Nyerere National Park (Selous Game Reserve)
Selous Game Reserve (partly now known as Nyerere National Park) in southern Tanzania has savannah lands dissected by the impressive Rufiji River and its network of lakes and swamps. Explore by jeep, on foot and by boat.
We absolutely loved the safari. Neither of us had been on safari before and Selous was the perfect place to do it without having to go somewhere that we had to share the experiences with many others in jeeps. We were lucky to see as much as we did - lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, hippos and many more. As well as the amazing sundowners, going on a walking safari, and fishing next to two schools of hippos!
You’ve probably heard of Selous Game Reserve, but you could have missed the re-naming of the northern sector of this reserve in 2019 to Nyerere National Park. With 30,000 square kilometres it is Africa’s newest and largest national park – twice the size of the Serengeti. The park encompasses the mighty Rufiji River, a myriad of oxbows and lakes ensuring survival for the diverse wildlife of the area.
The game viewing is fabulous with large numbers of giraffe, huge herds of buffalo, elephants, plains game and predators – every safari enthusiasts dream. Nyerere, being much less visited than the northern circuit reserves, has a definite attraction for seasoned and novice safari-goers.
- Wildlife of Selous / Nyerere: There are large numbers giraffes - in fact it’s known as ‘Giraffic Park’! You should see some elephants, certainly buffalo, wildebeest, zebras, impalas and other antelopes. Lions are the most commonly seen big cat, and other predators such as hyenas and jackals are often spotted. Thanks to the rivers and wetlands, hippos, crocodiles and birdlife are also excellent.
The park is considered one of the last strongholds for the endangered African wild dog – it has more than any other African park.
- Birdlife in Selous / Nyerere: Being such a watery wilderness in parts, there is diverse and abundant with over 440 species recorded. Keep your eyes peeled for rare Pel’s fishing owls, but you should see plenty of kingfishers, storks, skimmers fish eagles and bee-eaters, especially on a boat safari.
- Activities in Selous / Nyerere: This park is a great destination for a walking safari, ideal for getting closer to nature and treading in the footsteps of the early pioneers.
Nyerere is the only place in Tanzania where you can enjoy a boat safari on the rivers and lakes, a relaxing way to enjoy wildlife viewing and see a different aspect of the park. Wildlife is often spotted on the banks as well as in the water.
- Sleep in a treehouse: For guests staying four nights or more at the Beho Beho, there’s the option to spend a romantic night at The Treehouse. It’s a two-hour walk to get there.
- Village life: A village visit is a good way to learn and understand about life for the local people who live here year-round. Guests at Selous River Camp can visit Mloka Village and see the school, the market, and meet the people; many of the staff who work at the camp live here. In the north, you can visit the village near Sable Mountain Lodge just outside of the park.
- Safari combination: Nyerere / Selous forms part of the southern circuit of Tanzania along with Ruaha, Mikumi and Udzungwa. It’s also easily combined with some beach time at the mainland coast or on one of the Indian Ocean islands such as Zanzibar.
- Access: Selous / Nyerere is easily reached by light aircraft from Dar es Salaam. Flying time (depending on routing) is approximately 45 minutes to an hour.