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Named after explorer and author Frederick Courtney Selous, Selous Game Reserve is the largest uninhabited area in Africa as well as an important UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for offering the best bush vibe in Tanzania. The reserve covers an area of 47,655 sq. kms. and its altitude varies from 36 meters to 1,461 meters. This allows Selous to offer a variety of habitats that range from rocky outcrops to grassy plains and woodlands. The Rufiji River which cuts through the park acts as its lifeline and presents a spectacular collection of lakes, channels and lagoons. Volcanic hot springs can also be found in select pockets.
Selous’ popularity can be attributed to its population of elephants, considered to be the largest in Africa, and its size, which is in fact greater than Switzerland. Many tourists avoid the game reserve in favor of the Serengeti or the Ngorongoro Crater and this means that the few lucky ones get to enjoy a safari in an unspoiled bush habitat. Moreover, Selous is also famous as the only game reserve in the country, a place where hunting is still allowed (although condemned by many)! Selous Game Reserve gets the following relevant safari ratings:
- Wildlife Rating: 4 stars out of 5
- Scenery Rating: 4 stars out of 5
- Bush Vibe: 5 stars out of 5
The park is divided into two parts – Northern Selous and the Southern Selous. Northern Selous covers 5% of the area and hosts camps which cater to exclusive photographic safaris. Hunting isn’t allowed in northern Selous. Southern Selous refers to the area south of the Rufiji River. It is split into several hunting blocks, each block covering an area of 1000 sq. kms.
Wild dogs, one of the most formidable hunting creature on the planet, call the Selous Game Reserve their home, and roughly one-thirds of the world’s population of wild dogs can be found here. The park also hosts crocodiles, white and black colobus monkeys, hippos, a variety of antelopes, bushbucks, waterbucks, reedbucks, curly-horned greater kudu and sickle-horned sables. The concentration of these animals along the river presents breathtaking sightseeing opportunities during the dry season. The migration of elephants also takes place between the Niassa and the Selous Game Reserves, and roughly 65,000 elephants can be seen roaming between the two parks.
Check out this magnificent Bookmundi safari. From walking trips and boat safaris to game drives, this 3-day adventure has all the action you need while visiting Selous Game Reserve.
There are a number of advantages of choosing Selous as your preferred destination in Africa. The dry season presents some of the best wildlife viewing adventures and guided walks or boat tours are also available. Lion sightings are common and the Selous is perhaps the best place to meet the wild dog. The biggest problem is that it still allows hunting, thus making the animals more difficult to watch. The wildlife viewing circuit is quite small when compared to other national parks in Tanzania. Large-scale accommodations are also missing here. Most importantly, Selous is a malarial area.
There are a few eco-friendly low-key lodges in Selous which offer an authentic safari experience and cater to as little as 300 visitors. Since the game reserve isn’t governed by national park regulations, the lodges found here present a far better bush experience. Some of the best options include Sand Rivers, Beho Beho, Siwandu Camp, Selous Impala Camp and Lake Manze Camp.
The dry season, i.e., the months of June to November, is the best time to visit the Selous Game Reserve. Elephants come out of the bush and a majority of the game can be seen along the river. This also means that predators can be commonly seen during the dry season. The wet season, i.e., the months of January to April is more famous for lush green scenery and exotic birds. Most lodges in the reserve are closed during the months of March to May.
The biggest advantage of visiting the Selous Game Reserve is that it is much closer to those exotic African beaches and the historic city of Dar es Salaam. The following options are sure to offer incredible options for extending your Tanzanian adventure, as well as a much-needed break from the wild.
- Dar es Salaam: After transforming itself from a sleepy fishing village to a majestic metropolis, Dar es Salaam became one of the most attractive destinations in Africa. Located on one of the most important sea routes, Dar es Salaam acts as the largest cultural and commercial hub of Tanzania. More importantly, it presents easy access to those legendary African beaches, as well as a fascinating mix of Indian, German, African and Arab architecture.
- Zanzibar: A trip to Zanzibar introduces you to three adventures – Zanzibar Town, Stone Town and those exotic beaches. Zanzibar Town is the first stop for visitors and famous as the more developed half of the island. Most of the tourist facilities and accommodations can be found here. Stone Town acts as the soul of Zanzibar. Its alleys promise mind-blowing walks and centuries of history as well as a marvelous insight into the area’s culture. The best thing to do here is to connect with the locals and allow Stone Town to unfold its secrets and adventures in front of your eyes. Finally, the unique location as well the presence of a barrier reef offers endless opportunities such as shimmery beaches, scuba diving, exotic seafood and more.