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Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Background of Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve is among its greatest natural treasures and one of the reasons why a traveller should visit Tanzania during their safaris in Africa. Gazetted in 1896 and covering an area of 50,000 km2, Selous is the largest and oldest protected area in Africa. It is noted as even four times bigger than the Serengeti National Park and two and a half times larger than South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Due to its wildlife diversity and undisturbed nature, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Selous Game Reserve boasts a great diversity of life with about 440 species of birds which makes it a key destination for Tanzania wildlife safaris. The reserve contains the largest elephant populations (110,000) and more lions than any other place on the African continent.  It is also home to one of Tanzania’s remaining population of black rhinos. Besides the above famous residents, Selous has a vast range of games including hippopotami, crocodiles, brindled gnus, Nyasaland gnus, sable antelopes, elands, greater kudus, waterbucks, hartebeests, zebras, giraffes, reedbucks, warthogs, spotted hyenas, lions, leopards, and African wild dogs, in addition to the largest populations of buffalo in Africa. Selous is also home to 12% of all endangered African wild dogs.

Much of the reserve is set aside for trophy hunting, the best game-viewing areas along the mighty Rufiji River are exclusively set aside for photo tourism. In fact, the Rufiji River defines the Tanzania safari experience to Selous with its interconnected lakes and doum palm forests, offering both boat-based and vehicle-based game drives. Only the section of the reserve north from the Rufiji River is open for tourism; large areas of the south are zoned as hunting concessions.  The wealth of Selous’ wildlife and its stunning riverine scenery rarely fail to impress. Another draw is the Selous’ relative lack of congestion in comparison with Tanzania’s northern parks.

Location of Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The Selous Game Reserve is found in the Miombo woodlands of southeastern Tanzania between 130 and 500 km southwest of Dar-es-Salaam. It is contiguous with the Mikumi National Park and Udzungwa Mountains National Park in the northwest and Kilombero Game Controlled Area in the west. The centre of the Reserve is a flat to rolling landscape with alluvial valleys and protruding inselbergs largely underlain by the Karoo sandstone and metamorphosed upper Precambrian schists and gneisses with granite outcrops. It is covered by thickets and closed woodland. The south is hilly, rugged and forested. The southwestern Mbarika Mountains reach 1,300m.  The west is mountainous and forested with intervening wet lowlands. The east and north are treed grassland on alluvial hardpan, in places seasonally flooded by the Rufiji which can rise 5 meters.

History of Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The area was first designated a protected area in 1896 by the German Governor of Tanganyika Hermann von Wissmann and became a hunting reserve in 1905. In 1922 the reserve was expanded and given its present name (after Frederick Courteney Selous), the British explorer who was killed and buried in the reserve during the First World War and whose grave can still be visited.

The area continued to be extended until 1975 when it assumed its current boundaries. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit.  In 2014, UNESCO included Selous on its World Heritage in Danger list, and it reconfirmed this decision in 2017 due to increased poaching, uranium mining in the southern part (leading to a redrawing of reserve boundaries) and government confirmation in mid-2017 that the Rufiji River; the heart and lifeblood of the Selous will be dammed near Stiegler’s Gorge, in the northwestern part of the reserve, in connection with a planned hydroelectric project. Therefore, you should visit Selous as soon as possible because much of its wealth is under threat.

Tanzania Safari Attractions in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The major tourist attractions in Selous Game Reserve include animals in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania, birdlife in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania, the vegetation in Selous game reserve, river Rufiji in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania, lake Tagalala in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania, Stiegler’s Gorge in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania and Selous Grave in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

1) Animals in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The large mammal populations found here, support the claim that the Selous is one of the greatest destinations for Tanzania Wildlife safari. The reserve contains the largest elephant populations (110,000) and more lions (about 4,000) than any other place on the African continent.  Buffalo numbers are estimated at 120,000–150,000, and the reserve’s 40,000 hippos. The Selous also harbours an estimated 35,000 zebras, 25,000 impala and significant herds of giraffes, greater kudus, waterbucks, bushbucks, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, and eland. It is also one of the most important sanctuaries in Africa for the endangered African wild dogs, brindled gnu, Nyasaland gnu, sable antelopes, waterbucks, zebras, reedbucks, warthogs, and puku antelope. Selous hosts a huge population of crocodiles, hippos, spotted hyenas and leopards.

The Lakes; Tagalala, Mzizimia, Siwandu, Manze, and Nzelekela are home to thousands of crocodiles and hippo. These lakes are also great spots to see the distinctively numerous giraffes and also many ungulates like waterbucks, zebras, impalas plus buffaloes. The waterholes are usually monitored by starving lions and every now and then it is possible to witness a kill.

The black rhinos are commonly seen although at times could be found in the remote regions of the Reserve. Rufiji River and its tributary streams attract several games for the dry season with significant large animals like elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions, leopards, hippos, spotted hyena, African wild hunting dog, and others.

The eastern section of Selous is dense with game – including the Big Five, so named because they were historically considered the most challenging (and dangerous) to hunt.

A Tanzania trip to Selous is more recommended from June to October; the dry season because it is easier to see wildlife as the vegetation isn’t thick and the wild animals have gathered around the known water sources. A good time to observe the scarce wild dogs is during their denning phase that begins from June to August.

  1. a) Hippos in Serous Game Reserve Tanzania

Hippopotami are among the numerous big mammals that can be seen while on a Tanzania tour in Selous Game Reserve. The reserve harbours about 40,000 hippos which can be easily observed on boat safaris on the Rufiji river and also in the lakes.

Hippopotamus or Kiboko in the Swahili language is a large herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal and ungulate that inhabits rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps. The hippo is among extant African Megafauna. It is actually the third-largest type of land animal behind the elephant and rhinoceros.

With the exception of eating, most of a hippo’s life occurs in the water. That is why the Greeks named them the “river horse. They are known to spend about 16 hours of the day submerged in the cool water with only nostrils, eyes, and ears exposed to keep their massive bodies under hot sunshine of Serous Game Reserve.

