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Located in southern Tanzania, the Selous Game Reserve is Africa's largest game reserve and one of our favourite game viewing areas in Africa. It really is a hidden gem! It’s much quieter than the Northern parks, the rivers and lakes of the Selous are the lifeblood to a park that hosts phenomenal volumes of game including Africa's largest elephant and wild dog populations and probably it's largest buffalo, hippo, crocodile and lion prides.
As you have probably gathered from reading this page, we are real fans of the Selous. The reality is that this park is so vast it is impossible to count its game and that is exactly what we love about it; Selous is untouched African wilderness and is still easily accessible from Dar and Zanzibar. It is probably our favourite Tanzania safari location.
Home to some of Africa's best boat safaris, walking and fly camping trips makes the Selous the park in Tanzania with the greatest diversity of safari activities. It is not only a great place for the safari enthusiast but also an amazing introduction to unspoilt Africa. Not only is the game viewing superb, especially in the peak season months, but the wilderness on offer is some of the most untouched in Africa and the sheer diversity of activities on offer makes for a superb safari experience. The boating safaris in particular are something that sets this reserve apart from other Tanzanian parks and the fact that the park is so much quieter than the majority of the rest of the country just adds to the attraction of Selous.
The lodges are superb value, small and personal with phenomenal food and service and a world apart from the huge 100 room hotels of the Mara.
Selous Game Reserve: The game
The Selous wildlife is all the more interesting as it attracts both east and southern African wildlife, both resident and migratory, and over 440 known species of birds. Lion are particularly strong here and there are large numbers of leopard. The park is home to over 50% of the endangered African wild dog and also hosts very good buffalo, giraffe, eland, hyena, sable, hippo, crocodile, kudu, baboon, wildebeest, zebra, impala, hartebeest, colobus and vervet monkeys along with over 450 species of bird.
Selous Game Reserve: Activities
Standard game drives are permitted albeit only in the daytime. The Selous has some of the finest boat safaris in Africa and some of the lodges here have some of the very best walking operations on the continent - Siwandu, Beho Beho and Sand Rivers Selous in particular. There are a number of operators who also run fly camping trips which involve lengthy walking safaris and a very adventurous mobile camp set up - a fantastic experience for clients who want to spend a night or two under the stars!
Selous Game Reserve: When to go
Selous is a classic dry season park, with the game getting progressively better the later in the season you travel. July to October is the best time of year for the greatest concentrations of game but do not estimate this park at any time of year; game viewing is very good in specific areas throughout the year. January to February is a time when you have to choose your camp carefully as the game migrates away to fertile feeding grounds. Birding at this time of year is absolutely world class.
Selous Game Reserve: Where to stay
The Selous is home to three of the finest camps in Tanzania, a couple of which would stake their claim as the finest in Africa. Beho Beho and Sand Rivers are exceptional lodges that offer all the activities the Selous is famous for, and host some of the best guiding teams in Africa. Selous Safari Camp is an amazing tented camp in arguably the best game area of the park at a price that makes it one of the best value camps in Africa. Close-by to Selous Safari Camp is the no frills Lake Manze, a great adventurous little camp which has a reputation for being on an elephant highway. Manze's sister camp Impala is a little further away and offers a higher level of luxury at an affordable price. Other camps in the park include Rufiji River Camp, The Retreat, the two Serena properties and Amara Selous. Speak to us for more information.
Recommended lodges in this area:
Beho Beho has been blessed with one of the most sublime views in the Selous game reserve. It provides its guests with every luxury and more, whilst over looking a huge area of true wilderness. The lodge consists of 9 stone bandas (the panoramic view comes free) that are not left wanting in terms of providing their guests with every comfort possible. The food, guiding and service are all of the very highest standard.
Lake Manze is a genuinely fantastic yet simple safari camp. It has a prime position on the edge of a beautiful lake and is within shouting distance of pods of bathing hippo. No electricity in the lodge gives it a rustic edge, yet its comfort and charm give it an old world gravitas that other camps can’t touch. The camp is not about five star luxury, but in terms of safari and value for money, there are none better.
Siwandu reigns supreme in our opinion. It has a fantastic location, great guides and gorgeous tents offering every luxury in a truly authentic style. Discreetly tucked amongst the palm trees on the banks of Lake Nzerakera, it has everything you could want in a safari holiday and is definitely our number one tented camp in the Selous.