Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve is one of its most scenic wildlife destinations; the Selous Game Reserve was designated Nyerere National Park in 2019. It is utterly beautiful. The beauty of the park is matched by the quality of a safari here; boating, walking and tent camping compliment standard game driving in thriving wildlife areas. This is an outrageously good safari park and an essential component of any southern circuit itinerary.
About the Park
Situated in southern Tanzania, bordered by Mikumi National Park to the north-west and by Udzungwa Mountains National Park to the west.
55,000 sq km (almost 6% of Tanzania’s land surface)
When to go
What to do
Though the reserve is huge, there is only a small area in the northern zone of the park is open for tourism. This is commonly called the “photographic” zone and offers wonderful picture-taking opportunities.
The pristine Selous Game Reserve, a World Heritage Site since 1982, is the largest tract of protected wet wilderness area in the world. At 55,000 square kilometers, it makes up almost 6% of Tanzania’s land surface. Larger than Switzerland, it is the world’s largest game reserve and second only to the Serengeti in its concentration of wildlife.
Selous was originally created in 1905 for hunters who came to the country after the huge herds of elephants populating southern Tanzania. After the country achieved its independence, the first president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, placed a high priority on the conservation and protection of wildlife.
Selous is a remote area, and so there are fewer tourists than in other areas. Game walks and boat safaris on the Rufiji River offer a look at the incredible number of crocodiles, hippos, and elephants that live in the area. At the most recent count, there were 60,000 elephants in the park. This accounts for over 50% of all of the elephants in Tanzania. Bird watchers will delight in visiting – there are more than 430 bird species positively identified here.