Hippos are graceful in the water, good swimmers, and can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes and then bobble back up, blowing excess water from their nostrils and flicking it from their little pink ears.

Hippos also bask on the shoreline. The main reason hippos stay submerged in water during the day is because their vulnerable skin seems unable to stand the effects of the strong equatorial sun. In fact, their skin secretes an oily red substance which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener, provides protection against germs and ultraviolet rays.

In Selous’s Lakes Tagalala, Mzizimia, Siwandu, Manze, and Nzelekela you can witness them squabbling or engaged in rough play with one another, mouths wide open to display their incredibly long canine teeth, and making quite a splash with their huge bodies. An adult hippo’s skin is thick, bulletproof and accounts for approximately 25% of their weight – however, it is still sensitive to sunburn and dries out.

When night descends, these stout animals finally emerge from their water bed and graze by starlight under the cool relief of night. Despite their small short legs and bulky appearance, hippos are fast runners and can easily out-pace a human. They have been known to wander several miles from their pool while grazing, but by the time sunrise burns through the morning haze, these portly beasts will have taken refuge once again in their water retreat.

While hippos rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and hippos are not territorial on land. The hippo is among the most dangerous animals in the world kills man people than lions do because of their aggressiveness and unpredictable nature.


Female hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. Baby hippos are born underwater at a weight between 25 and 50 kg and an average length of around 127 cm and must swim to the surface to take their first breaths. A mother typically gives birth to only one calf, although twins also occur. It’s interesting to note that baby hippos will often rest on their mothers’ backs when in water that is too deep for them. They suckle on land when the mother leaves the water and they also can underwater by closing their ears and nostrils. Each female has only one calf every two years. Soon after birth, mother and young join schools that provide some protection against crocodiles, lions, and hyenas.

Hippos once had a broader distribution but now live in eastern central and southern sub-Saharan Africa, where their populations are in decline.

  1. b) Lions in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Wildlife viewing for various species of animals is great around the Selous but resident lions (Panthera leo) are is one of the major reasons why travellers go for a Tanzania wildlife tour in the reserve. The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is believed to contain Africa’s largest population of lions (about 4,000).

A lion is locally known as Simba in Swahili local language is a muscular, deep-chested cat with a short, rounded head, a reduced neck, and round ears. These golden felines rule the entire area with regal confidence. Lions are quite social in nature (hunting, eating, sleeping and even playing together in tightly knit communities.

The lionesses form strong bonds within pride and work together as a team to rear their cubs. Pride territories are fiercely guarded by whichever male lions are the most confident and physically powerful. These notorious lions are frequently encountered by enthralled visitors during the day and their spine-tingling roars are regularly heard during the night.

Selous is indeed the ‘dark place’ of lion territories in Tanzania due to the permanent sources of water and high biomass of resident prey. Be ready for a thrill if you are taking a Tanzania wildlife safari to the reserve because you will certainly hear their powerful roars at night, especially during the dry season when resident prey densities are at their highest.

Lions in Culture

The Maasai engage in Ala-mayo, the hunting of lion as an expression of bravery in a rite of passage to adulthood. When large maned lions are killed the mane is used at ceremonies or hung on the village flag pole.  The tail and paws are often retained for ceremonial purposes before being discarded.  Other tribes also engage in ritual killings, about which less is known, such as the Sukuma and Datoga peoples.

  1. c) Buffaloes in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Selous game reserve is one of the protected areas where visitors will see an impressive number of buffalos during their tours in Tanzania. The buffalo population in the area is estimated at 120,000–150,000. Magnificent herds of buffaloes can be encountered in the acacia savannah, water bodies and in the miombo woodland, tossing their heavily bossed horns.

These herds may be mixed family herds or all-male “bachelor” herds. Buffalo or Nyati as they are known in Swahili local language are night grazers, and eat the majority of their food after the sun has set. Since buffalo have a difficult time regulating body temperature, during the heat of the day they typically rest or wade in water and mud.

As they need to drink water regularly, and due to their habit of wallowing, buffalo like to stay close to a source of water. It is interesting to note that buffalo band together in unified herds with a well-established social hierarchy, each animal knowing well its status in relation to one another. Females form the base group of animals in the herd, while the bulls come and go. The green season tends to correlate with the buffalo breeding season. During the dry season when less breeding occurs, older bulls leave and establish all-male bachelor herds.

  1. d) Warthogs in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The endearing Warthog is a commonly seen animal in Selous Game Reserve. A warthog locally known as Pumba in Swahili is a funny little animal that resembles pigs. Warthogs have large flat heads covered with ‘warts’ which are actually protective bumps.

Warthogs feed on their knees and run away with their tails sticking straight up in the air when startled. But don’t let their little appearance fool you completely – the tusks on a male warthog can rip open a lion.

Warthogs are basically grazers although they appear ferocious. They eat grasses and plants and also use their snouts to dig or “root” for roots or bulbs. When startled or threatened, warthogs can be surprisingly fast, running at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour. Warthogs are adaptable and are able to go long periods without water, as much as several months in the dry season.

When water is available, warthogs will seek it and often submerge to cool down. They will also wallow in mud for the same purpose—and to gain relief from insects. Birds also aid these hogs in their battle with insects; Oxpecker and other species sometimes ride along on their warthog hosts, feeding on the tiny creatures invading their hides.

  1. e) African wild dogs in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

African wild dogs/hunting dogs are among the most interesting animal for visitors during the Tanzania safaris in Selous Game Reserve. Selous is the best place in Africa to observe these highly endangered creatures in their natural habitat as they live here in great numbers. The eastern region of the reserve offers the greatest chances of sightings of the dogs.

These rare species are also known as painted wolves due to their beautifully patterned fur. with a mixture of brown, black and white spots in their coats.

African hunting dogs need space and indeed Selous has it in abundance. Your best chance to spot them during their denning phase that begins from June to August.

