Selous Game Reserve

Vast, pristine and largely undiscovered, the spectacular Selous Game Reserve is a World Heritage Site and the largest expanse of game reserve in Africa. Covering 55,000 square kilometers of rolling savannah, lakes, rivers and deltas, it is four times the size of the Serengeti and larger than the entire nation of Switzerland. Home to the largest concentrations of elephants in the world, this unique wildlife arena also boasts some of the most exclusive and pioneering boating safaris that Africa has to offer.

Fed by the mighty Rufiji River, the largest river in East Africa which drains most of South Western Tanzania’s water, this reserve is home to over 1,000,000 large animals and is home to over half of Tanzania’s elephant population. Selous is unique among reserves in Tanzania as it encompasses an area exclusively devoted to tourism in its Northern part, making up for about 10% of the reserve’s total size.  This sector North of the Rufiji River is mostly open wooded grassland and is dominated by Terminalia spinosa trees – ‘flat topped’ trees, in classic African fashion. However this section of the reserve is unusually diverse, comprising dense hardwood forests in the East, open plains in the centre, and rocky arid hills and volcanic springs in the West.


The part of Selous, north of the Rufiji River, open to the public, is particularly scenic. The main wildlife viewing circuit follows a string of 5 lakes connected to each other and the Rufiji River by small streams. The Rufiji is one of Africa’s great rivers with palm fringed channels and swampy islets. The major attractions, mighty river itself, home to one of the largest crocodile and hippo populations in Africa, swarming with fish which in turn bring about some of the world’s best water birding. The River has also formed several large lakes on its Northern bank, navigable by boat. Siwandu (formerly Selous Safari Camp) is situated on one of these lakes, sheltered in a grove of one of Selous’ many beautiful palm forests.


This wonderfully diverse, vast and well watered habitat has the right ingredients to enable the land to hold an unusually high number of animals of all shapes and sizes as well as support an extraordinary array of different vegetation types.  Selous has over 2,100 species of plants, 350 species of birds, 60,000 elephant, 108,000 buffalos and an estimated 1,300 of the worlds’ approximately 4,000 remaining rare wild dogs giving guests an opportunity to glimpse all of these exotic animals in true un spoilt wilderness. Wild dogs are one of the main attractions in the Selous. The park is also home to several unusual antelope species like sable and puku. Black rhino is rare but can sometimes be tracked down in some remote areas.

Best time for wildlife viewing

The dry season from June to October is the best time for game viewing in the park. Wildlife is easier to spot because vegetation is thinner and animals gather around reliable water resources.

Selous Highlight include

  • Rare and endangered Wild Dog
  •  Boat game viewing
  • Fishing
  • Thousands of migrating elephants
  • Walking safaris
  • Scenic vast wilderness

Selous Game Reserve : Where to stay

The Selous is home to three of the finest camps in Tanzania, a couple of which would stake their claim as the finest in Africa.

Getting to Selous Game Reserve:

By Air: There are daily schedule flights from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar to the Selous Game Reserve and return. Charter flights can be arranged as well even from Arusha town.  The airstrip includes Mtemere Airstrip near Eastern entrance and to the North-western entrance to the Selous Game Reserve is called MATAMBWE AIRSTRIP.

Another option is to drive to Selous from Dar es Salaam on a road safari, but the trip is bumpy and uncomfortable and will take a full day. During the rainy season the road is inaccessible.


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