Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest wildlife reserve – an uninhabited area the size of Switzerland. It accounts for 5% of Tanzania’s land area and is a designated World Heritage Site.

The wildlife is diverse with a combination of East and Southern African species. Huge herds of roaming elephant, packs of African hunting dog and black rhino are scattered throughout the 48,000 km2 of the Selous.

The largest Reserve in Africa

The Selous lies in the remote south east of Tanzania – an isolated and undeveloped region. As with other isolated parks, many visitors choose to come by light aircraft; making it an expensive and therefore uncrowded option. None-the-less, there are pockets that are well set up for tourists and you can make a safari here as comfortable or as wild as you please.

Such an enormous area cannot be dominated by one specific feature and accordingly the Selous includes a variety of habitats and ecologies. Savannah, swamps, forests and lakes are all accounted for.

The Rufigi River Delta with Stiegler's Gorge is one of the reserve’s famous features. Connecting the Great Ruaha River with the Rufigi River, it produces a fantastically diverse biology amongst lagoons, borassus palms, forests and sandbanks.

What sets the Selous aside (apart from its size) is that hunting is permitted in large areas of the reserve. The north remains the stamping ground of tourists and photographers whilst parts of the south are the domain of hunters.


  • Selous contains wildlife populations in proportion to its size. Buffalo, elephant, antelope and lion are present is very high numbers.
  • Selous is home to approximately one third of the world’s African hunting dogs.
  • In the dry season an elephant migration between Selous and Niassa in Mozambique takes place. It is estimated that 64,000 elephants exist in the two parks, with about 85% in Selous.
  • Commonly sighted antelope species include bushbuck, impala, eland, greater kudu, waterbuck, reedbuck and sable.
  • Primates include baboon and black-and-white colobus monkeys.
  • The Rufiji River system is home to countless hippos and crocodiles.
  • Other large mammals and predators include cheetah, leopard, hyena, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe.

There is a lot to do in the Selous. Game drives and guided hikes take precedent, but boat trips along the Rufigi River are also very popular. Sport fishing is also becoming popular, with huge tiger and cat fish on offer.

The dry season (June – November) offers great game viewing along the rivers as animals are drawn to the water. The rainy season (January - April) is good for birdlife although many roads become impassable.

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