These long-legged canines run in packs of 6-20 animals; they are efficient, determined hunters but their kills can be quite gruesome to watch. Each pack has a dominant breeding pair that raise up to 16 puppies in one litter.  The pups are hidden in dens for almost 12 weeks until they are strong enough to keep up with the adults. In the meantime, the pups are supported by the rest of the adults who regularly bring them food. Sadly, the mortality rate of wild dogs is high as dens are often flooded during the rainy season.

African wild dog populations have been observed “rallying” before they set out to hunt. Not every rally results in a departure, but departure becomes more likely when more individual dogs “sneeze”. These sneezes are characterized by a short, sharp exhale through the nostrils. When members of dominant mating pairs sneeze first, the group is much more likely to depart. If a dominant dog initiates, around three sneezes guarantee departure. When less dominant dogs sneeze first, if enough others also sneeze (about 10), then the group will go hunting. Researchers assert that wild dogs “use a specific vocalization (the sneeze) along with a variable quorum response mechanism in the decision-making process (to go hunting at a particular moment)”

  1. f) Impalas in Selous Game Reserve

One of the most elegant of all of East Africa’s antelope is the Impala. The Swalapala as it is known in the Swahili language has a reddish tan coat that seems to shimmer in the sunlight. A black stripe borders the white rump patches. Only males have horns, which are tall and svelte. Both males and females have little tufts of wiry black hair just above the heels that conceal scent glands. Both sexes have scent glands concealed in tufts of black wiry hair just above the heels.

Impala is browsers and is seldom found far from cover. They are typically seen in large herds of females and their young, guided from the rear by a territorial male, or they may travel in all-male groups called bachelor herds. These timid deer-like creatures are constantly alert for predators, as they are common targets for lions and leopards. When startled, impala seems to explode like fireworks in all directions, soaring in great bounds and making it difficult for a predator to focus on a single victim.

2) Birdlife in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

With a checklist of 440 species of birds, Selous is a fantastic place for a Tanzania birding safari. The most spectacular bird habitats within this reserve are the lakes and River Rufiji channels. Starting in the month of November to April, there are is a large number of Migratory birds. The most outstanding bird species worth seeing include the Spur-winged lapwing, African wattled lapwing, the White-fronted bee-eater, the Pel’s fishing owl Rare, the African spoonbill, the Common White-headed vulture, Pearl-spotted owlet, White-headed Lapwing, African skimmer, Bohm’s bee-eater, Yellow-billed stork, Pel’s fishing owl, Broad-billed roller, White-fronted plover, Brown-headed parrot, Brown-necked Parrot, Black-winged stilt, Palm-nut vulture, Dickinson’s kestrel, Racket-tailed roller, Thick-billed Cuckoo, White-backed night heron, Carmine bee-eater as well as the Rock pratincole

On the lakes, you’ll find pink-backed pelicans, African skimmers and giant kingfishers. The sandbanks are home to carmine and white-fronted bee-eater colonies whilst pairs of the fish eagle, palm nut vulture, ibises, and palm swifts nest in the Borassus palms. Other water birds found in the Selous include yellow-billed stork, white-crowned and spur-winged plovers, various small waders, pied and malachite kingfishers. Pairs of trumpeter hornbill and purple-crested turaco can also be seen between the riparian trees. Also worth looking out for among a catalogue of egrets and herons are the Malagasy squacco heron, a regular winter visitor, while the elusive Pel’s fishing owl often emerges at dusk to hawk above the water.

3) The vegetation in Selous game reserve

Generally, the vegetation in the Selous reserve greatly differs. The terrain is dominated by Savanna wooded grasslands plus deciduous Miombo woodland. While on a Tanzania safari tour to the reserve, you will see thick thorn shrubs as well as ground-water forests along with rocky outcrops that likewise characterize this Reserve.

Miombo woodland: Miombo is the vernacular word for Brachystegia; a genus of tree comprising many tree species together with Julbernardia species in woodlands. Miombo woodland is classified in the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome (in the World Wide Fund for Nature scheme). Characteristically the trees shed their leaves for a short period in the dry season to reduce water loss, and produce a flush of new leaves just before the onset of the rainy season with rich gold and red colours masking the underlying chlorophyll, reminiscent of temperate autumn colours.

The name miombo is used in a number of Bantu languages in the region such as Swahili, Shona, and Bemba. In Bemba, the word “miombo” is the plural of the word “muombo”, which is the specific name for the species Brachystegia longifoli.

Despite the relatively nutrient-poor soil, long dry season (and low rainfall in some areas) the woodland is home to many species, including several miombo specialist endemic bird species. The predominant tree is miombo (Brachystegia spp.). It also provides food and covers for mammals such as the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest.

4) River Rufiji in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

At the heart of the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania’s largest river, the Rufiji, forms a complex network of channels, lakes, and swamps that create one of the most outstanding ecological systems in East Africa. This river also splits the reserve into two different sections: The northern Selous covers only around 5% of the reserve’s total area. No hunting is allowed here; this area is dedicated exclusively to photographic safaris.

The southern Selous, south of the Rufiji, is split up into a number of ‘hunting blocks’ – each of which typically covers about 1,000km². The big herds of Tanzanian Elephants, for example, are attracted by the River Rufiji that flows through the reserve. The most popular on Tanzania tours are the boat trips along the Rufiji River.

River Rufiji was formed by the confluence of the Kilombero and Luwegu rivers. It is approximately 600 kilometres (370 mi) long, with its source in southwestern Tanzania and its mouth on the Indian Ocean at a point between Mafia Island called Mafia Channel. Its principal tributary is the Great Ruaha River. It is navigable for about 100 kilometres.

The Rufiji River is not only an attraction for the millions of animals in Selous Game Reserve but has also played a huge role in the fortunes of humanity through the centuries. The navigable Rufiji Delta is home to the largest mangrove forests in the world, and it was these forests that allowed the German super battleship, the ‘Konigsberg’, to stay undercover whilst wreaking havoc on British ships in the Indian Ocean during the First World War. It was only the intervention, and bush skills, of a legendary hunter, JP Pretorius that finally brought the reign of destruction to an end.

