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Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve. It is approximately three times the size of Kruger and twice the size of the Serengeti. It is also one of Tanzania’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Fast Facts

Major Attractions
  • Rufiji River
  • Large game concentrations of buffalo, elephant and African wild dog
  • Abundant birdlife
  • Walking safari
  • Boating safari
  • Game drives
  • Fly camping
  • Fishing safari
  • Bush dinners
  • Aerial safari
  • Horse safari
  • 44,800 sq km (17,300 sq miles)
  • Selous Game Reserve forms part of the southern circuit of Tanzania.


Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve. It is approximately three times the size of Kruger and twice the size of the Serengeti. It is also one of Tanzania’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Selous was founded primarily to protect elephants, however it contains a wealth of other wildlife.

Selous has the widest range of safaris activities in Africa, offering boating safari’s, as well as standard game drives, walking safari’s and fly camping trips.

In the north of the game reserve, the Rufiji River flows from west to east, bisecting Selous. Stemming from this is a network of channels, lakes and swamps that form one of the most outstanding ecological systems in East Africa. These waterways provide the lifeblood of the Selous Game Reserve. The lush landscape provides a water supply for the region’s game and toward the end of the dry season the concentration of animals around these water sources is phenomenal in providing unrivaled game viewing.

All the camps in the Selous Reserve offer trips through the reserve by boat, vehicle and on foot. Boat safaris allow you to drift on the lakes and channels, approaching birds and animals closely. You will pass hundreds of hippos and crocodiles, while the lake shores will be busy with yellow baboon combing Nile cabbage for insects.


The sheer volume of game in Selous is outstanding with statistics far in excess of most parks in Africa. Elephant, buffalo and lion are ‘arguably’ found in no greater numbers year round anywhere on the planet.

Selous Game Reserve supports large mammal populations that are best tracked by 4 wheel drive or on foot. Elephants are present in increasing numbers and the Selous boasts Africa’s largest buffalo population, as well as herds of zebra, impala, hippo, crocodiles, Nyassa wildebeest and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. There are greater kudu, sable, eland and giraffe (the Maasai sub-species – at the southern edge of its range). Primates that inhabit this park are vervet and blue monkeys with the cheeky black & white colobus found in the riverine forest.

The predators of Selous will not disappoint, with large prides of lion are never far away. Leopard, spotted hyena and cheetah are present, but harder to spot. Perhaps the most exciting predators are the wild dogs, of which Selous has a thriving population(holding 1/3rd of the world’s population).

Over 440 bird species have been recorded in the Selous. On the lakes you will find pink-backed pelicans, African skimmers and giant kingfishers. The sandbanks are home to white-fronted bee-eater colonies whilst ibises and palm swifts nest in the borassus palms.


Selous possess a diverse landscape including hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes and many rivers and tributaries. The main geographical feature is the Rufiji River and its tributaries the Great Ruaha River and Kilombero River.

The vegetation in Selous varies remarkably. Savannah wooded grassland and deciduous Miombo woodland dominate most of the reserve. It is also covered by dense thorn bushes, ground water forests and rocky outcrops.


The weather at Selous will remain warm throughout the year. The rainy season takes place in April and May while November through to March is the hotter more humid conditions.

June through to October are the more pleasant months to visit with cool nights and warm sunny temperatures during the day.


Selous is inaccessible during the long rains between February and the end of May. Camps are closed throughout this time.


The best time to visit Selous is the cool season from the end of June to the end of October. This is when the  dry season is in full swing and the animals of Selous become more concentrated around the few permanent water sources.

It is during the long rains between February and the end of May that the reserve is inaccessible and the camps are closed. The roads to Kinyanguru can be impassable during the rains, due to black cotton soil.

Bird watching is best done in April(rainy season).

Accommodation at Selous Game Reserve

Amara Selous1

Amara Selous

Amara Selous is the perfect blend of real bush luxury with the surrounding beauty of the African wilderness.

Beho Beho Lodge3

Beho Beho Lodge

Unlike the other lodges in Selous, Beho Beho is located in the highlands, giving it both unrivalled views over Selous and a sense of privacy in which to unwind and relax.

Kibo Point2

Kibo Point

Each of the luxury, open and airy villas is made up of a plunge pool, open bathroom with outside shower and river views.

Lake Manze Camp3

Lake Manze Camp

Docum palms and Terminalia offer shade to the tents which are well spread out, nearly invisible to each other and with good views of the lake.

Mivumo River Lodge4

Mivumo River Lodge

Selous Luxury Camp is located in a pristine area of Selous, close to Stieglers Gorge and offers luxurious accommodation, true African hospitality and outstanding standards of service.

Rufiji River Camp1

Rufiji River Camp

Rufiji River Camp consists of west facing tents, all of which house comfortable beds with mosquito netting, together with all the luxuries and comforts of a quality camp.

Sable Mountain Lodge, Selous, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Sable Mountain Lodge

The lodge is small and intimate with emphasis placed on a true wilderness experience combined with warm hospitality.The cottages are spacious and stylish with views over the forest from a private veranda.

Sand Rivers, Selous, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Sand Rivers Selous

Sand Rivers Selous is a haven of natural luxury, a small, peaceful yet vibrant safari lodge within the vast Selous wilderness.

Selous Impala Camp5

Selous Impala Camp

Selous Impala’s tents are set amidst the Borassa Palms and Tamarind tress, which make up the riparian forest along the banks of the mighty Rufiji River, and each tent gives superb views out across the river in order to watch wildlife pass by.

Selous Luxury Camp, Selous, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Selous Luxury Camp

Set amidst dense indigenous forests the Selous Luxury Camp is the ultimate wilderness retreat.

Selous Private Camp, Selous, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Selous Private Camp

Selous Safari Camp is a classic luxury tented camp located on the banks of Lake Nzerakera in the most prolific and thrilling game viewing area of the Selous.

Selous Safari Camp, Selous, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Selous Safari Camp

Selous Safari Camp blends in superbly with its natural surroundings in what is one of the most photogenic areas of the Selous Game Reserve.

Selous Safari Camp4

Selous Sunset Lodge

Selous Sunset Lodge is a discreetly spread out single storey lodge overlooking the Rufiji River.

Selous Wilderness Camp4

Selous Wilderness Camp

With only 7 spacious tents and a mixture of solid wooden furniture and leather sofas, Selous Wilderness Camp offers intimacy and exclusivity to the guests.