Indulge in a Thrilling African Safari in the Wild Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve Safari - Adventure in the wild Selous
A herd of elephants in Selous Game Reserve

Located in Southern Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve is twice the size of the Serengeti National Park and three times the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. With over 50,000 km² of untouched wilderness, it’s the largest game reserve in Africa and one of the most picturesque destinations. All thanks to its grassy plains, the Miombo woodlands, mountains, and forests.

Selous Game Reserve was named after the renowned big game hunter and conservationist Frederick Selous. It was initially established as a hunting reserve but has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The mighty river Rufiji divides the Selous Game Reserve into two regions—Northern Selous and Southern Selous. The northern section is exclusively designed for photographic safaris and hunting is strictly forbidden while the southern section is less strict and hunting is still allowed.

Selous Game Reserve Safari - Photos by Our Guests

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In the recent past, Northern Seleous was carved off and renamed the Nyerere National Park in honour of Tanzania’s first president, H.E. President Julius Nyerere. The park is home to a high density of elephants alongside the black rhinoceros, the rare sable antelope, and puku antelopes.

Selous offers a truly unique and immersive safari experience that stands out from other national parks in southern Tanzania. 

Book Your Trip to Selous Game Reserve With Us

Booking a tour package to Selous Game Reserve
A hippo in the mighty Rufiji River

At, we have a vast range of safari packages available, right from honeymoon packages to family options, solo travellers, and group packages. We invite you to contact us via phone or WhatsApp at +254-704-532-105. You can also connect with us via email at or   

Hint: Southern Tanzania, where Selous Game Reserve is located, offers enchanting and pristine national parks and reserves for anyone desiring a more private and exclusive explartion of the wonders of Africa. 

Selous Game Reserve – Things that Make It Unique

Explore the wonders of Selous National Park
The wetlands of Selous Park

1. It Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Planning a safari to Selous game reserve
Aerial views of wildlife at Selous, Tanzania

The Selous Game Reserve received this outstanding designation due to its rich diversity of wildlife and unspoiled nature. The reserve is home to a large number of animal populations, including the endangered black rhino, the African elephant, and the African wild dogs.

River Rufiji runs through the reserve, creating an intricate network of swamps, channels, and lakes, forming a unique and exciting ecological system.

As mentioned earlier, a sizable chunk of Selous was curved out to create Nyerere National Park. The new park includes the Rufiji River and a buffer zone to the south of the watercourse, providing even more opportunities for visitors to explore this stunning region.

2. It is a Remote Wilderness

The wild Selous National Park
A game drive in the remote Selous National Park

While Selous Game Reserve offers impressive wildlife density, it remains relatively undiscovered compared to Northern Tanzania national parks like the Serengeti and Lake Manyara. The advantage is that its visitors enjoy a more intimate safari experience, with fewer tourists and a greater sense of adventure.

The northern part of Selous, now known as Nyerere National Park, is a no-hunt zone dedicated to photographic tourism, providing a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

Selous Game Reserve is also an important area for wildlife conservation, with organisations such as UNESCO and the WWF playing a vital role in reducing poaching in the region. By visiting Selous, you can directly contribute to combating Tanzania’s poaching crisis and help protect its precious wildlife populations.

3. It Boasts Unique Wildlife Encounters

Encounters with wildlife on a Selous Game Reserve safari
Giraffes crossing Rufiji River

Selous Game Reserve is rich in diverse wildlife, presenting visitors with opportunities to encounter an array of iconic animals and bird species.

This segment delves into the remarkable wildlife encounters that Selous holds, from African wild dogs to the endangered black rhino.

Iconic Animals

Spotting iconic wildlife at Selous game reserve
The endangered wild dog

Selous is home to an impressive array of iconic animals, including:

  • African wild dogs
  • Black rhinoceros
  • Puku antelopes
  • Sable antelope
  • Lions

The reserve supports one of the largest populations of African wild dogs, which are known for their distinctive black, white, and yellow markings and highly social behavior.

Additionally, Selous is one of the few places in Africa where you can spot the critically endangered black rhino, which is smaller than its white counterpart and has two horns and a thick, hairless hide.

Other remarkable animals that can be seen in the reserve include:

  • Elephants
  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Cape Buffalo
  • Giraffes
  • Zebras
  • Various antelope species such as sable, greater kudu, and puku

With such diverse wildlife, a safari to Selous Game Reserve promises an unforgettable holiday experience.

The best way to discover the diverse bird species in Selous is by taking boat trips along the Rufiji River. This unique perspective allows you to observe a variety of water birds, as well as the chance to spot other wild animals drawn to the water’s edge.

4. It Is a Birdwatching Paradise

Birding at Selous Game Reserve
Bird watching at Selous, Tanzania

With over 440 bird species, Selous Game Reserve is a birdwatching paradise. Birders can spot migratory birds during the shorter dry season from mid-December to March. Some of the more popular species include

  • Carmine bee-eaters
  • Pink-backed pelicans
  • African skimmers
  • Squacco herons
  • Fish eagles
  • Kingfishers

Endemic species like the Udzungwa forest partridge and the delicate rufous-winged sunbird can be found in the reserve as well. These species are unique to this particular area, making it a special site for bird viewing.