Pretorius, whose knowledge of the Rufiji Delta was second to none, spent weeks looking for the ship and when he finally located it he called in the British forces in to destroy it.

5) Lake Tagalala in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

This oxbow lake, bordered by the skeletons of trees which were drowned as the waters rose, draws elephants, and zebras from across the plains during the dry season. These, in turn, attract lions and other predators. The lake is also wonderful for keen birders with many species thriving along its banks. Drive around the lake, cruise its tranquil waters or bathe in the natural hot springs nearby is among the most thrilling activities for travellers while on safaris in Tanzania.

6) Stiegler’s Gorge in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Stiegler’s Gorge averages 100m in-depth. It has more recently gained attention as the site of a planned massive hydroelectric power station. Stiegler’s Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station also Rufiji Hydroelectric Power Station, is a 2,115 megawatts hydroelectric dam under construction in Tanzania. The power station is expected to produce 5,920GWh of power annually.

The government of Tanzania has been considering establishing this power station since the 1960s. When fully developed, it will be the largest power station in Tanzania. The 134 meters arched, the concrete dam is expected to create a reservoir lake, 100 kilometres, in length, measuring 1,200 square kilometres, with 34,000,000,000 cubic meters of water.

In 1901 German Engineer Stiegler led the first expedition to what is now known as Stiegler’s Gorge to consider potential infrastructure. Stiegler, when measuring the gorge, was charged by an elephant and fell into the ravine. It was named after him in his memory.

7) Selous Grave in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Here lies buried Frederick Courteney Selous, the British explorer, and conservationist who was killed in the Selous during World War I, and after whom Selous Game Reserve is named. Selous was the right-hand man to Cecil John Rhodes in his campaign to annex present-day Zimbabwe to the British Empire, he also achieved brief notoriety in 1899 for speaking out against England’s war on the Boer Republics of South Africa.

When the First World War broke out Selous, at the age of 60, was made Captain of the 25th Royal Fusiliers, winning a DSO in 1916. With his detailed knowledge of the bush, Selous led the chase after the German guerrilla army that presided in southern Tanzania.

On 4 January 1917, Selous was fighting in the bush war on the banks of the Rufiji River against German colonial Schutztruppen, outnumbered five-to-one. That morning, he was creeping forward in combat during a minor engagement when he raised his head and binoculars to locate the enemy. He was shot in the head by a German sniper and was killed instantly.

He was buried under a tamarind tree near the place of his death, at Beho (northern edge of the Selous game reserve) in today’s Selous Game Reserve. In a modest, flat stone grave there is a simple bronze plaque reading: “CAPTAIN F.C. SELOUS D.S.O., 25TH ROYAL FUSILIERS, KILLED IN ACTION 4.1.17.”

Tanzania Safari/Tourist Activities in Selous Game Reserve

A safari in Tanzania’s Selous is a very authentic experience and isn’t over-commercialized. Three are a variety of safari activities visitors can undertake in reserve during their Vacation in Tanzania. All activities are done after paying a park entry fee; $76.70 adults (18+) and $53.10 children (5-17 yrs.).  The most popular activities include Game drives in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania, birding in Selous Game Reserve, walking safaris in Selous Game Reserve, Boat safaris in Selous Game Reserve, fishing trips in Selous Game Reserve and also visitor can have a Tanzania Cultural tour to Mloka Village during their Tanzania trips to Selous. These safari activities in the reserve are offered by most camps and lodges.

1) Game Drives in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Game drives are usually the highlight of Tanzania wildlife tours to Selous. These vehicle safaris are permitted in open safari vehicles and a self-drive safari is also possible. The Rufiji River which runs through the middle from which five lakes formed is a popular game drive area. Game drives normally start after breakfast. The full-day game drives last for about 8- 9 hours. They are the quintessential Tanzania adventure safari and allow you to see a wide variety of wildlife from the comfort of a 4×4 safari vehicle. Game viewing experiences in the Selous are superb, with large numbers of Giraffe, Hippo, Crocodile, and Elephant as well as the world’s largest population of the rare African Wild Dog.

Driving through the vast wilderness of the Selous accompanied by one of passionate, knowledgeable guides, you’ll discover the outstanding abundance of wildlife and the beauty of the African bush.

From June up to October is the dry season and this is the finest time to watch the game inside the reserve. The wild animals are easier to see since the vegetation is not so dense and the animals have congregated around the renowned sources of water. Just after the heavy rains have ended, the roads are really impassable and the majority of the camps are closed as the wet season ends. The best time to watch the uncommon wild dogs is in their denning period which starts in June all through to August.

Self-Drive Safaris

It’s 75km through the Selous between Mtemere and Matambwe gates. Spending a few days on each side, linked by a full day’s wildlife drive in between, is a rewarding option, although wildlife concentrations in the Matambwe area cannot compare with those deeper inside the reserve towards Mtemere. If you can only explore one area, eastern Selous is the best bet.

Selous River Camp offers game drive safaris in the park at a fee of $110 per person fully day, starting from 8 am – 5 pm.

2) Birding in Selous Game Reserve

With more than 440 bird species that have been recorded inside the park, the Selous is a wonderful place for Tanzania bird-watching safaris. The most eye-catching habitats of birds in this reserve are the islands, channels, sandbanks plus lagoons, together with mighty River Rufiji. A great way to watch the bird species here is by taking a boat safari. In the cold months, in the morning, you will either go out on a boat safari focusing on the aquatic species or on a game drive focusing on woodland and forest-dwelling species. Birds, especially raptors and vultures are best viewed early morning and late afternoon to sunset.

Best time for Tanzania birding safaris in Selous Game Reserve

The Selous is a wonderful destination for Tanzania bird-watching tours throughout the year. Since migratory birds coming from Europe or the northern part of Africa are present starting in April, this the finest time for watching birds. The resident species begin Nesting almost at the same time therefore it is really easy to see the birds while in breeding plumage. Towards the finish of the wet season, the majority of the camps closed (in April), and then opens again in the month of June. For the best game views, we recommend that you travel then which is from June up to October.

