Nyerere National Park

Selous Game Reserve, now known as Nyerere National Park, is one of the largest and oldest protected areas in Africa. It’s located in southern Tanzania and covers an enormous area of around 54,600 square kilometers (21,081 square miles). This immense wilderness is home to a remarkable diversity of wildlife and offers visitors a chance to experience a pristine and less-touristy African safari. Here are some key points about Selous National Park:

  1. Abundance of Wildlife: Selous is known for its rich biodiversity, including large populations of elephants, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, wild dogs, and various antelope species. The park also hosts a wide array of bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
  2. Landscape Variety: The park’s landscapes vary from open grassy plains to dense thickets, miombo woodlands, and meandering rivers. The Rufiji River, which runs through the park, is home to numerous hippos and crocodiles and is a vital water source for many animals.
  3. Wild Dog Population: Selous is renowned for its significant African wild dog population, one of the largest in the world. These endangered predators are a rare sight in many other African parks.
  4. Boat Safaris: One of the unique aspects of Selous is its river and boat safaris. Tourists can explore the park’s diverse ecosystem and observe wildlife from the water, offering a fresh perspective on the animals and landscapes.
  5. Walking Safaris: In addition to traditional game drives, Selous offers guided walking safaris, providing a more intimate and close-to-nature experience.
  6. Cultural Encounters: The region surrounding Selous is inhabited by local tribes such as the Maasai, and there are opportunities to visit their villages and experience their culture.
  7. Scenic Beauty: The park is not just about wildlife; it also boasts breathtaking scenery, including rolling hills, cliffs, and the spectacular Stiegler’s Gorge along the Rufiji River.
  8. Off the Beaten Path: Selous National Park is a less-visited safari destination, offering a quieter and more exclusive experience compared to more popular parks like Serengeti or Ngorongoro.
  9. Conservation: The park is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and plays a crucial role in the conservation of African wildlife and ecosystems. Efforts are made to protect its pristine wilderness.


Visiting Selous National Park offers a wide range of activities to explore the pristine wilderness and observe the abundant wildlife. Here are some of the things you can do in Selous National Park:

  1. Game Drives: Embark on traditional game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles with experienced guides. These drives provide you with the opportunity to spot a wide variety of animals, including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, wild dogs, and an array of antelope species.
  2. Walking Safaris: Join guided walking safaris, allowing you to explore the park on foot and get up close to the smaller details of the ecosystem. This offers a more intimate and immersive experience.
  3. Boat Safaris: Take boat safaris on the Rufiji River and the park’s interconnected lakes. These excursions allow you to see hippos, crocodiles, and many bird species up close. The riverine and water-based perspective offers unique photo opportunities.
  4. Fly Camping: Experience the thrill of fly camping, where you spend a night in a temporary campsite deep within the park. It’s a fantastic way to connect with nature and enjoy an authentic bush experience.
  5. Birdwatching: Selous is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 350 bird species recorded within the park. Keep your binoculars ready to spot colorful kingfishers, herons, fish eagles, and many other avian species.
  6. Cultural Tours: Learn about the local cultures of the tribes living near Selous. You can visit Maasai villages and interact with the local communities to gain insight into their traditions and way of life.
  7. Photography: The park’s diverse landscapes, wildlife, and vibrant birdlife offer superb photographic opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just want to capture memories, Selous is a fantastic place to hone your photography skills.
  8. Picnics and Sundowners: Enjoy picnics and sundowners in scenic locations within the park. Your safari guides will find the perfect spots for you to relax, enjoy a meal, and watch the sunset over the African wilderness.
  9. Rufiji River Camps: Stay at one of the riverside camps within Selous National Park. These camps provide exceptional accommodation with beautiful views and river-based activities, making your stay even more memorable.
  10. Walking Safaris: Some lodges and camps offer guided walking safaris, where you can explore the park’s terrain on foot. It’s an opportunity to connect with the environment and observe wildlife from a different perspective.
  11. Bush Breakfasts and Bush Dinners: Experience meals in the heart of the African bush. Dining under the stars with the sounds of the wilderness surrounding you is a unique and memorable experience.
  12. Photographic Safaris: For photography enthusiasts, you can arrange specialized photographic safaris with experienced guides who understand the best angles and lighting conditions for capturing the perfect shot.

