffe, zebra, warthog, African wild dog and plenty more! At midday, when the sun is high, humans and animals retreat into the shade for a rest.

Fly-camping safaris are available in Selous as well for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure experience. This is the definition of bush camping and all about living in the wild. Tents are set up in the bush at a temporary campsite so there are no fences, no flush toilets and no showers. This is about cooking food over a fire and spending evenings chatting around the campfire, staring up at the breathtaking African night sky and listening to the nocturnal calls of wild animals. Fly-camping can, depending on fitness levels, also include lengthy walks between camps.

Best time to visit

The dry season is the best time to see loads of game in the Selous Game Reserve as they gather along the river and around water sources to drink. The dry season is usually between June and November. Good game viewing is possible from December to February – ask our consultants where to go for the best sightings – but it is hot and humid.

The heavy rains usually fall between January and April when the birdlife is spectacular, making some roads impassable. As a result, many camps close from March/April to May/June.

Getting there

By road - The approximately six-hour drive from Dar es Salaam depends on the state of the road which, in turn, depends on the weather.

By air - Daily flights to Selous Airstrip are offered in light aircraft from Dar es Salaam (45 minutes) and Ruaha (90 minutes).

Rufiji River Camp
Rufiji River Camp - Selous Game Reserve - Tanzania

Perched upon the banks of the beautiful Rufiji River, this tented camp in Selous Game Reserve offers spectacular views across the hippo-filled river. Visitors are not only treated to game drives but boating safaris, safari walks and fly-camping, too. This is truly wild, untamed Africa, in an area rich with game.

Siwandu Safari Camp

Popular tented camp among trees on the banks of River Rufiji in an area that supports the highest concentration of bird and wildlife in Selous Game Reserve.

Sand Rivers Selous

Popular safari lodge with views of River Rufiji from 5 cottages built on stilts.

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