Selous Game Reserve Parks and Reserves
Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania covers over 45 000 km² 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.
* Selous Game Reserve Highlights
- ∞Huge park with relatively few visitors, giving a truly wild, African safari experience
- ∞World Heritage Site
- ∞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
- ∞Incredible birdlife, including water birds and birds of prey – over 440 species
- ∞Walking safaris, to get up-close-and-personal
- ∞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 45 000 km² of land (Africa’s largest protected reserve). No permanent human habitation is allowed throughout 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 being used for hunting and the beautiful northern section – above the Rufiji River – being reserved for photographic safaris only. This area, where no hunting is allowed, is where most tourists go.
Things to See and Do in Selous
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 a plethora of other options, so that you get 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, giving wonderful encounters with a huge variety of game coming down to drink on the banks of the river, beside the hundreds of hippos and crocs!
Walking safaris are also offered in Selous, allowing you to get as up-close-and-personal with the African bush, its animals, birds and insects, as is physically possible. There is nothing quite like the loud silence of the bush with its bird calls, insect chirps and the occasional roar of a lion.
Game drives are also offered, usually 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 dogs and plenty more! At midday, when the sun is high, both humans and animals retreat into the shade for a rest.
Fly-camping safaris are also offered in Selous, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure experience. This is the definition of bush camping, where normal tents (so don’t expect luxury!) are set up in the bush at a temporary camp site – no fences, no flush toilets or showers ... This is living in the wild: cooking food over a fire and spending evenings chatting around the campfire, staring up at the breath-taking 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 hoardes of game in the Selous Game Reserve as they gather along the river and around water sources to drink. 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’s the hot and humid season.
The heavy rains usually fall between January and April (when the birdlife is spectacular), making some roads impassable. Many of the camps close during this time as a result (March/April to May/June).
By Road: An approximately 6-hour drive from Dar es Salaam, depending on the state of the road, which, in turn, depends on the weather.
By Air: Daily flights to Selous are offered in light aircraft, from both Dar es Salaam (45 minutes) and Ruaha (90 minutes).
Before you go to Selous Game Reserve Things you should know before you go!
Malaria is a consideration in Selous Game Reserve
Learn more about malaria areas and malaria prevention with our resource article.
Malaria Areas & Prevention