The best way to discover the diverse bird species in Selous is by taking boat trips along the Rufiji River. This unique perspective allows you to observe a variety of water birds, as well as the chance to spot other wild animals drawn to the water’s edge.

Planning Your Selous Safari Adventure

Resident Elephants of the Selous Game Reserve
A family of elephants at Selous Game Reserve

Maximizing your Selous safari holiday adventure requires forward planning. Factors such as the optimal time to visit, available transportation options, and choosing the right safari package should be considered.

This segment offers valuable information to help you tailor your ideal safari experience at the game reserve.  

Best Time to Visit

Best time for Selous Game Reserve Safari
A stampede in Selous Game Reserve

The best time to visit Selous Game Reserve for wildlife viewing is between June and October when the weather is cooler and wildlife is easier to spot due to sparser vegetation. During this dry season, large herds of elephants, buffaloes, and antelopes can be seen congregating around water sources, providing spectacular sightings. The rainy season brings with it lush vegetation which makes for excellent photography. 

Birdwatchers should especially visit Selous between mid-December to March. This is the shorter dry season, and many migratory birds settle here during this period. With over 440 bird species present in the reserve, including rare and endemic species, Selous is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Getting There

The best way to reach Selous National Park
A flock of birds at Selous

Selous Game Reserve can be accessed by various transportation options, including flights, road trips, and train journeys. By air, you can take a small aircraft from Dar es Salaam, Ruaha, or other nearby destinations to one of the airstrips within the reserve. Flight duration varies, with a 90-minute flight from Ruaha to Selous being typical.

If you prefer a road trip by safari vehicles it’s a 4-5 hour drive from Dar es Salaam. It covers a distance of 219 kilometres, passing through Mikumi National Park and entering Selous Game Reserve through the Matambwe Gate. Be ready for an adventure! The last 50 miles of the drive is on a bumpy gravel road.

Thrilling Safari Activities in Selous Game Reserve

What to do on a luxury Selous game reserve safari
A game drive in Selous Park, Tanzania

Beyond the amazing wildlife encounters, Selous Game Reserve presents an array of exciting activities for all adventurers. From up close and personal walking safaris to boat cruises along the Rufiji River, and the unique hot air balloon safaris, Selous caters to all tastes.

Regardless of whether you seek a calming safari experience or a thrilling adventure

Walking Safaris

Maximizing wildlife encounters on a Selous walking safari
Tracking animal on a walking safari at Selous Game Reserve

Walking safaris are an essential part of the Selous safari experience, offering up-close and personal encounters with the African wilderness. Led by experienced guides, these guided foot safaris allow you to appreciate the little things and learn about tracks and signs that you might miss on game drives.

Whether you embark on a guided walk or challenge yourself with a multi-day mobile safari, walking safaris in Selous provide a truly immersive experience in nature. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the African bush and create unforgettable memories along the way.

Boat Cruises Along River Rufiji

Enjoying boat trips on a Selous Game Reserve safari
A late afternoon boat cruise in Selous, Tanzania

Boat safaris are another exciting way to explore the waterways of Selous and offer unique wildlife viewing opportunities. Cruising along the Rufiji River, you can observe animals such as hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of birds in their natural habitat. The peaceful and tranquil setting of a boat safari provides a stark contrast to the thrill of game drives on land.

Sunset cruises are a particularly popular option, as the sun sets over the sand rivers of Rufiji River and the surrounding wilderness, creating a breathtaking spectacle that is sure to be a highlight of your adventure at Selous Game Reserve.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris

Hot air balloon safari at Selous National Park
Aerial views of Selous Game Reserve

For a truly unique and unforgettable experience, consider embarking on a hot air balloon safari in Selous. Soaring high above the reserve, you’ll enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the landscape and wild animals below. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure offers a different perspective of the reserve and allows you to fully appreciate the beauty and vastness of Selous.

Hot air balloon safaris typically take place during the early morning hours, providing an awe-inspiring start to your day. After your flight, you’ll be treated to a delicious champagne breakfast in the bush, and then it’s off to game drives. Truly unforgettable experiences.

Accommodation Options in Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve safari accommodation options
Sand Rivers Selous Camp lounge

Following a day packed with captivating activities and encounters with animals in the wild, a comfortable place to rest and recharge is essential.

Selous Game Reserve caters to all with a variety of accommodation options spanning from budget-friendly basic tents to luxury retreats.