Some of the most commonly spotted bird species within the Selous Game Reserve are the brown-breasted barbet, Mangrove kingfishers, African skimmers, palm-nut vulture, freckled nightjars, grey-hooded kingfisher, waders, broad-billed roller, Green-billed coucal, long-tailed fiscal, red-winged warbler, Boehm’s bee-eater, black Cuckoo-shrike, green-capped eremomela, spotted-flanked barbet, Bennett’s woodpecker, a pearl-spotted owl, Dickinson’s kestrel, yellow-bellied bulbul, red-billed helmetshrike, red-faced Crombec, green-capped eremomela, red-throated twin spot, white helmet-shrikes, Sterling’s barred warbler, Livingstone’s flycatcher, Arnot’s chat, spotted-flanked barbet, wattle-eyed flycatchers, red-throated twinspot, grey Penduline-tit, Layard’s black-headed weavers, a pearl-spotted owl, purple-banded sunbird, Von der Decken’s hornbill as well as the mosque swallow.

On the lakes, you’ll find pink-backed pelicans, African skimmers and giant kingfishers. The sandbanks are home to carmine and white-fronted bee-eater colonies whilst pairs of the fish eagle, palm nut vulture, ibises, and palm swifts nest in the Borassus palms. Other water birds found in the Selous include yellow-billed stork, white-crowned and spur-winged plovers, various small waders, pied and malachite kingfishers. Pairs of trumpeter hornbill and purple-crested turaco can also be seen between the riparian trees. Also worth looking out for among a catalogue of egrets and herons are the Malagasy squacco heron, a regular winter visitor, while the elusive Pel’s fishing owl often emerges at dusk to hawk above the water.

3) Walking safaris in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Selous game reserve is one of the few places where you can do an exciting walking safari in Tanzania which will bring you up close with Giraffes, gazelles and even Elephants! An armed Ranger is there to protect you and tell you more about the different trails of animals you will find along the way.

Walking safaris are usually 2-3 hour hikes that generally follow the course of the Rufiji River, sandbanks and riverine forest. Extremely well executed, Selous walking safaris are perfect for those aiming to dig a little deeper beneath the skin of Africa. Please note that there is a limited window within which to walk in the Selous (June to October) as the remainder of the year the temperatures soar, making walking uncomfortable.

Alongside an armed ranger, you will be able to traverse slowly across the ever-changing landscapes and vegetation of the untouched area surrounding the cam

Walks are slow-paced and groups cannot be larger than 6 people. Children must be able to walk unassisted and the camp management, guide or ranger accompanying the walking safari have the right to stop a child from participating if they feel it is in the best interests of the safety of the individual or group.

Selous River Camp also offers game drive safaris in the park at a fee of $47 per person 6:30 am-9 am and from 3:30 pm-6 pm.

4) Boat Safaris in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The Selous Game Reserve is one of the very few places where travellers on Africa safaris will view wildlife from the water after the dust and bumpy roads of a game drive. There’s nothing more relaxing than drifting along the river watching the wildlife.

Boat safaris on the Rufiji or the reserve’s lakes are offered by most camps and lodges. You will find the most animals near these water bodies including large pride of lions (up to 20 members in each pride). Because the terrain is flat and open, the lions tend to congregate here in search of prey. Selous River Camp offers two types of boat safari, short 2-3-hour sunset or dawn boat trips along the Rufiji River outside the reserve (so no entry permit needed), or full-day boat safaris which explore the Rufiji river as well as the lakes of the Selous.

Short Boat Safari (7 am –9 am and 4 pm – 6 pm USD 47 per person)

This boat safari is an idea for seeing Hippos, Crocodiles and plentiful different bird species (including commonly the African Fish Eagle, Malachite Kingfisher, Goliath Heron, African Skimmer and Boehm’s Bee-Eater… as well as many more). Monkeys (Blue Monkey, Savannah Baboon, and Black and White Colobus Monkey) are often spotted in the trees along the banks of the river as well as Nile Monitor Lizards. We particularly recommend the sunset boat safari. The boat will stop off on a sandbank where you can stretch your legs and enjoy a cool drink.

Full-Day Boat Safari (10 am- 6 pm USD 110 per person)

Leaving camp at 10 am, this boat safari is a more in-depth exploration of the vast Rufiji River and into the Selous Game Reserve’s lakes. On this boat safari, you can see everything you would normally see on a short boat safari, plus any other wildlife which is along the water’s edge at the time. It’s common to see giraffe, impala, waterbuck, kudu, warthog and – a highlight for those with good luck – elephants bathing or crossing the river. Your guide will stop the boat at the edge of one of the lakes so that you can enjoy a picnic lunch.

5) Fishing Trips in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

The fishing trips are excellent in the Selous. Large tiger fish occur in the Rufiji River and numerous happy clients have enjoyed fishing in this pristine environment. The tigerfish is famous for being a fighter with heart, with tools to back it up. They are powerful swimmers, often leaping several feet into the air whilst being fought. They can bite through 30-pound wire trace with their impressive set of dentures. This particular species is plentiful in the waters around Selous Impala Camp and grows to a size of 15 kilos, 5-8 being the average caught.

The second species is the catfish. There are four kinds caught; the Heterobrancus Catfish can grow to be monsters 1.5mt long 50kg in weight and you can be left at the side of the river starting at your spooled reel in shock, while the fish that you hooked calmly surfaces just for a moment as if to give you a look at what you had foolishly tried to take on, and laughs at you. They can grow to be over fifty kilos and are the most commonly hooked and landed fish.

While on the activity you move between fishing spots, travelling by boat, inevitably spending large amounts of time in a good location. It’s a good way of just watching and listening to the sounds of the bush. Occasionally an elephant will wander down and cross the river in front of you, or a hippo will, in their usual lazy way, bob out of the water to have a look at you. There is always interesting bird activity to watch as they carry on with their busy daily routines, or if you are lucky a kingfisher will swoop down and show you how it is done.

