Selous Game Reserve covers over 50,000 square kilometers, it is the largest game reserve in Africa, There are over 51,200 elephant, 109,000 buffalo and big herds of other large and small animals found in Africa, most importantly, some wild dog the Selous is another park with all this hyperbole which is desperately unsold.
Selous is one of those places that calls you back, one of Africa’s great parks for sure we also think is one of the most subtle. Selous Game Reserve is the place where people enjoy dosing off to the sound of a fish eagle as much as they do chasing around the bush in search of big game, the winding Rufiji River, sunset over the Beho Beho mountains is what makes Selous a special place, especially when you compare it with the typical race around the Northern Parks of Tanzania.
Unlike most of the other major safari parks of Tanzania, Selous is at low altitude. Being near to the coast, this means that the climate of the area is similar to that prevailing in coastal circuit, which is to say that it is a typical tropical climate, hot and humid all year round. In Selous there are over 789,000 major mammals, 40% of the total in Tanzania and perhaps 9% of the total world Elephant population.
Most of these elephant spend their time in the inaccessible swamps which occupy the majority of the park, but there are usually plenty in the game-viewing areas to the North as well as 2500 – 3500 lion, there are also wildcat, servalcat, caracal and leopard, there are also so many giraffe in some areas, additionally the rivers play host to large populations of hippo and crocodile, as well as an elusive population of dugong down in the Rufiji delta
Selous Game Reserve was first set aside as a wildlife reserve as early as 1905, the park takes its name from renowned hunter and soldier Frederick Courtney Selous. In 1982 the Selous Game Reserve was designated a World Heritage Site. One of the most attractive aspects of the Selous is the incredible diversity of the environments within its ecosystem, miombo woodland (deciduous hardwoodland), open grassland, rocky acacia clad hills, palm woodland, seasonally flooded sand rivers and swamps, lakes and riverine forest. The miombo woodland, second in biodiversity only to the rainforest, contains a plethora of wonderful hardwood tree families such as brachystegia, julbernadia, isoberlina, pterocarpus (bloodwood), dalbergia (blackwood), combretum (leadwood) in fact most of the 2,149 species of trees and plants that are found in the reserve .
It is at its absolute best in the ‘green season’ (December to June); all the trees have new leaves and flowers; all the grasses and shrubs are luscious and in bloom, and consequently almost every flower, animal and bird that it is possible to see in the Selous is there in abundance as such the reserve is ecologically one of the most important habitats in Africa,
The fact that Selous remains a game reserve rather than a national park is one of the main reasons that walking safari is still permitted. This is fantastic news, because to approach animals on foot is a completely different experience than doing it in a vehicle. A lot more scary for one, but very rarely dangerous so long as you do what your guide says at all times. Don’t necessarily expect to see a great variety of large game whilst out on a walk, you usually don’t cover enough ground for that, but enjoy the detail of the flora and fauna, whilst bearing in mind there might be a huge bull elephant around the next corner.
The park is pretty seasonal, although as we always say, “there is no bad time to be in the bush.