Selous game reserve
Selous game reserve Tanzania in the Miombo woodlands and situated in a distance of about 130 – 500 kilometers south west of Dar-es-salaam. Selous game reserve shares borders with Mikumi national park and Udzungwa Mountains national park in the northwest and Kilombero game controlled area in the west.
Selous national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site covering an area of 50,000 square kilometers, the area of the park comprises of various tenure and vegetation zones. The central region of Selous game reserve comprises of flat-rolling landscape with alluvial valleys, protruding inselbergs and covered by thickets and closed woodland. The south region is forested, hilly and rugged, the south western region comprises of Mbarika Mountains standing at the altitude of 1300 meters. The west region of Selous game reserve is mountainous and forested with intervening wet lowlands and the east and north comprises of tree grasslands and in wet season they are flooded by river Rufji.
Selous game reserve is a habitat to a variety of wildlife and birdlife, Selous game reserve is a habitat to the largest population of elephants on the African continent with 110,000 individuals together with a huge population of lions larger than any place on African continent. The reserve also habits one of the black rhino population in Tanzania, other animals found in Selous game reserve include buffaloes, zebras, impalas, giraffes, greater kudus, waterbucks, bushbucks, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, elands, African wild dogs, brindled gnu, Nyasaland gnu, sable antelopes, warthogs, leopards, spotted hyenas, crocodiles and many more.
Selous game reserve comprises of lakes which are home to wildlife and bird life species, these lakes include Tagalala, Mzizimia, Siwandu, Manze and Nzelekela. Also animals are attracted to Rufji River and its tributaries most especially during dry season, the animals come to the river to drink water.
Selous game reserve is one of the most recognized birding habitat and destinations in Tanzania, this reserve is a fantastic habitat to 400 species of birds residing mostly on the banks of the lakes and River Rufji channel. The bird population in Selous game reserve include migratory bird species which become in the reserve from November to April, birds in Selous game reserve include spur-winged lapwing, African wattled lapwing, white-fronted bee-eater, Pel’s fishing owl, African spoonbill, common-white headed vulture, pearl-spotted owlet, white-headed Lapwing, Bohm’s bee-eater, yellow-billed stork, thick-billed cuckoo, white-backed night heron, carmine bee-eater, rock pratincole, giant kingfishers, spur-winged plovers, palm nut vultures, ibises, palm swifts nest and many more.
History of Selous game reserve
Selous game reserve was first declared a protected area in 1896 under the orders of Hermann Von Wissmann the German Governor of Tanganyika the present Tanzania, in 1905 the area was declared as a hunting reserve in 1922 the reserve’s area were extended. The area was named Selous game reserve after Fredrick Courteney Selous who was a British explorer, Selous was killed during the First World War, he was buried in the reserve and his grave visited as a monument in the reserve. As time went by the boundaries of the reserve continued to be extended up to 1975 to its current boundaries, in 2005 Selous game reserve was recognized as a lion conservation unit. In 2014 the reserve was include on the list of World Heritage in Danger and in 2017 the decision was reconfirmed due to increasing poaching and mining of uranium which was happening in the southern region of the reserve.
Safari activities in Selous game reserve
Game viewing in Selous game reserve is one of the highlight safari activities offered, the game reserve is a home to a variety of animal species including the biggest population of the rare African wild dog spotted while on this safari experience. From the comfort of your 4X4 vehicle you will have an opportunity to spot animals like zebras, impalas, giraffes, greater kudus, waterbucks, bushbucks, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, elands, African wild dogs, brindled gnu, Nyasaland gnu, sable antelopes, warthogs, leopards, spotted hyenas, crocodiles and many more. For excellent sights animals on game viewing is the banks of river Rufji visited by a huge population of animals to drink water.
Selous game reserve is one of the excellent sights in Tanzania for visit for a memorable birding safari, this game reserve is a home to over 440 bird species habiting around islands, channels, sandbanks of river Rufji and lagoons. The fact the Selous game reserve is situated in the migratory of migratory bird species from Europe and northern Africa, the reserves receives migratory bird species from the month of April. Birding in Selous game reserve offers sights of bird species like African wattled lapwing, white-fronted bee-eater, Pel’s fishing owl, African spoonbill, common-white headed vulture, pearl-spotted owlet, white-headed Lapwing, Bohm’s bee-eater, yellow-billed stork, thick-billed cuckoo, white-backed night heron, carmine bee-eater, rock pratincole, giant kingfishers, spur-winged plovers and many more.
Walking safaris in Selous game reserve are done following the magnificent river Rufji on the sandbanks and through the riverine forests on the banks of the river, this experience offers perfect opportunity to explore Selous game reserve to its fullest. Walking safaris are done in groups of not more than 6 people with guidance from an experienced armed safari guide, on this safari expect to spot a variety of animals such as lions, giraffes, waterbucks, elephants and many as the graze and hippos, crocodiles as they play in the waters of River Rufji.
Selous game reserve is one of the few national parks in Tanzania where tourists get to enjoy views of animals from waters, boat safaris are offered on River Rufji and Lake Tagalala and organized by Selous River camp. Boat safaris are offered as short boat safari and full day boat safari, short boat safari takes 2 hours and offered 2 times in a day that is from 7am – 9 am and 4pm -6 pm. Full day boat safari takes a full day and offered from 10 am – 6 pm, boat safaris offer a perfect experience to enjoy sights of water animals such as crocodiles, hippos and other animals like lions, giraffes, impalas, waterbucks converging at the water bodies to drink water.
Selous game reserve is a wonderful destination to visit for fishing safaris, the reserve is crossed by Rufji River inhabiting various fish species which are caught during fishing safaris. On fishing safaris you will be delighted and thrilled to catch fish species like Rufji Tilapia, Oreochromis Urolepis elephant fish, Marmyrus Longirostris, catfish species such as Heterobrancus catfish and many more. Fishing safaris doubles with a boat cruise experience to get to the fishing spots.
A safari in Selous game reserve is never complete without visiting the Mloka village situated near the park and downriver of Selous River camp, on a cultural tour offers an opportunity for tourists to experience a cultural and local experience as you get involved in activities like meeting the locals, visiting primary schools, markets and many more. Cultural tours are offered as long or short to fit the preference and a time a tourist has on hand.
How to get to Selous game reserve
Selous game reserve is accessed by road, air and railway which are affordable to tourists going to the park for a safari, by road Selous game reserve is situated in a drivable distance of 240 kilometers taking approximately 6 hours from Dar-es-Salaam to Mtemere gate via Kibiti and Mloka. By railway, Selous game reserve is accessed on a 4-5 hours train ride, the train stops in Matambwe then you connect to the park. By air, daily scheduled chartered flights are offered from Arusha, Dar-es-salaam to Selous game reserve. These flights are offered by domestic flight companies such as Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Regional air, ZanAir, Safari Air Link and Coastal Aviation. Flights to Selous game reserve land at Mtemere airstrip serving the game reserve.
Where to stay in Selous game reserve
In Selous game reserve there is numerous accommodation establishments of various status established to offer a place to stay to tourists in Selous game reserve, the accommodation establishments include Sand river Selous, Jimbiza Lodge, Selous Kulinda camp, Selous Mbega Camp, Selous wilderness camp, Africa safari camp, Selous Ngalawa camp, Selous river camp, The Retreat, Roho ya Selous, Selous Serena camp, Mivumo River Lodge and many more.