Budget-Friendly Stays

Budget-friendly accommodation at Selous Game Reserve
Lake Manze Tented Camp, Selous

For those traveling on a budget, Selous offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodations that provide a comfortable and affordable experience. Some of these camps and lodges include:

  • Siwandu (formerly Selous Safari Camp)
  • Lake Manze Tented Camp
  • Africa Safari Selous
  • Selous Impala Camp
  • Roho ya Selous

These affordable stays feature basic amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and game drives, ensuring you have everything you need for an enjoyable stay.

Lake Manze Tented Camp, for example, is situated along the shores of Lake Manze and features 12 tents with en-suite bathrooms and private verandas overlooking the lake. This budget-friendly option allows you to fully immerse yourself in the African bush without breaking the bank.

Mid-range Lodges

Best Mid-range accommodation at Selous Game Reserve
A room at Sable Lodge, Selous

Mid-range lodges in the game reserve provide a balance of comfort, amenities, and immersive safari activities. These lodges often feature additional facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and guided tours, ensuring a memorable stay. Some mid-range lodges in the reserve include Selous Impala Camp, Selous River Camp, and Sable Mountain Lodge.

Sable Mountain Lodge, for example, is nestled within the beautiful reserve and offers stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. This mid-range option provides a comfortable and immersive experience, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of Selous Game Reserve.

Luxury Retreats

Leading Luxury retreats at Selous Game Reserve
Siwandu Camp Lounge, Selous Game Reserve

For those seeking a more indulgent experience, luxury retreats within Selous Game Reserve offer exceptional service, amenities, and exclusive safari experiences. Some of the luxurious accommodations include Selous River Camp, the gorgeous Siwandu Camp (formerly Selous Safari Camp), and the elegant Sand Rivers Camp.

These luxury retreats often feature additional amenities such as private plunge pools, fine dining, and spa services, ensuring a truly pampering experience. With personalized service and exclusive activities, luxury retreats provide an unforgettable experience for discerning travelers.

Combining Selous Safari with Other Tanzanian Destinations

Selous game reserve safari and beach package
Chilling at Breezes Beach Club

For a comprehensive Tanzanian experience, it’s worth considering integrating your Selous safari with trips to other iconic destinations in the country, such as the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Ngorongoro Crater. These destinations offer their own unique wilderness experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural attractions, providing a well-rounded Tanzanian adventure.

By incorporating multiple Tanzanian destinations into your itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti
  • Marvel at the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Explore the diverse ecosystems of the Ngorongoro Crater

This combination creates a truly unforgettable journey through Tanzania’s remarkable natural beauty and game. 

Supporting Local Communities and Conservation

While immersing in the wonders of Selous Game Reserve, keep in mind the influence your visit has on the local community and conservation endeavors. Selecting responsible tour companies and participating in sustainable tourism initiatives contributes to protecting the wilderness and bolstering local communities in the region.

Visiting Maasai villages in Selous allows you to:

  • Support the local community and learn about their way of life
  • Buy supplies from these communities
  • Join conservation organizations
  • Support the establishment of community wilderness sanctuaries
  • Facilitate community-based conservation activities
  • Invest in the communities to make a positive impact on the region and its inhabitants.
Selous National Park Tanzania - Local community
The Masai People dancing to their traditional Song


In conclusion, Selous Game Reserve offers a truly unique and off-the-beaten-path safari experience that should not be missed. From its vast and remote wilderness to its diverse game and thrilling activities, Selous provides the adventure of a lifetime.

By carefully planning your visit, choosing the right accommodations, and supporting resident communities and conservation efforts, you will create unforgettable memories and contribute to the protection of this extraordinary reserve. Are you ready to answer the call of the wild and embark on your Selous safari adventure?

User Guide

  • Explore the largest game reserve in Africa, Selous Game Reserve!
  • Experience wildlife encounters and iconic animals, plus bird species on boat cruises or hot air balloon rides.
  • Support local communities & conservation initiatives while enjoying luxurious accommodations, budget-friendly stay & thrilling activities.

FAQ About Selous Game Reserve

Next, we will cover some commontly asked questions about this park. 

Is Selous a Good Safari?

Selous is the perfect choice for an incredible African safari experience. Combine with a beach getaway (fly directly from Selous to beautiful Zanzibar) and you’re all set!

How Much Does It Cost To Go to Selous National Park Safari?

Experience a thrilling Selous National Park tour for as little as \$500 per day/night per person. With the cost greatly determined by accommodation type and days spent on your adventure, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

What Animals Are in Selous Game Reserve?

Come experience the breathtaking flora and fauna in Selous Game Reserve! With elephants, black rhinoceroses, cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamuses, and crocodiles inhabiting this 50,000 km2 sanctuary, it’s an amazing opportunity for exploration. Explore the diverse terrain of the reserve, from the open savannah to the dense forests and rivers. Take a guided tour for personal encounters with the wild.

When Is the Best Time To Visit Selous Game Reserve for Game Viewing and Birdwatching?

If you’re looking for an unforgettable game viewing and birdwatching experience, plan a trip to the Selous Game Reserve between June and October for optimum game viewing, or mid-December through March for the best birdwatching opportunities!