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Overview

Extending over 17,500 square miles, Selous, set in the far south of Tanzania, is the world’s largest game reserve, with an area some 50 percent greater than either Switzerland or Belgium. Much of the reserve is scenically repetitive, consisting of flat savannah and woodland interspersed with patches of open grassland, but the monotony is alleviated by the muddy Rufiji River, whose life-sustaining waters feed a lush wetland of open lakes, reed-lined channels and marshy islands, teeming with crocs, hippos and all manner of water birds. Selous usually offers excellent game viewing, with lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and various antelope ...

Extending over 17,500 square miles, Selous, set in the far south of Tanzania, is the world’s largest game reserve, with an area some 50 percent greater than either Switzerland or Belgium. Much of the reserve is scenically repetitive, consisting of flat savannah and woodland interspersed with patches of open grassland, but the monotony is alleviated by the muddy Rufiji River, whose life-sustaining waters feed a lush wetland of open lakes, reed-lined channels and marshy islands, teeming with crocs, hippos and all manner of water birds. Selous usually offers excellent game viewing, with lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and various antelope likely to be seen in large numbers in the developed northern part of the reserve. It is also the most important stronghold for the endangered African wild dog, harboring around 25 percent of the world’s free-ranging population, and sightings are frequent, especially during the denning season of June-August. Perhaps the most important distinguishing feature of Selous, however, is neither its size nor its wildlife, but the fact it is one of the few major African reserves that, in addition to game drives, can be explored by boat or on foot (most camps offer guided boat trips and walks, as well as fly-camping excursions), making it the ideal safari destination for the more active and adventurous visitor.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Selous Game Reserve is located in the south of Tanzania. It was named after Englishman Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist, who died at Beho Beho in 1917 while fighting against the Germans during WWI.
  • Language: Kiswahili or Swahili, English and Arabic
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The best time to be there is over the dry season, from July to February, with the optimum months being August-September. Several lodges close at the height of the rainy season (March-May), when internal roads may be impassable.