Selous Game Reserve Tanzania
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the protected areas in Tanzania situated in the southern region of the country. Selous covers a total area of 50,000 square kilometers (19,000 sq. mi) with additional buffer zones. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 because of its wildlife diversity and undisturbed nature. Covering over 50,000 square kilometers, Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected game reserve on the African continent comprised of a vast wilderness with forests, grassy plains, mountains and open woodlands. This reserve is twice the size of the popular Serengeti National Park popular for Tanzania wildlife safaris.
This area was designated a protected area in 1896 and became a hunting reserve in 1905. It was named after Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist. Since 2005, the Selous Game Reserve is considered a Lion Conservationist Unit with about 13,000 individuals in 2013.
Selous Game Reserve is such a unique conservation area with immense diversity and spots including the Rufiji River which flows into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island and the Stiegler Gorge, a canyon of 100 meters depth and 100 meters width. Boat trips on the Rufiji are a popular activity on the reserve.
With accommodation, the reserve has many high end lodges and camps that tourists can stay in during their visits.
For transportation, there is difficult road access and therefore most visitors arrive to the reserve by aircraft from Dar-es-salaam and train access is also possible.
Wildlife in the Reserve
Wildlife in the reserve includes those of the typical miombo such as African bush elephant, black rhino, hippopotamus, lion, wild dog, Cape buffaloes, Masai giraffe, plain zebra and Nile crocodile. This is one of the few sanctuaries on the African continent where you will find the puku antelopes, African wild dogs and the sable antelopes. Animal populations in the reserve are high, however, the animal densities are lower because the reserve is large. A section of the northern park along the Rufiji River has been designated a photographic zone and is a popular tourist destination.
Birds at Selous Game Reserve
The game reserve is home to 445 bird species recorded to live in the various habitats within the reserve. The top spots with bird species in the reserve are the lake areas with birds lie the giant kingfishers, pink backed pelican and the African skimmer, along the sandbanks with birds like the white-fronted bee-eater, fish eagle, carmine, ibises and palmnut vultures. Other bird species in the reserve are purple-crested turaco, yellow-billed stork, white-crowned spur winged plovers, trumpeter hornbill, malachite kingfishers, small waders and many other water birds. Migrant bird species are also available in the reserve.
Activities/what to do in Selous Game Reserve
During a Tanzania tour to the reserve, tourists can engage in different activities for memorable experiences like walking safaris, bird watching, game drives, boat safaris, hot air balloon safaris.
Game drives: These are conducted in the reserve during the morning and afternoon hours. Game drives are an opportunity to view wildlife in an open roof safari vehicle for clear views and great photography. During the game drive, the park ranger guides take the tourists through the park as well as offering very informative knowledge on the wildlife and other inhabitants of the reserve. They are very knowledgeable about where to find the animals and therefore, it is for sure that you will have memorable encounters on a game drive in the park.
Boat safaris: With several water channels including lakes and River Rufiji, boat safaris are an opportunity for tourists to have to explore the reserve. During the boat safaris, there are chances to see various wildlife species including even water animals like hippos and crocodiles. Water birds can also be seen on a boat safari.
Bird watching safaris: With a bird list of more than 400 bird species, those interested in bird watching surely can’t get disappointed. While in the reserve, birders can have guided bird watching tours for an opportunity to see the different bird species. The top spots with bird species in the reserve are the lake areas with birds lie the giant kingfishers, pink backed pelican and the African skimmer, along the sandbanks with birds like the white-fronted bee-eater, fish eagle, carmine, ibises and palmnut vultures. Other bird species in the reserve are purple-crested turaco, yellow-billed stork, white-crowned spur winged plovers, trumpeter hornbill, malachite kingfishers, small waders and many other water birds.
Walking safaris: Guided walking tours are the perfect way of getting closer to nature while in the Selous. During walking safaris, you get an opportunity to enjoy an up close encounter with Mother Nature as you appreciate the beauty and serenity of this remote but beautiful reserve.
Selous Game Reserve offers the perfect escape from the large tourist crowds in the northern safari destinations. Tanzania is truly a great safari destination with very many other destinations that tourists can visit for unique places to visit and things to do. Jewel safaris also offers great wildlife viewing experiences including Kenya safaris, Uganda wildlife safaris or Rwanda wildlife tours. For the great gorilla trekking experiences, tourists can undertake Uganda gorilla safaris or Rwanda gorilla tours and have a lifetime experience trekking the jungle.