Selous Game Reserve Ecosystem Budget Travel Guide

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Huge & wild

Selous in southern Tanzania is one of the largest wilderness reserves in the world - at 54 600 km², it is three times the size of the famous Kruger National Park, four times bigger than the Serengeti, and larger than Switzerland! The Selous Ecosystem stretches even further encompassing other natural areas, including Mikumi National Park to the north.

This incredibly vast landscape is divided into two sections by the Rufiji River, which flows into the Indian Ocean. The northern section makes up 10% of the park and is the area open to tourism and photographic safaris. The remaining 90% in the south is not open to tourism and is exclusively trophy hunting territory. Selous is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the diversity of plant and animal life and vast areas of arguably the most untouched virgin wilderness in Africa. 

Selous Fauna & Flora

Selous Reserve boasts some of the highest populations of animals on the continent, but due to its sheer size, the density is low. There is an abundance of elephants, black rhinos, hippos, Masai lions, African wild dogs (about half of Africa's remaining population), cheetahs, Cape buffalo, Masai giraffes and crocodiles, to name only a few. The vegetation consists of typical savanna grasslands, wetlands and woodlands, providing diverse habitats.

Selous has over 440 recorded bird species to keep avid bird watchers occupied. On the lakes, one can expect to see pink-backed pelicans, African skimmers and Giant Kingfishers. The sandbanks are home to the Carmine and white-fronted bee-eaters and fish eagles, Palmnut vultures, hornbills and the Pel's fishing owl can be spotted. Selous also has some hot volcanic springs, lakes and Stiegler Gorge, which is an impressive 100-by-100 metre canyon. 

A highlight of Selous is undoubtedly the boat-based safaris on the Fufiji River, enabling unparalleled close-up encounters with animals and birds. Game drives and walking safaris are also very popular and fly-camping trips are an unforgettable experience. Fly-camping entails setting up camps in the open wilderness, under the stars as part of a walking safari and being engulfed by the overwhelming beauty and magnificence of Africa in all her glory. This is wildly romantic and perfect for the adventurous at heart. It is raw and untouched, wild landscape.

Best time to visit Selous

The dry season is from June to October and is favoured for game watching due to the thinner vegetation and the gathering of animals at water points. This time of year is less humid, with little to no rain and a much lower risk of malaria. The wet season is from October to May and sees the bushveld turning thick and lush. The roads can be very muddy and the days and nights are hot and humid. Many lodges are closed during the months of March, April and May. 

Selous Game Reserve Location

Selous is a 6-8 hour drive south of Dar es Salam or a mere 45-minute flight. Driving provides the opportunity to experience the local villages and way of life, as well as the breathtaking scenery, giving visitors a true feeling of the secluded remoteness of this corner of the world. Alternatively, you can enjoy a charming trip by rail with the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, which also allows you to get lost in the unspoilt passing views of Africa at her best, as you snake through the bushveld. Selous is an ideal game destination for those wanting to combine a wildlife bush adventure with a relaxing beach holiday along the coast, or on one of the Zanzibar Islands. 

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Tours Focused on Selous Game Reserve Ecosystem

Vic Falls to Dar es Salaam Accommodated Overland Safari

Duration 11 Days, Travel Style Accommodated Overland Tours
Priced from pps R23950 $1659 £1274 €1476 A$2354 C$2225 NZ$2438 Full pricing info
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Luangwa River Explore Victoria Falls, Lusaka and Chipata. Drive to Zambia's South Luangwa National Park and cross into Malawi. Relax on Lake Malawi beaches, see the Great Rift Valley and Mukumi National Park then Dar es Salaam.

Trip Style Selous Game Reserve Ecosystem Overland Safaris

Southern Tanzania Budget Camping Safari

Duration 10 Days, Travel Style Camping Safaris
Priced from pps R45341 $3140 £2412 €2795 A$4457 C$4213 NZ$4615 Full pricing info
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Ruaha buffalos This Southern Tanzania Game Parks Safari explores remote game reserves including Mikumi Park, Ruaha National Park, Udzungwa Mountains & Selous Game Reserve offering an off-the-beaten track authentic African Camping Safari experience.

Trip Style Selous Game Reserve Ecosystem Budget Safari Packages