Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is located in the southeastern part of the country. It is the oldest and largest protected area on the Africa Continent and the second largest national park in the world. The game reserve was gazetted as a national park in 1896 and declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to its undisturbed nature and diversity of wildlife species. 

Selous Game Reserve

Selous game reserve in Tanzania covers a total area of 55,000 square kilometers which makes it the largest game reserve in Africa that is four times bigger than Serengeti national park.  This game reserve is blessed with diverse landscape including the hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes and river channels such as RufiJi rivers and the great Rhuha, diverse wildlife species including high concentration of elephants, lions, black rhinos, crocodiles, hippos, elands, greater kudus, waterbucks, sable antelopes, African wild dogs, spotted hyenas, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, reedbucks, various bird species plants, reptiles among others. 

Attractions in Selous game reserve in Tanzania.

Channels and Rivers

Selous game reserve in Tanzania is blessed with diverse landscapes from hot volcanic springs to sporadic lakes like Lake Tagalala, Lake Manze, Lake Nzerakera, Siwandu and channels from the great Rhaha and Rufiji River which flows through the game reserve.


The game reserve is home to the largest concentration of elephants in the world which are about 110,000, 40,000 hippos, 25,000 impalas, 35,000 zebras, 4,000lion, 120,000 – 150,000 buffaloes and other wildlife species such as the black rhinos, hunting dogs, cheetah which are rarely seen, hartebeests, greater kudus, saddle antelopes, elands, reedbucks, bushbucks, waterbucks, warthogs, giraffes, wildebeest, leopards, spotted hyena, endangered species like the African wild dogs, Nyasaland gnu, brindled gnu, reptiles like crocodiles, lizards, snakes among others.


Selous game reserve in Tanzania is a home to over 440 bird species which makes it one of the best destinations for birding safaris in Tanzania. Birds in the game reserve can be viewed along the river banks of Rufiji River and they include yellow billed stork, palm nut vulture, African skimmer, African wattled lapwing, white fronted bee-eater, spur winged lapwing, pels fishing owl, broad billed roller, brown headed parrot, thick billed cuckoo, and white backed night heron among others.

Selous Game Reserve


There are different types of vegetation in Selous game reserve in Tanzania such as; savanna wooded grassland, and Miombo woodland among others

Selous grave, on your safari in the game reserve you can visit the Selous grave where the British explorer who was killed during the World War 1 was buried and the game reserve was named after Selous the conservationist and British explorer.

Activities in Selous game reserve in Tanzania.

Game drives

Game drives in Selous game reserve in Tanzania give the visitor an opportunity to explore the beautiful scenery and wildlife in the park while in the comfort of a safari vehicle. Game drives in the game reserve usually start in the morning following various tracks like Rufiji river area which runs through the game reserve. You can go for a full day game drive in the park which gives you an opportunity to explore all the areas. Game drives in the park are best done with a park guide who will show you various wildlife species including giraffes, elephants, African wild dogs, waterbucks, buffaloes, zebras, impala, lions, leopards, bushbucks, elands and some bird species along the river banks.


Guided Nature walks

This is an adventurous activity in the park which gives you an opportunity to move on foot as you explore and enjoy the cool breeze, nature, breath fresh air among others. Guided nature walks in Selous game reserve in Tanzania takes about 2 to 3 hours and it’s done with the help of an armed park ranger who will offer protection as well as conversant with the trails to use for example sandbanks, Rufiji river, riverine forest among others. Guided nature walks in Selous game reserve start from Mtemere gate and they are limited to 6 people per group. During the guided nature walk, you will have spectacular views of the landscapes, plants, vegetation, a close look on the animals like zebras, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and listen to sweet sounds of the birds among others.

Boat cruise in Selous

Boat cruise in Selous is conducted on Rufiji River. On your boat safari, you will have an opportunity of cruising near water animals like hippos, crocodiles, and other animals which will be viewed along the water banks because Rufiji river attract large concentration of animals which come to drink water such as the elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and bird species like the Egyptian geese, fish eagle, fishing owl, white backed heron, flamingo orange orb among others. you can go for a half day boat cruise which takes about 2 to 3 hours or a full day boat safari which takes about 6 to 8 hours and on the full day boat cruise you can either return to the lodge for lunch or have it on the boat as you enjoy great views of the animals, birds and beautiful views of the sunset.

Bird watching

The reserve is one of the listed best birding destinations in Tanzania because it harbors over 440 bird species including migratory birds, forest birds among other. There are various habitats of birds in the game reserve such as the lake channels, sandbanks, lagoons, islands, Rufiji River among others. birders can view different bird species during the walking safari and boat cruise on Rufiji river therefore on your birding safari you can look out for bird species such as the African spoonbill, African wattled lapwing, white fronted bee-eater, black winged stilt, brown headed parrot, African skimmer, pels fishing owl, rock pratincole, thick billed cuckoo, broad billed roller, yellow billed stork, white backed vulture, white fronted plover, racket tailed roller, mangrove kingfisher, green billed coucal, long tailed fiscal, red winged warbler, wattle eyed flycatcher, yellow bellied bulbul among others.

Cultural encounters

Cultural encounters in Selous game drive give visitors an opportunity to interact with the people in the surrounding communities. Visitors on a cultural tour in Selous game reserve take you to Mloka village which is situated down the river from Selous river camp. Alternatively, you can visit Mwaseni village where you will see their local houses designed using local mud, visit the schools in the community, view craft shops and villagers carrying out their daily activities such as grinding, farming, fetching water among others.

Accommodation in Selous game reserve.

There are a number of accommodations where you can stay on your safari in Selous game reserve and they range from luxury, midrange and budget. The accommodations include  Sand Rivers Selous, Selous River Camp, Siwandu Safari Camp, Selous Wilderness Camp, Selous Impala Camp, Selous Riverside Safari Camp, Selous Mbuyu Safari Camp, Rufiji River Camp, Selous Kinga Lodge, Retreat Selous Camp, Selous Great Water Lodge, Sable Mountain Lodge, Kiba Point Safari Lodge, Mivumo River Lodge, Beho Beho Selous, Selous Serena Camp, Amara Selous, Selous Ngalawa Camp, Roho Ya Selous Camp, Jimbiza Lodge, Africa Safari Camp, Selous Mbega Camp  among others.  

Best Time to visit Selous game reserve in Tanzania.

The reserve in Tanzania can be visited throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the game reserve therefore the shrubs and bushes will be short which enables you to clearly view wild animals in the park, access roads to the game reserve will be passable and most of the animals will gather around the water bodies such as Rufiji river to drink water.

How to get to Selous game reserve in Tanzania.

Selous game reserve in Tanzania can either be accessed by road, air or railway transport means

Road transport, when using road transport you will fly to Julius Nyerere international airport in Dar es Salaam and then connect by road to Selous game reserve. The road is bumpy and might take a full day drive to reach the park headquarters.

Air transport, there are various domestic flights such as Air Tanzania, Regional Air, Zanair, Precision Air, Safari Air Link, Coastal Aviation which operate charter flights from Dar es Salaam to Selous game reserve and the flights can be booked by your tour operator.

There are a number of scheduled departure flights from Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Zanzibar to Selous game reserve. 

Railroad, Selous can also be accessed by TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway) railroad system. The railroad starts from Dar es Salaam to the rail stop in Mtambwe and then connect to Selous park headquarters. When using railroad you will have great views of the landscapes, bushes and the journey takes about 4 to 5 hours.

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