Other fish species such as Rufiji Tilapia, Oreochromis Urolepis Elephant fish, Marmyrus Longirostris assist to enhance the joy of your Tanzania holiday.

6) Cultural Tours to Mloka Village

A Tanzania wildlife safari tour to Selous Game Reserve can be combined with a cultural trip to the nearby village of Mloka. Mloka village is situated downriver from Selous River Camp, only a short drive by car. A Tanzania cultural tour here is a very personal experience and the focus is on meeting locals, learning about their day-to-day lives, and visiting places like the primary school, market and police post.

The tour is as long or as short as you would like, can take place during any time of the day (although it is recommended during the cooler hours of the morning and late afternoon) and you can either stay in the car and see the village by driving around, or stretch your legs and walk around the village. Local artists, tailors, and shopkeepers are always happy to be visited and the children are always very keen to say hello! Selous River Camp organizes cultural village trips at a fee of $ 20 per person.

Tanzania Safari Accommodation in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

Selous being a classic dry season, it is also home to some of the finest camps in Tanzania, among which would like to take their stave as the best in Africa. The choice of accommodations ranges from luxury lodges in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania, Midrange lodges in Selous Game Reserve, and Budget lodges in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania. Accommodation in Selous is mainly concentrated in the Northern part of the game reserve.

Exceptional lodges like Beho Beho and Sand rivers offer all activities that the Selous is famous for and some of the best guiding teams in Africa are hosted here. At a price that makes it one of the best value camps in Africa, Selous safari camp is a fascinating tented camp that is commonly known as the best game area of the park.

1) Luxury Lodges in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

  1. a) Beho Beho-Luxury

Beho Beho, known locally as ‘WA Salish’ which in Swahili means ‘the pioneer’ was the first permanent camp to be located in the northern sector of the Selous Game Reserve. Originally established as a hunting camp in 1972 by the well-known safari company Ker and Downey it was purchased by the Bailey family following the break up of the East African community in 1977 and converted into a permanent camp. Mostly used as a private camp for the family it was not until 2004 that the whole camp was rebuilt and promoted to safari enthusiasts.

Sited on Kipalala Hill, above the Msine tributary of the Beho Beho River, it enjoys uninterrupted panoramic views over the Rufiji river flood plain. The camp is unique in the fact that it sits in the centre of five different eco-systems – riverine; mountainous; water systems; open and lightly wooded savannah; and mixed to miombo woodland. Located 145 miles southwest of Dar es Salaam, the camp is 3 miles from the grave of Frederick Courteney Selous after whom the reserve is named.

Accommodation at Beho Beho comprises;

The Main Camp

Beho Beho has seven individuals very spacious ‘bandas’ (stone-built and palm-thatched cottages) furnished with king-sized beds, Zanzibari day beds, writing desks and comfortable ‘suite’ furniture. The front of the banda is totally open and extends on to a spacious verandah – the banda can be secured for the night with ‘tented curtains’ or left open as desired. Bandas can be either double or twin and some can also accommodate additional beds. Each banda has a separate dressing room leading into an en suite bathroom with twin basins, high flush WC and an ‘open-air’ shower. All bandas are supplied with Charlotte Rhys toiletries and hair driers. In 2019 individual plunge pools were added to each banda.

The main camp house

Furnished in the style of a spacious private house, with comfortable seating, bar and dining areas and even a billiards room with a full-sized billiards table. The most noticeable thing is that there are few walls ensuring fantastic views over the reserve.

Baileys Banda – Private villa

A two bedroomed owner’s house was added to the camp in 2012 allowing for a more ‘private’ Beho Beho experience. Located further up the hill it is away from the main camp and has its own brigade of guiding and hospitality staff and exclusive use of the vehicle. Facilities include its own plunge pool, TV/DVD, WiFi together with spectacular views. A perfect ‘hideaway’ for up to five people. Normal Beho Beho rates apply plus a supplementary ‘Baileys Banda charge’ per night.

The Treehouse

Located about a one hour’s walk away from the camp, perched up, alongside and within a giant Leadwood tree the Treehouse is an exclusive and exciting ‘night in the bush’ for two people. Guarded, guided and hosted by one of the Beho Beho walking guides. A comfortable, mosquito netted and wheeled bed can be under shade or under the stars. There is also an ensuite shower and toilet facility in the tree complete with hot and cold running water. Guests pay a supplement and a minimum of four nights stay at the camp is required.

Facilities and services at Beho Beho include;

Meals: Meals are a ‘moveable feast’ and are not confined to the formal dining areas – a feature of the camp is that each meal is served at a different venue. All meals are taken ‘family style’ hosted by the guides and managers. Breakfast is usually served ‘alfresco’ in the bush on the morning game activity. There is no private or ‘in-room’ dining at Beho Beho’s main camp – everyone sits together.

Swimming Pool: The swimming pool is small but has magnificent views along the Kipalala Valley and is a pleasant place to cool off, but now that all bandas have their own plunge pools is not as central as it once was. There is a pool house with comfortable furniture and a number of sunbathing/ shade options for relaxing.

Transportation: Almost all guests arrive by air on the scheduled services from Dar es Salaam or Ruaha – it is also possible to privately charter a single or twin-engine plane directly into the Beho Beho airstrip. The airstrip is located within a five minutes’ drive of the main camp. Flying time is approximately 45 minutes from Dar – but the scheduled service may also involve landing at other airstrips in the Selous.

Electricity: Beho Beho has its own generator supply giving 240v 50hz electricity. There are light and power points in each banda giving a 24hour electricity output for recharging personal equipment.

Water: Water is supplied from a borehole. It is pumped up to tanks above the camp. Guests are advised not to drink the water from the tap – bottled water is provided in the bandas, main camp and on game drives.

Laundry: There is a same-day complimentary laundry service (weather dependent). Laundry placed in the laundry bags will be returned in the evening.

