Selous Game Reserve: A UNESCO Heritage site in Tanzania

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Selous Game Reserve

For about six to eight hours drive towards the southern part of Tanzania, south of Dar es Salaam, you will be led to one of the East African region’s largest Protected Areas. For a total Area of 54,000 square kilometers (21,100 square miles/5,400,000 hectares), Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest faunal Reserves in the whole World and most extensive in Tanzania, lying within the southern end of the country and was gazetted in 1922 before becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to its rich biodiversity inform of undisturbed nature and wide range of wildlife species.

This Tanzanian Game Reserve was named after Sir Frederick Selous, an Englishman who was a popular big game hunter and early conservationist and passed away at Beho Beho within this territory in 1917 during his diligent fight against the Germans during the First World War. This site is a historical site where the Scottish Explorer and Cartographer known as Keith Johnston also died within Beho Beho in 1879 while heading the Royal Geographical Society expedition to the Great Lakes region of East Africa with Joseph Thomson.

Flora and Fauna within Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is dominated by the Miombo woodland as well as other habitats such as Tropical Acacia savannahs, grasslands and wetlands that offers shelter to large numbers of African game species not spotted within any other African Parks or Reserves and they include Hippos, wildebeests, African bush elephants, elands, vervet monkeys, Cape buffaloes, impalas, black rhinos, crocodiles, Lions, spotted hyenas, Oryx, Hippos, black and white colobus monkeys, Plains zebras, hyenas, Nyassa wildebeests, the East African wild dogs, Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, sable antelopes, greater and lesser kudus, Maasai giraffes and Nile crocodiles among others.

In addition to the wildlife, Selous Game Reserve is popular for the abundant bird species with over 440 species recorded in the Protected Area including the Malachite kingfishers, Palmnut vultures, African fish eagles, Ibis, pink-backed pelicans, giant kingfishers, white-fronted bee-eaters, purple-crested turaco, Pied kingfishers, yellow-billed storks, spur-winged plovers and African skimmers among others. Some of the interesting adventure that await tourists in this Game Reserve include short and long walking safaris, game drives with open-roofed vehicles, fly camping, bird watching and boat rides on River Rufiji. Some of the most interesting places to explore within the Park include the Rufiji River that flows into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island and the Stiegler Gorge, a canyon of 100 meters deep and another 100 meters width.

Best Time to go

Tourists intending to explore the Selous Game Reserve are not restricted by season because at whatever time you go, you will be amazed by what the site offers although the perfect time for achieving the best experiences is dry season from July to October because during this time, visitors are guaranteed of enjoying excellent game viewing opportunities (when numerous wildlife species gather at water points and due to thinner vegetation) on top of the routes being literally impassable during the rainy season.

How to Access Selous Game Reserve

This Reserve is found within the south-eastern side of Tanzania, approximately 450 kilometers (285 miles) south-west of Dar es Salaam City, and can be reached by road via the normal circuit route that involves a trip to the Mikumi National Park heading through and entering Matambwe gate, air with scheduled flights from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar or Arusha to the different accommodation facilities or public access Airstrips and finally Railway via the Tanzania-Zambia railway line (also known as TAZARA).

You can opt for a self guided safari in Selous Game Reserve and You can rent a car in Tanzania from several car rental agencies in Dar es Salaam or Arusha, two major touristic towns in Tanzania.

Where to Stay within Selous Game Reserve

Accommodation facilities in this Game Reserve are mainly concentrated within the northern part of Selous thus you can spend overnights within the luxurious Tented Camp at Mbuyini, Sand River Selous, Siwandu Safari Camp, Selous Wilderness Camp, Selous Riverside Safari Camp, Selous Mbuyu Safari Camp, Selous Kinga Lodge, Selous Impala Camp, Selous Great Water Lodge, Sand Rivers Selous, Sable Mountain Lodge, Retreat Selous, Mivumo River Lodge, Kiba Point Safari Lodge, Jimbiza Lodge, Beho Beho Selous, Amara Selous, Selous Luxury Camp, Rufiji River Camp and Mbuyu Camp among others.