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As of 2019 TANAPA (Tanzania’s National Park Authority) announced a change to the name for the northern sector of the Selous to Nyerere National Park, in honour of Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere (1922-1999).
The Selous (pronounced seloo) is one of the largest wildlife reserves in the world and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The game reserve is home to a a wealth of wildlife that’s sure to impress.
Covering an area of around 50,000 square kilometres, Selous is inhabited by diverse and largely undisturbed wildlife, including large populations of elephants, hippos, lions, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, wild dogs and crocodiles. These populations are larger than any other national park or game reserve in the whole of Africa.
The park is cut in half by the Rufiji River, which offers stunning riverside scenery as well as ample wildlife watching opportunities, as this is the reserve’s main water source. North of the river is open to tourism, while around 90% of the reserve to the south is mostly zoned for hunting, this is not something that Wayfairer has ever or will ever arrange.
You can explore the Selous on a walking safari (including hikes with an overnight stay at a fly camp, where you can sleep underneath the stars), boat safari on the river or lakes, as well as game drives in open safari vehicles (something that isn’t possible in some of Tanzania’s northern parks).
Covering a mammoth 5% of Tanzania’s land surface, Selous Game Reserve is three times the size of Kruger in South Africa and twice the size of the Serengeti in the north of Tanzania, yet it’s one of Africa’s least visited reserves and one of the region’s last remaining hidden gems.
A visit to Selous is ideal for those looking for an authentic East African safari and the opportunity for unique wildlife encounters on foot, by jeep and across the water.
Selous Game Reserve is best visited in the dry season, which is usually peak season. However, with so few visitors in comparison to Tanzania’s more popular national parks and reserves, you certainly won’t be encountering crowds of tourists during this time. Many of the camps close between mid-March and June which is the height of the rainy season.
Game viewing is better the later in the season your visit is, with the best time of year being between July and October. However, if you’re looking to travel outside of this time, be assured that game viewing is still very good and wildlife is highly concentrated enough in the reserve that wildlife encounters can be good all year round.
We include time in Selous Game Reserve on our Remote Tanzania: Safari & Beach itinerary, Family Tanzania Safari as well as our Selous & Zanzibar Holiday. They all feature either three or four nights and plenty of choice for walking, driving and boat safaris. If you’d like to spend more time in Selous, or if you’d like to add Selous onto your tailor made Tanzania safari itinerary, let us know and we can arrange this for you.
In our Selous Game Reserve itineraries, we feature some of our favourite camps. Selous Serena Camp, part of the luxury Serena hotel family, is located on the Simbazi River with luxury tented accommodation, bar and spa facilities, and a stunning infinity pool. Siwandu is tucked away in the open palm forest next to Lake Nzerakera, where animals come to drink at the water’s edge. The rustic Lake Manze occupies a prime location overlooked a lake sharing its name, it is a no frills camp suited to those looking for an authentic wilderness experience.