Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve

Selous game reserve is the biggest and oldest protected areas in Africa located in the south eastern part of Tanzania. The game reserve was gazetted in 1896 and covers a total land area of about 50,000 square kilometers comprised of vegetation types like savannah wooded grassland, Miombo woodland, shrubs, ground water forests, rocky outcrops among others which act as habitats for different wildlife species. Selous reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to its wildlife diversity and uninterrupted nature, it was named after Frederic Courtney Selous a British Explorer who was killed and buried within the reserve during the First World War.

Attractions in Selous Game Reserve

  • Wildlife, Selous game reserve is famously known for harboring a wide range of wild animals including large herds of elephants and lions, other animals like giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, buffaloes, impalas, spotted hyenas, leopards, wild dogs, sable antelopes, black rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, elands, greater kudus, hartebeests, reedbucks, warthogs among others. Animals in the game reserve can be viewed during the game drive, guided nature walk and boat safari on River Rufiji.
  • Birds, Selous reserve is a home of over 440 bird species ranging from migratory and aquatic bird species which makes it a birders paradise. The most outstanding birds to look out for include African wattled lapwing, spur winged lapwing, African spoonbill, white headed vulture, white fronted bee-eater, African skimmer, yellow billed stork, Pels fishing owl, brown headed parrot, broad billed roller, palm nut vulture, black winged stilt, thick billed cuckoo, white backed night heron, carmine bee-eater, brown breasted barbet  among others.
  • River Rufiji, this is the largest river in Tanzania and an important water body in the Selous reserve. Rufiji has two tributaries of Rivers Ruaha and Kilombero and bisects the game reserve into two different sections the northern and the southern section which harbor the largest mangrove forests and you large herds of elephants.
  • Selous Grave, Frederick Courtney Selous was a British Explorer and Conservationist who was killed in Selous game reserve during the World War and was buried within the game reserve under a tamarind tree near the place where he was killed. Selous grave is located at Beho Beho in the northern edge of Selous Wildlife reserve and it’s open for all visitors everyday with the company of a park guide.

Top things to do in Selous Game Reserve

Game drives, this is one of the interesting and popular activities that shouldn’t be missed on your safari in Selous game reserve. Game drives are best done early in the morning so as to be able to view predators before heading back to their hiding areas and in the afternoon to view animals going back to their resting places. During the game drive you will follow different game tracks in the reserve which will reward you with great views of the big five animals which include elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and black rhinos, other animals like giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impalas, elands, view colorful bird species, beautiful landscape, scenery, sunrise or sunset among others. The game drives in Selous Wildlife reserve are carried out in a comfortable 4WD pop up safari vehicle. 

Guided nature walks, Selous Wildlife reserve is one of the protected areas in Tanzania that offers the adventurous nature walk an activity that allows you to get out of the vehicle and explore the game reserve on foot. Nature walks are best done in the morning and late evening in the company of an armed park ranger who is well conversant with walking trails in the reserve. During the guided nature walk you will get close and personal with animals like giraffes, zebras, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, impala, have great views of beautiful scenery, listen to sweet birds singing in trees, enjoy the peaceful and quiet environment, take incredible pictures, breath fresh air among others.

Bird watching, Selous game reserve is a home of over 440 bird species including migratory and aquatic bird species which makes it one of the best birding areas in Tanzania. there are different bird habitats in selous game reserve such as the sandbacks, islands, lagoons, channels along the Rufiji River among others and during the birding safari bird lovers should look out for different bird species including yellow billed stork, African spoonbill, black winged stilt, African skimmer, broad billed roller, brown necked parrot, palm nut vulture, rock pratincole, white headed lapwing, yellow billed stork, thick billed cuckoo, white backed vulture, northern carmine bee-eater among others. Bird watching in Selous game reserve is best done during the boat safari on River Rufiji.

Boat Safaris, this is one of the amazing activities in Selous Wildlife reserve and boat safaris are carried out on River Rufiji a river that bisects the reserve into two sections. During the boat safari on the river you will have spectacular views of beautiful scenery, animals like hippos and crocodiles in water, other animals like elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs among others drinking water along the water banks, view aquatic bird species like fish eagles, kingfishers, herons, bee-eaters among others.

Sport fishing, Selous game reserve is one of the protected areas in Tanzania that offer sport fishing activity which is carried out on the rivers and lakes with an experienced guide. During the exciting sport fishing activity you will be able to catch different fish types such as tiger fish which is the most common, cat fish among others.

Where to stay on your safari in Selous Wildlife Reserve

There are a number of accommodations ranging from luxury, midrange, budget and campsites in Selous game reserve where you can stay during your safari and they include Beho Beho luxury lodge, Mivumo River lodge, Sable Mountain lodge, Selous Serena camp, Roho Ya Selous camp, Lake Manze camp, Selous Impala camp, Siwandu camp, The Retreat tented lodge, Selous Mbuyu Safari camp, Rufiji River camp, Selous River camp, Selous Ngalawa camp, Africa Safari camp, Selous Wilderness camp, Selous Mbega camp, Selous Kulinda camp, Jimbiza lodge, Sand Rivers Selous among others.

Best time to visit Selous Wildlife Reserve

Selous game reserve can be visited all year round thought the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to October and because during this time there is less rainfall which means that access roads to the game reserve will be passable, vegetations will be short which allows you to clearly view wildlife and animals will gather around the water bodies to drink water which gives you an opportunity to view large concentrations of animals.

The game reserve can also be visited during the rainy season in the months of March to May and November because the rainy season is the best time for bird watching in that you will be able to view migratory bird species.

How to get to Selous Game Reserve

Selous game reserve can be accessed by three modes of transport that is road, air and railway.

Road transport, when using road transport means you will drive from Dar es Salaam to Selous Wildlife reserve, though the road is bumpy and may take a whole day drive you will great views of tall palms, hilly areas, lush grasslands and an optional stopover at Mikumi national park on the way. You can also use another route of passing through Morogoro to Selous Wildlife reserve with views of rural villages in Tanzania. 

Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve

Air transport, this is one of the quickest means on transport to Selous Wildlife reserve compared to road and rail. There are scheduled and charter flights that depart from Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar to an airstrip in Selous game reserve. Flights to Selous can be arranged by your tour operator.

Rail transport, Selous game reserve can also be accessed by rail through the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA). The railway starts from Dar es Salaam through the bush routes to Selous game reserve which takes about four to five hours. On the way you will be able to enjoy bush lands, rural landscapes in Tanzania among others.  

For great experiences, exciting moments and spectacular wildlife views Selous game reserve is an ideal destination to visit therefore for more information about Selous you can contact Focus East Africa Tours.

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