Whether you’re interested in wildlife viewing, exploring the landscapes, engaging with local cultures, or simply relaxing in nature, Selous National Park has a diverse range of activities to suit every traveler’s interests and preferences.


The best time to visit Selous National Park in southern Tanzania largely depends on your preferences and what you want to experience during your safari. Selous offers different advantages throughout the year, and it’s known for its more exclusive and uncrowded experience compared to some of the more popular parks in the northern circuit. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit Selous:

  1. Dry Season (June to October): This period is often considered the best time to visit Selous National Park. During the dry season, wildlife congregates around the rivers and lakes, making animal sightings easier. The weather is pleasant, with warm days and cool nights. Vegetation is sparse, ensuring better visibility. This is the ideal time for game drives, walking safaris, and boat safaris.
  2. Late Dry Season (September to October): Towards the end of the dry season, the park’s water sources become increasingly important for wildlife. This is a prime time for boat safaris, as you’ll witness large concentrations of hippos and crocodiles in the rivers. Birdwatching is also excellent during this period.
  3. Green Season (November to May): The green season, or the rainy season, is the wettest time in Selous. The park transforms into a lush, green paradise with vibrant vegetation. Although wildlife is more dispersed during this period, it’s an excellent time for birdwatching as migrant species visit. Fewer tourists means more exclusivity and lower prices.
  4. Calving Season (January to February): This period coincides with the calving season for wildebeest and other ungulates. Predators are often more active during this time, seeking out vulnerable young animals. It’s a fantastic time for game viewing if you can tolerate occasional rain.
  5. Boat Safaris (June to November): Boat safaris are exceptional in the dry season when the rivers and lakes are at their most photogenic, and you can spot hippos, crocodiles, and various waterbeds. The Rufiji River is a particular highlight.

In summary, the best time for a traditional game drive safari in Selous National Park is during the dry season from June to October, when wildlife congregates around water sources. For those interested in birdwatching and a more exclusive experience, the green season offers lush landscapes and lower visitor numbers. Ultimately, the best time to visit Selous depends on your preferences, from wildlife encounters to photographic opportunities and budget considerations.


Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest and most renowned protected areas in Tanzania, located in the southern part of the country. Getting to Selous involves a combination of road and air travel. Here’s how to get to Selous National Park:

By Air:

  1. Fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR): Your journey to Selous typically begins with an international flight to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam, which is Tanzania’s largest and busiest airport.
  2. Domestic Flight to Selous: From Dar es Salaam, you can take a domestic flight to an airstrip near Selous Game Reserve. The most commonly used airstrip is Stiegler’s Airstrip, but there are other options. Several domestic airlines, including Coastal Aviation, Auric Air, and Safari Air Link, operate flights to Selous from Dar es Salaam and other major Tanzanian cities.

By Road:

  1. Drive from Dar es Salaam: If you prefer a more adventurous journey, you can choose to drive from Dar es Salaam to Selous Game Reserve. The drive typically takes about 6–8 hours, depending on road conditions and the specific camp or lodge you are visiting. The park’s northern gate at Matambwe offers the most accessible entry point from Dar es Salaam. Be prepared for a long but scenic drive, and make sure your vehicle is suitable for the terrain.
  2. Guided Safari Transfer: Many tour operators and lodges in Dar es Salaam can arrange guided road transfers to Selous. They provide comfortable vehicles, experienced drivers, and the option to break up the journey with sightseeing stops along the way.

Once you arrive at your chosen airstrip or the park’s main gate, your accommodations will typically provide transfers from the airstrip or gate to their camp or lodge.

It’s essential to confirm all travel arrangements with your tour operator or accommodations in advance, as Selous Game Reserve is vast, and road conditions can vary. Also, ensure you have all necessary permits and park entry fees for your visit. Whether you choose to fly or drive, Selous National Park offers an incredible safari experience with its diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife.