Based in the South of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve offers a wild and remote experience, with viewings of buffalo, hippo, elephant, giraffe, crocodile, leopard and lion on offer.
The Selous Game Reserve in the South of Tanzania has much fewer visitors than the famous Northern Parks of the country - Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara and certainly far, far fewer visitors than places like the Kruger National Park in South Africa. This means fewer vehicles and fewer people and therefore more of a wild, remote and quieter experience, ideal for honeymooners and families. The main draw here is the magical and serene experience of motorboat safaris on the Rufiji River and floating along its labyrinth of channels, lakes and streams that wind through this massive expanse of plains and woodlands. Add to this the game drives, walking safaris and option of fly-camping the Selous is a real favourite of ours for people looking for a more relaxed and diverse Tanzania safari experience.
The Selous is the largest game reserve in the whole of Africa and in terms of wildlife during our recommended 3-5 nights you should see Wild Dog, a real drawcard for the Selous. You should also come across Buffalo, Hippo, Crocodile and Lion, along with Leopard, if you are lucky, and also see Elephant and Giraffe in large numbers, often down by the river's edge. Added to this much more smaller game and a wide range of birdlife.
We would point out that you will not see wildlife as frequently as you would experience in say the Northern Parks like the Serengeti or in the Kruger in South Africa. In our opinion though this is a bit of a trade-off for fewer people of course and again a real plus of the Selous is that not only will you do the traditional 4 x 4 vehicle safari with guide, but you will have the chance to go out on guided walking safari (what an experience to track wildlife on foot) and also go out on boating safaris on the river, getting up close and personal with hippo and crocodile - this really is quite something. In the Selous the way you structure your day is also different, you are not normally out all day, activities are in the morning, then back to the camp or lodge to relax, have a swim and lunch, and then out again on an activity mid-afternoon to view wildlife. So much more relaxed than being out all day in a vehicle - again much better for honeymooners and families in particular.
There are various accommodation options. Much like in the Ruaha we believe the majority of camps here are well run, authentic in the bush camps at varying degrees of luxury. The management and staff of all the camps we endorse have created ambient and warm welcoming atmospheres, so it is a matter of suiting your style, level of luxury and personal preferences to your budget. In the core game viewing area of the park, we have our personal favourite Roho Ya Selous, the luxurious Sands Rivers Camp and it's smaller private sister camp Kiba Point, along with the fantastic Siwandu Camp, sister to Jongomero in Ruaha and the superb value for money Selous Impala Camp and Lake Manze Camp. Away from the main game viewing area, but offering less traffic and additional activities, like fishing and swimming in hot springs, are Selous Serena Camp and its sister camp - Mivumo River Lodge, which again, as with the other camps we recommend are small, intimate and personal with great staff, superb food and bonus of swimming pools to cool off in during the heat of the day.
If you are having a safari in the Selous we do highly recommend you combine this with time in the wild and remote Ruaha and/or time relaxing on the Islands or Coast, which are both only a short flight (approx 1-1.5 hours) away.
Selous Game Reserve FAQs
What is Selous Game Reserve known for?
Selous Game Reserve in the south of Tanzani, in our opinion, is one of the best in Tanzania for wildlife experiences as there are fewer people and fewer vehicles which makes it more wild, remote and a quieter experience, ideal for families, honeymooners and couples.
Selous is of course also the largest lidlife reserve in Africa at 50,000 sq km (19,293 sq miles) and covers just over 5% of Tanzania's land surface. Selous is primarily known for its large elephant population.
When should I visit Selous Game Reserve?
The best time to visit Selous Game Reserve is during the dry season from May to October, when wildlife tend to gather around the dwindling waterholes and temperatures are less searing than in the southern summer. The bush and grasslands are also less dense which makes it easier to spot game that tends to be more elusive.
Is Selous a World Heritage Site?
Selous Game Reserve was given the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1982 owing to its great diversity of wildlife and undisturbed nature. It is difficult to describe how special this reserve is, but we encourage many of our clients to make the trip to Selous and they are always thankful they did.
What animals can I expect to see at Selous?
