The Selous Game Reserve, is a vast, 48,000-sq-km wilderness area, twice the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park and greater than the size of Switzerland. Located in the Rufiji River Basin, at the heart of southern Tanzania. It is Africa’s largest wildlife reserve, although only a small northern portion is allocated for tourism – access to the southern region is strictly prohibited. In 2019, the Nyerere National Park was established in the reserve, which is currently the largest national park in Africa and covers an area of over 30,000 square kilometers.
Selous is a majestic place in which to see Wildlife; very rich in animals and beautiful landscapes with hills and the rivers Rufiji, Kilombero, and Luwegu and their flooding areas. Animals and Landscapes are what we come on Safari to see – and this Reserve certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Selous is the only place where you can do an off-road safari, get off the road, and go closer to the animals.
The Selous Nature Reserve is one of the oldest protected wildlife areas in Africa and was declared a protected area in 1896, in 1982. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Selous Game Reserve is one of the few places where land and river safaris can be combined. (Rufiji River). And it’s not as crowded as the northern part. The Rufiji River with its lagoons, sandy shores and lakes, and the surrounding forests and forests that make up the northern, accessible part of the Selous Nature Reserve, create a very unusual safari environment. Selous is often compared to Serengeti. There you will find a large number of elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, lions, hippos and crocodiles and a particularly interesting and colorful assortment of over 440 known species of birds and a healthy population of African hunting dogs.
The Selous Game Reserve is relatively undisturbed by human influence. The park has many vegetation zones, from dense thickets to open forested meadows. The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest preserved wilderness areas in Africa, characterized by a relatively undisturbed ecological and biological process, including a variety of species of wild animals with significant predator/prey relationships. The reserve contains a large variety of types of vegetation, including rocky hills covered with acacia, gallery and dirt forests, swamps, and lowland rainforests.
The name of the park was given in 1922 from the hunter, writer and researcher Captain Frederick Courtenay Selous, who was killed in the Sugar Mountain reserve in Beho Beho, in the fight against Germany during the First World War. His name is generally pronounced in French, without the last “s” – “seloo” – and that’s how the park’s name is pronounced today. Selous was the son of the president of the London Stock Exchange. He graduated from public school and became fascinated by Africa, inspired by Livingstone’s writings. In 1871, despite the family who wanted him to become a doctor, he left for South Africa and began living there.
Selous was called “the largest of the white hunters”; he was distinguished among other expatriates by his great interest in nature and the preaching of early theories about nature protection and history – which did not prevent him from his career as a hunter. He had extraordinary skills as a hunter and hunter, and began to use them by organizing safaris; in 1909 he organized an extravagant hunting safari for Roosevelt and the retinue.
When the First World War began, retired Captain F.C. Selous felt he could contribute to war in East Africa. He joined the 25 Royal Fusiliers in Nairobi and chased German troops retreating through southern Tanzania. Even during this arduous pursuit, every night when his people went to their tents, Selous disappeared into the bushes with his butterfly net to collect specimens. The captain was 64 years old when he died in action, killed in Beho Beho on the Rufija River from a German bullet.
You can reach Selous during a 5-hour drive from Dar es Salaam or by plane. By plane, you can also get from Zanzibar. The nostalgic way to reach Selous is by train from Dar es Salaam to Kisaki.
From June to September warm days and cool nights, the best time of year for walking and safari. Great conditions for observing elephants and buffaloes. From October to November a large concentration of animals around inland lakes, and dry and hot weather. From December to March it is possible to watch the mating season of birds, many animals are watered out, and the weather begins to be humid, with the possibility of rain. Generally good conditions for safaris throughout the year.
With us, you can take full advantage of the Selous offering one of the most diverse ranges of activities available in any natural wildlife park in the world. The combination of the river – meandering streams, ox lakes, and swamps – with open forests, plains, and dense thickets makes Selous an interesting ecological environment and an ideal location for sightseeing by car, during boat trips, and further on foot. This is not possible in many other areas.
A walk through the bush is a wonderful experience that takes you the most “inside” of nature, which shows not only large things but also small ones. Walking gives you the opportunity to move at the pace of nature. Our trained guides will teach you everything you want to know about trees, grasses, insects, paths, and tracks. Walking around the bush you can feel its part. A walking through the bush requires tuning to the bush, its sounds and smells, temperature and colors: this is how the animals survived, and so did our ancestors before we invented air conditioning and cars. A walking safari in Selous began to be promoted by Richard Bonham from Kenya, an environmental activist, who explored this place in the 1980s with the most fearless clients.
The walk is organized early in the morning. After a cup of tea and a homemade cookie you will be informed about the principles of moving around the African bush; what not to do and what to do if a situation arises. After the short briefing, you start your walk. There are two types of walk – bushwalking and walking safari.
The second type is walking safari in the park in the company of an armed guard. Note – for safety reasons, we cannot always offer a walking safari if, for example, we do not have an armed guard at our disposal or it has rained. Also, for safety reasons, children 15 years or younger may not go on safari. Duration about 2-3 hrs.
Selous is known for the boat safari. And for good reason. Watching wildlife from different perspectives is a unique experience.
The guides will show you the secrets that lie in the waters of the Rufiji River. We organize boat safaris in the afternoon to give guests the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sunset. The light of the setting sun is reflected in the water playing an amazing spectacle. A boat safari is a chance to see crocodiles along the Rufigi’s riverbanks, their armor-plated skins the only rough edges in the river’s incessant flow. Common are hippos bask in the mud, escaping the midday sun, colorful birds, and other river inhabitants. You may be lucky to see elephants bathing in the river.
We offer two types of safari by boat, a shorter safari at sunset, on the river of the reserve, or all-day on the reserve.
Fishing in Selous is a great way to add variety to your safari. Lakes and rivers are home to many different catfish, some growing up to 1.5 m in length. However, the real goal is the largest of all African freshwater fish, the tigerfish! (Famous for their warlike nature and a terrifying set of teeth!) This particular species occurs in river waters and reaches 15 kg, with an average caught fish of 5-8 kg.
You can fish from the river bank in the camp or on the river, outside the reserve. It is also possible to fish in the Game Reserve, where you travel by boat watching and listening to nature. You can be lucky and see an elephant crossing a river or a hippo looking at you over a shimmering surface of the water.
The best time for fishing is from June to mid-October and from mid-December to the end of February.
During the game drive in Selous we can go to Hot springs or “Maji Moto” (as they are called in Kiswahili), which is a j´kulka around beho beho hills. Some can be easily reached by car.
Hot sulfur water flows from the rocks, and flows down from above in small streams, creating a series of picturesque pools. Such a hot spring was the source of the legendary water that was supposed to make warriors of the Maji Maji uprising of 1905 insensitive to the missiles of German colonial soldiers.
On your way to Hot Springs, you’ll visit the Tomb of Frederic Courtney Selous, a naturalist, explorer, hunter, and soldier who died in 1917 during World War I near the Beho Beho Hills.
One of the classic safari activities is a traditional car driving. We use open vehicles (with a tarpaulin roof to protect customers from the sun) that can accommodate up to six people in addition to the driver and guide in the front seat. We organize full-day or half-day game drives. All-day activity usually begins after breakfast in the camp and includes lunch in the bush. Guests can enjoy a long ride in the wilderness returning to the camp at sunset. “Safari lovers” who come to Selous, should experience at least one full-day game drive.