UK +44 (0) 20 8704 1216
USA (toll free) 1-866 356 4691
Australia (toll free) 1-800 025068
Located in southern Tanzania and far from the madding crowds, the Selous Game Reserve is Africa's largest game reserve and one of our favourite wildlife viewing areas. It really is a hidden gem! The rivers and lakes of the Selous are the lifeblood of a park that hosts some fabulous game, including elephant, wild dog, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and fantastic prides of lion.
As you may have gathered, we are huge 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 yet still easily accessible from Dar and Zanzibar. All in all, it is probably our favourite Tanzania safari location.
Not only a wonderful place for the seasoned safari enthusiast, the Selous also offers an amazing introduction to unspoilt Africa. The game viewing is superb (especially in the peak season months), the wilderness on display is some of the most untouched in Africa, and the sheer variety of activities available makes for an excellent safari experience. Home to some of Africa's best walking, boat safaris and fly camping trips, the Selous has the greatest diversity of safari activities of all the Tanzanian safari parks. The boating safaris in particular really set this reserve apart from other Tanzanian parks. The fact that the Selous is so much quieter (in visitor terms) than the majority of the rest of the country just adds to its attraction.
Selous Game Reserve: the game
The wildlife in the Selous is particularly 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 remaining endangered African wild dog, and also hosts very good populations of 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 daytime game drives are just the beginning. The Selous also offers some of the finest boat safaris in Africa, along with some of the very best walking operations on the continent, including in particular at Siwandu, Beho Beho and Sand Rivers Selous. There are also a number of operators here who run fly camping trips, comprising lengthy walking safaris and mobile camping under the stars - very adventurous but not for the faint-hearted!
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 overall concentrations of game, but do not underestimate this park at any other time; game viewing is very good in various areas throughout the year. During January and February you do need to choose your camp very carefully as the game migrates away to more 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 best in all of Africa. Beho Beho and Sand Rivers are exceptional lodges that offer all the activities for which the Selous is famous, and host some excellent guiding teams. Siwandu (formerly Selous Safari Camp) is a fabulous 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 Siwandu is the no-frills Lake Manze, a great little adventurous 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 a still affordable price. Other camps in the park include Rufiji River Camp, The Retreat and Amara Selous. Speak to us for more information.
While we try and make our website as comprehensive as possible, if you would like some more background information on Selous, or Tanzania in general, have a read through the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar, written by our director Annabel. The most recent addition was published in 2005 so some of it might be slightly dated but generally it’s as comprehensive as they come. Click here for the relevant section.
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.