As previously mentioned in one of the FAQ's, Selous was given World Heritage Site status due to its diverse wildlife. Some of the wildlife you are bound to encounter include African bush elephant, black rhino, hippopotamus, lion, East African wild dog, Cape buffaloes, Masai giraffe, Plains zebra, and Nile crocodile. Permanent human habitation is not permitted within the reserve.
Feel the thrills of having an elephant eating Doum palm seeds right outside your tent. Hear the sound of its rumbling stomach and see how tender a mother is to her calf. We have so much to learn from our animal friends, teachings that can help us create a better world. We keep everything as it was before we arrived and this is why animals use the camp as much as our guests. Experience this magical, romantic camp on the shore of the Lake Manze with stunning lake views from your own verandah ... Read more
Selous Serena Camp is located within Tanzania’s illustrious Selous Game Reserve – a World Heritage Site and home to the world’s largest concentration of elephants. The impeccably designed tents offer everything you need to rest, refresh and prepare for the day ahead – from plush bedding and private sun decks to bathrooms with claw-foot tubs and 24-hour hot water. Begin or end your day with a fresh, flavourful meal in their inviting dining tent, sip a drink at the safari bar or let Serena plan an exciting bush dining excursion for you ... Read more
Tucked away into the trees, each of the eight tents is set far apart to give everyone privacy. The tents are Roho Ya Selous are stylish and spacious, measuring an impressive 60m² inside. Thoughtful details include an evening breeze cooling system over the bed which is a real treat and allows you to sleep peacefully even during the hotter months. The evening breeze system is much nicer than the noise of a fan or full air-conditioning. Each tent also has an ensuite bathroom complete with indoor and outdoor shower, which is a must try! There's nothing quite like taking a shower outside after a game drive whilst listening to all the sounds of the bush around you. We love the design and decor of the tents and the panoramic view from the front of the tents is fantastic. It is just a beautiful view to wake up to each morning whilst you sip your coffee or tea ... Read more
Kiba point is a totally exclusive little retreat in the heart of one of the most game-rich areas the Selous. It's set back off the river, with only 4 large and open-fronted rooms. Bathrooms are bush deluxe, with flush toilets, indoor and outdoor showers and hot and cold water as and when you want. Each room has its own plunge pool set into the edge of the deck, and there is also a large pool at the main thatched mess, where you can also sink into comfortable sofas and chairs for an afternoon of general laziness ... Read more
Serena Mivumo River Lodge welcomes you with boutique sophistication, impeccable amenities and a breath-taking location within Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve. A World Heritage Site and the largest game reserve in Africa, Selous is four times the size of the Serengeti and larger than the entire nation of Switzerland. It is also home to the largest concentrations of elephants in the world. Mivumo River Lodge is tucked along the banks of the Rufiji River one of the more remote area of the Selous to the west of the core game viewing areas, and boasts glorious views over Stiegler's Gorge ... Read more
Selous Impala Camp is situated on the Rufiji River in core game viewing area of the Selous. There are 8 guest tents including a family tent. Each tent has it's own en-suite bathrooms which include a flushing toilet and a shower. The 8 Meru-style tents each have their own private verandas overlooking the Rufiji River. This camp is simple, yet stylish with well-appointed decor and design. Activities include vehicle safaris, motorboat safaris and walking safaris ... Read more
Broadly spaced along the shore of Lake Nzerakera, with the BehoBeho mountains in the distance, Siwandu's spacious and stylish safari tents ensure maximum privacy. Soak up the sights and sounds of the African bush, observing animals as they saunter past. Explore the breathtaking landscape by foot on a morning game walk, by 4WD vehicles with an expert driver guide and on the water with boat cruises on both the river and on the lake ... Read more
Sand Rivers Camp is situated in the northern part of the Selous Game Reserve which is the second largest protected wilderness area in the world. Sand Rivers offers stylish, luxurious safari accommodation on the banks of the Rufiji River. This comfortable and stylish lodge features an outdoor pool, an open-air dining room, bar and lounge which have been beautifully constructed on a sweeping curve of the great Rufiji River, offering stunning views across the water. Sand Rives is one of the best best walking safari experiences in Southern Tanzania with professional guide Andrew (Moli) Molinaro ... Read more
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