Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is the largest wildlife reserve in Africa, spanning some 48,000 square kilometres. Sliding right through the middle of the area is the majestic Rufiji River, which teems with crocodile and hippo all year round and is lit up through the vibrant colours of Selous’ many bird species, particularly in the wet season. Buffalos, lions and giraffes to name a few also have their home in the Selous Game Reserve and make for a fantastic wildlife viewing experience.
Best Time To Go
Average Safari Cost
From $200 to $600 pp/day
Africa’s largest game reserve, a water paradise, lots of luscious woodland, perfect for wildlife photography, the Big Five, boat trips; off-the-beaten-track wildlife viewing in Tanzania
Why Visit Selous Game Reserve?
Yet Selous is the largest reserve on the African continent and has the largest buffalo and lion population of all other reserves too, while also boasting superb viewing opportunities of hippo and crocodile in the river.
A large part of the reserve is set aside for hunting, though, and so the area open to the public wishing to observe animals is smaller than one would expect, but it still encompasses the beautiful, replenished green woodland of Selous and the tan plains spanning for miles.
Pros And Cons
- Great wildlife viewing in the dry season
- Brilliant bird watching in the wet season
- Boat tours are available
- There is a fantastic lion population
- The Big Five are present
- Selous is a special place for wildlife photography
- Wildlife viewing circuit is quite small due to the area set aside for hunting
- Hunting at the reserve makes the wildlife appear to be slightly on edge and they are sometimes difficult to watch
- The entrance to the reserve (and further camping costs) is expensive
Best Time To Visit
We would recommend visiting the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania in the months of June through to October during the dry season. This is due to the fact that there is far less rain, meaning a lower chance of the river overflowing and thinner vegetation through which wildlife can be spotted. As well as this, during the dry season the inhabitants tend to congregate conveniently at waterholes, so they can be viewed in specific places and in strong numbers.
On a practical level, visiting the Selous Game Reserve in the dry season is also more beneficial as during the wet season, October through to May, the tracks are muddy and it is tricky to get through the park. Moreover, the months of the wet season also mean very hot temperatures which can sometimes be difficult to deal with seeing as it is so close to the equator and more rain which can disrupt viewing.
Though wildlife viewing is poorer during this time of the year, bird watching is much stronger and much better than in the dry season, so it is a matter of what you prioritise if you wish to head there in the wet season.
Start your African Adventure
3 Days Mikumi National Park
Enjoy Mikumi National Park for 3 days If you have quickly come to Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar Tanzania and you want the best out of your busy schedule you can do Mikumi National Park only in 3 days and very satisfying.
3 Days Selous National Park
Selous Game Reserve, covering 50,000 square kilometers, is among the largest protected areas in Africa and is relatively undisturbed by human impact. The property harbors one of the most significant concentrations of elephant, black rhinoceros, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus and crocodile, among-st many other species. The reserve also has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps, making it a valuable laboratory.
Day Trip to Mikumi National Park from Dar-es-Salaam
Mikumi National Park Safari Day trip Safari From Dar-es-Salaam takes you to Tanzania’s fourth largest national park, covering an area of 3,230 km² (1,250 miles²). It borders Africa’s biggest game reserve - the Selous Game Reserve and is well-known for its boundless opportunities to spot the famous African Big Five – Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino and of course Lion.
3 Day Special Selous Game Reserves
Experience one of Africa’s largest, remotest and least explored game reserves with this 3-day adventure. You’ll visit a section in the northern part of the reserve, close to the banks of the famous Rufiji River. Lions, hippos, giraffe, buffaloes and huge herds of elephants are just some of the fauna you can expect to see. The most fortunate visitors may also catch a glimpse of one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most elusive carnivores: the African Wild Dog
Wildlife And Birds
- Black Rhino
- Wild dog
- Black rhino
Frequently Seen Animals
- Elephant (occasional)
- Hyena (occasional)
- Long-billed tailorbird
- Forest partridge
- Kilombero weaver
- Wattled crane
- Greater spotted eagle
- Yellow-billed storks
- Palm-nut vultures
- African spoonbill
- Pel’s fishing owl
Getting There And Safety
For details about visas see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Please note that malaria risk is high around the year in all areas below 1,800m. To protect yourself you should avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeve tops and long trousers especially in the evenings, using insect repellents and, when required, sleeping under a mosquito net.
For more details about vaccinations see our Tanzania Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Tanzania. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.
You should pack clothes suitable for both hot and cold weather as days can be very hot followed by very cold nights. Your clothes should be in neutral tones, not bright colours. Other items to pack include: insect repellent, camera, torch, binoculars, sunglasses and sun block.
For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.