Remote, raw and filled with wildlife, the Selous is Africa’s largest game reserve. Yet unlike the iconic destinations of Tanzania’s Northern Safari Circuit, it remains relatively unknown to outsiders.
The sheer scale of the Selous Game Reserve is difficult to imagine. Nearly four times the size of the Serengeti, this massive conservation area is home to Africa’s Big 5 and all the top predators - lion, wild dog, cheetah, leopard and spotted hyena. And the animals are present in large numbers too: a Selous safari is fantastic for sightings of large elephant and buffalo herds as well as healthy populations of hippo, giraffe and sable antelope.
Phenomenally wild and beautiful, the defining feature of the Selous Game Reserve is the great Rufiji River which creates a series of interconnected lakes and palm-fringed channels. The river teems with wildlife: Jurassic-size crocs bask on sunny sandbanks, elephants browse on swampy islands, storks and spoonbills patrol the shallows, and exposed mud banks are covered in crimson clouds of carmine bee-eaters. Consequently, many Selous safari lodges lie on or near the river and offer boat safaris along with game drives in open-top vehicles.
You can also expect some adventure. The Selous isn’t subject to the restrictions that govern Tanzania’s other national parks so along with game drives and river cruises, visitors can go on guided walking safaris that last anything from a few hours to a couple of days with a night of rustic fly-camping. There's not much that can beat the thrill of being on foot in big game country but you'll be in the company of armed rangers and expert guides.
The best time to visit the Selous is during the June to October dry season when wildlife congregates around permanent water. A fly-in destination, this virtually unexplored reserve is rarely visited in isolation so we recommend combining a Selous safari with a stay at Ruaha or Katavi - the other savannah parks in South Central Tanzania equally as wild as Selous - or Mahale National Park, a pristine rainforest reserve on Lake Tanganyika, complete with chimpanzees, forest birds and dazzling clouds of butterflies.
Browse our range of Selous tours and safaris or simply chat to one of our Africa Experts and they'll tailor-make a safari to your specifications; you can even add on a beach holiday on Zanzibar or laid-back Mafia Island - just ask us how.
Quick links to travel advice
Discover off-the-beaten-track destinations with The Road Less Travelled: Africa's Most Unique Safaris
Read all about a Tanzania Safari: A World in One Country