The largest game reserve in Africa and a dramatic contrast to other Tanzanian parks.
The Selous is 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 in terms of animal life and sheer variety of experience on offer.
The contrast between Tanzania’s northern parks and the Selous couldn’t be greater. The Selous is 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 Land Rover or walking along dry riverbeds miles from the nearest road feels authentically 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. In the case of lion, it’s also 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, this is one of the places where one can walk and camp most freely. Whether on a walking safari 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.
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- The largest game reserve in Africa
- Remote and wild
- Diversity of wildlife
- Life by the Rufiji RIver
Top Reasons To Visit Selous Game Reserve
Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.
Best time to go visitSelous Game Reserve
For ease of game viewing, we recommend visiting during the dry season between late June and October.
As with other parks that flourish in the dry, this is a simple equation between the increasing shortage of water and the requirement for animals to congregate around remaining rivers and lakes. Added to this is the fact that vegetation naturally thins out as the dry progresses, making it easier to see animals.
If you’re motivated by more than just numbers of animals, don’t rule out other times of the year like early June, which is lush and green and cool (by Selous standards at least). The under-rated green season is also a great time to visit. November to March is in total contrast to the rest of the year with the reserve an almost day-glo green.
Selous is rarely somewhere to expect huge concentrations of game (head to Serengeti for this), but what it will offer is a quality of game viewing that is hard to beat; large animals seen on foot, quiet drifts down languid rivers, long lunches overlooking lakes and waterholes. Above all our advice would be approach the Selous with an open mind and don’t rush it – you won’t be disappointed.
Best time to go visitSelous Game Reserve
Top experiences in the Selous Game Reserve
Walking safari in the Selous Game Reserve
A thrilling walking safari experience to encounter the bush and wildlife on foot.Discover More
Our Favourite Camps & Lodges
Sand Rivers Selous is a first-class small safari lodge offering top quality safaris by vehicle, foot and boat well away from the crowds.Learn More
There just aren’t many places left where you can still get this degree of exclusivity in such a perfect location.Learn More
The camp has 12 meru style tents all with lake views, slightly raised on earth mounds which are covered in bush vegetation.Learn More
Beho Beho has become one of the best small lodges in Tanzania. It’s small, still privately owned and immaculately run.Learn More
Selous Game Reserve (FAQS) NEED TO KNOW
How many days do you need in the Selous Game Reserve?
The Selous Game Reserve is vast – it stretches for over 45,000 square kilometres, so we recommend between two and five nights in the reserve, allowing you plenty of time to explore on foot, by boat or by car. You can even combine all three – to ensure no stone goes unturned.
What is the best way to explore Selous Game Reserve?
Get up close and personal with Mother Nature by exploring the area on foot with a guide, who will be able to talk and walk you through the wildlife and scenery every step of the way. Walking safaris set off early in the morning to catch the first movements of the day and learn how to track animals.
Alternatively, boat safaris afford the opportunity to see the reserve in a different light. Meander along the River Rufiji and the smaller channels in a bid to see some water wildlife, such as crocodiles and hippos.
Game drives usually take place early morning and late afternoon and give you the chance to explore more land and more opportunity to see more whilst on your trip. They are led by a knowledgeable guide, who will take you to the places where you are likely to spot more wildlife.
What is the accommodation at Selous National Park like?
When it comes to accommodation the choice is yours. From boutique camps and lodges to some more esoteric and tailored choices, we ensure you stay in the best places to explore the wilder edges of the park. Whether you have your heart set on a stylish seasonal camp or you’d like to get completely off-grid in this vast and wild park, we’ve got you covered.
From our Travel Guides
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
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This was my fourth safari booked with Natural High and, as previously, it surpassed my expectations. Vanessa’s Itinerary was spot on – the three cam…
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They picked out good places to stay that fitted the criteria. Very thoughtful and attentive. They called back and they sent emails with suggestions….
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This was certainly not our first trip with natural high. As any other trip, organization was great, ie pick up, vehicles, local guides, food, all well…
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The holiday was absolutely perfect. The recommended places to stay were spot on, excellent service throughout. It shows that each property has been vi…
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Excellent, no problems…
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We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservati…
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Our family Kenyan safari trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary was perfectly planned by Catherine from the moment we landed in Nairobi, to ou…