Communications: There is WiFi in all the bandas – but not in the main areas of the camp. The connection can be slow and is not suitable for sending or downloading large amounts of data. There is no telephone signal in the camp.

Guiding: Beho Beho has a number of qualified resident guides under the direction of the camp manager/head guide who will plan each individual guest’s safari itinerary. Guests are not allocated one guide for their entire stay but have an opportunity to be guided by a number of different guides. The guides also host meals in the camp which adds to the family atmosphere.

  1. b) Siwandu Camp-Luxury

Sheltered in a grove of palms on the shores of Lake Nzerakera, part of the watery byways of the Rufiji River system, Siwandu is perfectly situated to experience fully the breathtaking landscape and abundant wildlife of Selous Game Reserve. The camp is spaced along the lakeshore, Siwandu’s superbly-appointed accommodation ensures maximum privacy and invites you to soak up the sights and sounds of Selous.

From either of the wooden-decked verandas, sit with a cup of tea at sunrise, watching the bush come to life, or relax with a gin and tonic as the bush blushes under sunset.

Accommodation at Siwandu Camp include;

10 spacious octagonal tents of canvas and secure mosquito netting, topped in thatch, not only allows for constant air-flow but also enables guests to gaze upon the animals as they saunter past.

Observe them, perhaps whilst reclining on the majestic king-sized bed under the overhead fan, or from the open-air stargazer, solar-heated showers which adjoin the en suite bathrooms.

Private Camp: For the ultimate in luxury, privacy, and isolation, Siwandu can be booked exclusively in its entirety. This option is perfect for a large group, multi-generational party, photographic group or families with young children.

Booking Siwandu Private Camp allows exclusive use of vehicles and boats as well as its own manager and guides. Create your very own home-away-from-home in the heart of the African bush with your own private swimming pool, lounge, bar, and dining area.

Facilities and services at Siwandu Camp comprises;

Dining and bar: The elevated lounge and dining area, offer panoramic views across the lake as you enjoy a drink from our well-stocked bar or sample our chef’s fine cuisine.

Plunge pool: Perhaps you may wish to take a plunge in our shaded pool and recline on the sunlounger for the perfect “armchair safari”.

Internet: The lodge provides wi-fi in camp but it is only available during office hours. Please note that the wifi is slow and intended to be used only for the basics.

Power: Power in camp is 240 VAC powered by solar panels and generator. In each tent there is lighting, overhead fan and two wall sockets (British three-pin) – one socket can be used for hairdryers and high consumption electrical items and the other will supply 24 hr. electricity to charge the camera and laptop batteries.

  1. c) Mivumo River Lodge-Luxury

Set in a remote riverside position in the Selous area of southern Tanzania, Mivumo River Lodge is a comfortable and reliable medium specification facility, with guest accommodation in chalets and providing a decent range of wet and dry safari activities.

Accommodation at Mivumo River Lodge comprises;

Spacious and exceedingly romantic, 12 exclusive chalets offer thatched roofs, wooden floors and an appealing blend of Edwardian elegance and contemporary comfort. Take advantage of perks including wireless Internet and 24-hour room service, or step outside and enjoy unparalleled views of the wilderness from your exterior shower.

For a truly remarkable experience, reserve our one-of-a-kind Mivumo Villa. Boasting breathtaking Rufiji River views, it offers several bedrooms, an LCD TV, private sun decks with plunge pools and a claw-foot Victorian tub.


The beautifully designed chalets are spaced amongst the indigenous forest and feature brushwood thatched roofs, which are high vaulted to allow for the maximum amount of light and breeze. Slightly raised on sprung wooden floors, each room features a charming mix of Edwardian crystal chandeliers, marble basins, classic safari antiques, and subtly understated modern leather and rattan furniture. Lavish country house-inspired bathrooms also feature a plunge pool and an exterior shower with wilderness views.

In-Room Amenities

  • Complimentary wireless Internet
  • 24-hour room service
  • Mineral water and toiletries
  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Safe and hairdryers (from reception)
  • Laundry, valet, and shoeshine services
  • Exterior shower

Mivumo villa

Mivumo Villa offers three double bedrooms, each with its own opulent bathroom. A private sun deck offers sun loungers, a plunge pool, and a rain shower. The central area of the villa features a king-sized bed, a writing desk, a river-view lounge with an LCD TV, a double bathroom with a dressing area and a Victorian claw-foot bath.

In-Room Amenities

  • Complimentary wireless Internet
  • 24-hour room service
  • Mini-bar
  • Mineral water and toiletries
  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Safe and hairdryers (from reception)
  • Full butler and valet service
  • Three sun decks with plunge pools and rain showers

Facilities and services at Mivumo River Lodge

Dining: Breakfast and lunch in the dining room feature a wide range of international choices; in addition to a buffet breakfast, we also feature a full English breakfast, in keeping with safari tradition. Lunch typically includes meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian options – the majority of which are sourced from Dar es Salaam.

The table d’hôte dinner menus include a salad buffet, a soup, an entrée, a pudding, cheese and biscuits, and fine Tanzanian tea or coffee. Vegetarian options are available as well. Choose a glass of wine from our broad selection of new- and old-world vintages, a fresh-squeezed juice or one of our fruit and herbal infusions.

Sandbank Sundowners: This time-honoured tradition dates back to the golden age of safaris and offers the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy a drink as the sun sets on another memorable day in the bush. Sip a cocktail as you sit on the sandbank and gaze over the scenic river gorge.

Bush Dining: No visit to the game lodge is complete without a bush dining experience. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this world-renowned wildlife arena as you enjoy a bush breakfast along the river, a lamp-lit BBQ or even a romantic dinner for two. All bush dining events are exclusively catered to our guest’s preferences and feature full waiter service and the guarantee of a dedicated wildlife-ranger presence.

