Selous Game Reserve

Overview

Introduction

Established in 1922, the Selous Game Reserve is Africa's largest wildlife reserve (21,235sq mi/55,000 sq km), and is in fact roughly the size of Switzerland and four times larger than the Serengeti. The park is named after Captain Frederick Selous, a British explorer and hunter who wrote a book about the region and his travels. He was killed in action during World War I in 1917 while scouting in the area. His grave lies within the reserve at the foot of the Beho Beho Hills.

There are both tented camps and lodge accommodations in remote spots in the north of the park. The best way to get to these is to fly, though there is also the option of taking the train—the TAZARA railway runs through part of the reserve—or driving over a long day from Dar es Salaam.

The highlight of Selous (pronounced se-LOO) is its large variety of animals, including impala, hippo, buffalo, wildebeest, hyena, kudu, sable antelope, elephant, baboon, lion and waterbuck. It is of particular significance as a stronghold for the endangered African wild dog, hosting around one-third of the global population outside captivity. However, because of its remoteness and vast size, while the Selous offers a safari far away from paved roads and curio shops, you're less likely to see as much game as you would in parks where the animals are more concentrated.

Motorboat trips on the palm-lined Rufiji River, Tanzania's largest waterway (and where most of the Selous camps are located), are memorable for the large concentrations of hippos, crocodiles and various water-associated birds, such as the African fish eagle and African skimmer.

Selous begins 80 mi/130 km southwest of Dar es Salaam.

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