Selous Game Reserve
Considered by the UNESCO as a world heritage site since 1982 Selous game reserve is a must-see Tanzanian attraction.
Nothing screams significance and individuality like being designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Selous Game Reserve can proudly claim that title and so much more with its never-ending wildlife diversity and scenic landscapes.
Covering an area of 54,600 square kilometers, the reserve is the largest protected game reserve in the African continent. Selous Game Reserve features vast wilderness with forests, mountains, grassy plains and open woodlands.
A Glance on History
Situated in the heart of Tanzania, the park started its life as a declared protected area by the German Governor of Tanganyika Hermann von Wissmann with its status being changed in 1905 to a hunting reserve.
It was named after Fredrick Selous who was a hunter and an explorer. Thanks to its rich diversity of wildlife and uninterrupted nature, the reserve was established in 1922 and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982.
Selous Game Reserve is located in the southern part of Tanzania along the safari circuit of southern Tanzania. It is about 219 kilometers from Dar es Salaam, approximately a 4 hour drive.
Due to its location, the reserve offers an escape from the large tourist crowds in the northern safari attractions like Serengeti National Park. Besides, it offers a great range of camps from accommodation.
The Dry Season
The dry season lasts from late June to October, marking the high season of traveling to the reserve.
During the dry season, the vegetation is sparse and the wild animals move towards water sources, trailed by predatory lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs.
The Wet Season
The wet season marks the months from November to May. Generally speaking, the wet season brings magnificent scenery, green with large amounts of rain. The humidity is high and temperatures are high, resulting in a lot of heat.
The wettest months are the end of March, April and May. It is not recommended to visit the reserve during this time of the year, as driving may take seven to eight hours at a bare minimum.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit and have the perfect game viewing in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania is during the dry season, from late June to October. It is when the weather is dry, sunny, and humid with lots of varied water sources.
Birds are the highlight attraction during the wet season, despite the logistical challenges. Over 440 bird species have been observed here.
Wildlife in Selous Game Reserve
Huge number of wildlife mammals are to be found in the reserve such as 145,000 buffalos, 4,000 Lions, 100,000 wildebeests, large hands of giraffes, 35000 zebras, 40000 hippos, 250,000 impalas, large numbers of Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, waterbucks, elands and bushbucks, in addition to leopards, crocodiles and hyenas.
The park is also still occupied by many of the wildlife that are hardly found elsewhere like black rhinos, East African wild dog, puku antelope, sable antelope, Massai giraffe, and plains zebra including so much more making it a variant enclosure of wildlife.
Elephants are not excluded. The reserve used to house large numbers of elephants, but due to the excessive poaching, the numbers have greatly decreased.
Birdlife in Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve is a residence to more than 445 bird species, recorded to living in the various habitats in the reserve. Giant giant kingfishers, the pink backed pelican as well as the African skimme live along the lake areas. The white-fronted bee-eater, fish eagle, carmine, ibises and palm nut vultures are to be witnessed along the sandbanks.
There are also some other water birds like the purple-crested turaco, trumpeter hornbill, white-crowned spur-winged plovers, yellow-billed stork, malachite kingfishers and a variety of small waders.
Thing to Do in Selous Game Reserve
1- Walking Safari
Guided walking tour cannot be missed during your safari in Selous. Having a guided walking tour will give the opportunity to explore mother nature up close and appreciating the serenity of the remote yet beautiful reserve of Tanzania.
2- Bird Watching
A tour for birdwatching only is not a waste of time. As mentioned previously, there are more than 400 species of birds in the reserve all of what needs to be seen.
With a guided birdwatching tour, visitors will be able to observe giant kingfishers, pink backed pelican, African skimmer, ibises, white-crowned spur-winged plovers, palm nut vultures, fish eagle, carmine, purple-crested turaco, yellow-billed stork, trumpeter hornbill and malachite kingfishers, and white-fronted bee-eater.
3- Boat Safari
This is for holidaymakers who wish to explore the different water channels that include lakes, River Rufiji. Besides, it is a good way to explore the smaller channels where various wildlife including hippos, crocodiles and some birds are observed.
4- Game Drive
Usually, game drives are taken early in the morning and also in the late afternoon. They are normally conducted in open roof safari cars offering visitors an excellent view to the animals.
5- Hot Air Balloon
Offering visitors an aerial view of the reserve’s plains and the wild animals, Hot Air Balloons are taken only in Serengeti National Park on the northern safari circuit as well as in the Selous Reserve in the southern part of Tanzania.