Selous Game Reserve
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Four times the size of the Serengeti, little-known Selous is Africa’s largest expanse of uninhabited land. In the languid habitat of this immense coastal plateau, Masaai lions and massive herds of buffalo reside alongside some of the last black rhino in the region and a third of Tanzania's elephants. A raucous array of birdlife animates the hippo and croc-filled marshes of the Rufiji Delta.
The Safari Experience
This UNESCO World Heritage Site amazes with its unadulterated nature and wildlife diversity, encompassing more than 20,000 square miles of raw wilderness with further uninhabited land surrounding that. There are no permanent structures inside the reserve, and all entry is closely monitored. While there is regulated conservation-oriented hunting in the southern sector, the northern area along the Rufiji River is set aside purely for photographic safaris. The reserve is crossed by many dry river systems with riverine vegetation, attracting large numbers of wildlife. The Rufiji River is an absolute highlight, flowing all the way into the Indian Ocean. In addition to morning and evening open-vehicle wildlife drives, walking safaris depart in the early morning to take notice of the smaller things a vehicle doesn’t allow one to see, as well as a chance to encounter elephants. Boating safaris on the Rufiji River reveal massive pods of hippo, nests of crocodile, and fantastic bird sightings.
Many animal species are found in the Selous in greater numbers than in any other place in the world, with over one million large animals in the reserve. For example, Selous boasts about a third of Tanzania's elephant, more than 100,000 Cape buffalo, some 18,000 hippo, approximately 1,300 endangered wild dog, and abundant crocodile. There are also globally significant populations of black rhino here. Interesting ungulates, such as sable antelope and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, greater kudu, eland and Nyassa wildebeest occur in dense numbers. There are 350 bird species, including the globally threatened wattled crane, and more than 2,100 plant variations with unrecorded species thought to exist in the southern forests. Iconic predators like lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena can be seen hunting or resting after a meal. Other interesting species include klipspringer, puku, red and blue duikers, Sanje crested mangabey, black and white colobus monkeys, Uhehe red colobus, topi and Sharpe’s greysbok.
How to Include Selous Game Reserve in Your Safari Itinerary
Recommended Number of Nights
Nature Travelers: 3 nights
Photographers: 3 nights
Families: 3-4 nights
Active Travelers: 3 nights
Other Regions to Include
The Selous is in the far reaches of southern Tanzania and combines easily with neighboring Ruaha National Park, both immense wildlife areas with staggering herds of elephant, buffalo and a healthy population of black rhino. Add adventure with a stay in Mahale Mountains National Park for chimpanzee trekking, and Katavi National Park for observing the buffalo-hunting skills of these adapted lion. These four areas combined make up the western and southern Tanzania circuit and include some of the most remote and pristine safari areas of Africa, featuring some of the continent’s most impressive herds of large mammals and endangered species. Selous can also complement a northern circuit safari, including one of the world’s great migrations of nearly two million antelope in the Serengeti and the densest population of predators at Ngorongoro Crater. Zanzibar is a short distance from Selous, offering an ocean-side escape to conclude your safari.