Vast remote and wild, the Selous is the largest game reserve in Africa and a dramatic contrast to other parks in Tanzania in almost every way. It’s one of Tanzania's lesser known destinations, but offers a grass roots level of experience that few other places can equal. It's also home to an intriguing diversity both in terms of animal life and variety of experience on offer.
The contrast between the Tanzania's northern parks and the Selous couldn’t be greater. The Selous is at only a few hundred feet above sea level instead of several thousand and this difference is reflected in flora, fauna and climate. Grassland and kopjes are replaced by woodland, interlaced with flood plains, sand rivers, oxbow lakes and the truly impressive Rufiji River. The river is a major focal point, its character changing from the vast inland delta of wide shallow sand rivers, lined with thick bush and palms, to the dramatic rock sided Stiegler’s Gorge, where the river narrows from over a mile to less than a hundred metres wide.
The network of sand rivers is one of the most exciting areas to explore in the dry season. Driving in a Landrover or walking along dry riverbeds miles from the nearest road feels properly wild, and there is no shortage of game in these areas. Many species are drawn to the sand rivers, either for water, which constantly flows beneath the surface and which elephants dig holes in the sand to reach, or for the lush vegetation which grows along the river banks, or in the case of lion, as a place to lie in ambush for the herds of buffalo which come to drink in the river beds.
As well as game driving safaris and boating safaris in this very beautiful and unique area, this is one of the places where one can walk and camp most freely. Whether on a wilderness walking safari for a number of days, or camping out for a single night as part of a stay at a permanent camp there is a great diversity of habitats to explore, from islands in the middle of the Rufiji river to the shores of one of the many lakes, to the bed of one of the dry sand rivers. It's well worth taking advantage of being able to walk, even if you don't want to go far. Just make sure you spend some time on your feet in the bush.