Selous Safari Holiday Guide – Wildlife and Wetlands in Southern Tanzania

Due to its unique ecological importance, the Selous Game Reserve was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. With an area of about 55,000 sq. km it is by far the largest wildlife sanctuary in Africa, and one of the largest protected areas in the world.

Being larger than Switzerland, the size of the Selous is quite remarkable. Mostly uninhabited and little touched by human interference it is one of the most pristine wilderness areas still remaining in Africa.

Named after Captain Frederick Courtney Selous, a legendary 19th century naturalist, explorer and hunter, the Selous Game Reserve was founded in 1905. Situated in southern Tanzania it is bordered by Mikumi National Park to the northwest and by the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and Kibasira Swamp to the west.

In the entire game reserve only a restricted number of camps are permitted, making a safari in the Selous an exclusive experience. The greater part of northern Selous is reserved for photographic safaris and is one of the most beautiful and game rich areas of the reserve.

Selous Game Reserve Safari Habitats

The Selous is blessed with a wide variety of wildlife habitats, including open grasslands, acacia and miombo woodlands, swamps and riverine forests in the many tributaries of the mighty Rufiji River which flows through the reserve. In the Selous, there is such a variety of environments that in a single day it’s possible to pass from the bush to open savannah, to the Borassus palm of the more temperate riverbanks.

Safari Activities in the Selous

Camps in the Selous tend to work on an all-inclusive basis and include a variety of game-viewing activities.

Selous Game Drives

Accompanied by highly experienced rangers, experts of the Selous Game Reserve and it’s animal behaviours. The destinations are quite varied: normally directed towards one or more of the lakes where the animals group to drink, the itinerary and timing are decided at the moment by each group on the basis of the animals encountered and the specific interests of the guests. A normal jeep safari lasts half-day, but a full day safari can easily be organised.

Selous Boat Safaris

With a multitude of destinations, ranging from the main course of the river to the many lateral canals and various lakes. The boat trip normally last a half-day, and at least one should be made at sunset. Fishing is also available but must be booked and paid for at the camps.

Selous Walking Safaris

Perhaps the most exciting activity of all. Selous is one of the very few parks in Tanzania where you can take a safari on your own two feet. You can choose an established trail, or one for your special interest, always of course, accompanied by an armed ranger. It’s a real treasure for the true explorer.

Relaxing by the Rufiji River

There is probably no better way to unwind at the end of a typical Selous day than by sipping a sundowner from the comfort of a tented camp with a view out over the Rufiji River.

Highlights of the Selous Game Reserve

1 Experience a variety of game viewing activities including game drives, boat and walking safaris.
Relax in the comfort of a luxury tented camp or spend a night in a wilderness fly-camp.
3 Search for wild dog, lion, elephant and leopard on an early morning game drive.

Tanzania Parks & Reserves


Serengeti National Park


Kilimanjaro National Park


Selous Game Reserve


Mahale Mountains


Arusha National Park


Lake Manyara

ruaha leopard

Ruaha National Park


Gombe Stream


Ngorongoro Crater


Mkomazi National Park


Kitulo National Park


Uzungwa Mountains


Tarangire National Park


Mikumi National Park


Saadani National Park


Katavi National Park

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