Selous Game Reserve
Size: 54,600 sq km (21,100 sq miles)
Established: 1922 – became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982
Distance from Dar es Salaam: 200 km (124 miles)
Selous is by far the largest game reserve in Africa and it is also bigger than Switzerland! It was named after the famous English hunter/explorer Sir Frederick Courtney Selous who died in 1917 during WW1 in Beho Beho. Selous has many diverse habitats and the land is made up of a mixture of Miombo woodlands, rolling hills, savannahs, rocky outcrops, swamps, lakes and rivers. The majestic Rufiji River, the largest river in Tanzania, is the lifeblood of the reserve and along with a network of many tributaries, lakes, lagoons and channels, plays a vital role to the ecosystem. The Selous Game Reseve is divided into two parts. The northern Selous covers only about 5% of the reserves total area and it is purely dedicated to photographic safaris. The southern Selous is the area south of the Rufiji River and it is split up in to several hunting concessions which are leased out to professional trophy hunting companies.
When visiting Selous for a safari, visitors will travel to the northern part, which thrives with wildlife. Large concentrations of buffaloes, hippos, wildebeests, impalas, zebras, gazelles, hartebeests, giraffes, waterbucks, kudus, roan antelopes, sable antelopes and crocodiles are all found here. Selous is also home to almost 3000-4000 lions, and is considered to have half of Tanzania’s elephant population within its boundaries! In addition thereto it is also home to the endangered African wild dog and black rhino. Leopards are also very much at home here and they prefer to live in the Miombo woodlands area.
With its more than 440 species, Selous is also a perfect spot for ornithologists. The most commonly seen species are African spoonbills, white fronted bee-eaters, white headed vultures, African fish eagles, spur-winged lapwings, francolins and many more. The reserve offers a variety of activities for guest to choose from. In addition to regular game drives, visitors can go on a boat safari or walk in the footsteps of people like Hemingway during a walking safari accompanied by an armed ranger.