Bar: There is a Safari bar having a river view

Library and a lounge

Swimming pool: They have an Infinity swimming pool plus a sundeck

  1. d) Selous Serena Camp-Luxury

This boutique tented camp is situated on the Simbazi River, a tributary of the Rufiji River in Tanzania’s vast Selous Game Reserve. It offers guests a wildlife experience that is difficult to find anywhere else in Africa, and a level of comfort comparable to the best in Africa.

Accommodation at Selous Serena Camp include;

Exclusive and beautifully appointed, the 12 tented accommodations at Selous Serena Camp offer an upscale retreat in the heart of Tanzania’s famed Selous Game Reserve. Spaced along the indigenous forest, all of our tents are set on a wooden deck and feature authentic thatched roofs. Elegant Edwardian décor coexists peacefully with modern comfort; enjoy a soak in your claw-foot bath – all bathrooms feature 24-hour hot water. A scenic private sun deck includes lounge chairs and picturesque river views.


Make yourself at home in your spacious tent, which includes tasteful rosewood furnishings, opulent rugs, and twinkling chandeliers – as well as a four-poster king bed with a pillow top mattress and crisp linens. To the rear of the tent is the ensuite bathroom, which features a Victorian claw-foot bath, a walk-in shower, and a flushing WC. Additional amenities include a minibar, a writing desk, a telephone and tea, and coffee making facilities. Step out onto your extensive private sun deck, with its comfortable loungers and river views.

In-Room Amenities

  • King bed
  • Tent service
  • 24-hour hot water
  • Flushing WCs
  • Walk-in showers
  • Ceiling fans
  • Dressing and seating area
  • Writing desk
  • Private deck
  • Minibar
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry, valet, and shoeshine services

Facilities and services at Selous Serena Camp

Dining: Open-sided dining room looks out over the pool and features outdoor dining and relaxation. Menus are tailored to the guests’ preferences

Bar: including a selection of fine wines, beers, and spirits

Laundry, valet, and shoeshine services

A library

Outside deck area for alternative dining/relaxation

Swimming Pool

  1. e) Roho ya Selous-Luxury

In an amazing location overlooking the Nzerakera channel, this boutique, luxury tented Camp boasts excellent game viewing and exceptional guiding. Great as a stand-alone trip or easily combined with one of Asilia’s beautiful Ruaha Camps, Kwihala or Jabali Ridge.

Set in a prime central riverside position in the Selous area of southern Tanzania, Roho Ya Selous is a very high-quality camp, with guest accommodation in 8 tented rooms and providing a good range of wet and dry safari activities. Air-conditioning. Minimum age 5.

Set in a prime central riverside position in the Selous area of southern Tanzania, Roho Ya Selous is a very high-quality camp, with guest accommodation in 8 tented rooms and providing a good range of wet and dry safari activities. Air-conditioning.

Guest Tent

Roho ya Selous’ 8 tents are tucked away into the trees and set far apart to maximize privacy. They are stylish and spacious, measuring an impressive 60m² inside. Thoughtful details include an evening breeze cooling system over the bed to allow you to sleep peacefully even during the hotter months, and an en-suite bathroom complete with indoor and outdoor shower. Twin and triple configurations are also available on request.

Family Tent

The family tent is the same size as the double tents but is spacious enough to accommodate a family of five – the footprint of the tents is 60m² inside. The main bedroom is a more compact version of that of the double tents, with an evening breeze cooling system over the bed, fan, reed walls, and slate floors. There is a main bathroom with a flush toilet and outdoor shower. The children’s room has a shower and basin, and has a bunk bed and a single bed, accommodating up to three children. Due to the layout, the beds in the children’s room do not have evening breeze cooling system.

Room amenities

  • Air Conditioning
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Dressing Gowns
  • Electrical Outlets
  • En-Suite
  • Fan
  • Internet Access (Complimentary)
  • Laundry Service (Complimentary)
  • Mosquito Nets
  • Outside Shower
  • Pure Cotton Linen
  • Safe
  • Shower

Facilities and services at Roho ya Selous

  • Restaurant
  • Bar with cellar wines, premium spirits, and champagne
  • Battery Charging Facilities
  • Communal Dining
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Internet Access (Complimentary)
  • Laundry Service (Complimentary)
  • Library
  • Pool
  • Private Vehicle Available
  • swimming pool
  1. f) The Retreat-Luxury

The Retreat is a unique all-suite tented lodge, found in the remote far north of the Selous. It is situated in a wild bush on the banks of the wide Great Ruaha River. The centrally situated main house -The Fort -is high up on a rocky hillside, allowing guests one of the best vantage points in the whole reserve. Private space, seclusion, and individual services in harmony with nature are the hallmarks of ‟The Retreat‟.

Accommodation at the Retreat include;

The spaciously set tented suites have been constructed to correspond with the surrounding habitat, whilst guaranteeing privacy and romance. The owners have carefully blended ethnic elements, bespoke furnishings, African antiques, natural materials, and precious stones –to create a unique sense of comfort and natural luxury. Striking views and vistas provide guests with a wonderful direct window into the wilderness and wildlife -an integral part of the master plan.

The expansive distance between each suite offers guests the ultimate privacy. The atmospheric main house, The Fort, is based on an ancient military observation point from the First World War and draws upon the influences of the great East African market. The fort has a large infinity pool and its surroundings provide a much-favoured vantage point from which clients have a 360-degree view into hundreds of kilometres of untouched land.

  • The customized 100 m² luxury tents, mounted on raised teak wood platforms, rise to a height of over 6 meters & are protected by two layers -a strong mosquito net as an inner wall and heavy-duty canvas on the outer side
  • All tents can be fully opened to the sounds, breeze and full view of nature
  • An integral part of each suite is its own private outdoor deck with seating and signature outdoor antique copper bathtubs
  • A comfortable king-size bed surrounded by a silk mosquito net
  • Indoor en suite facilities, including separate shower and specially commissioned washbasins, made from semi-precious stones
  • Carefully designed interiors are complemented by handpicked African antiques and local materials.

6 X EAGLE HILL SUITES(100m²) -an easy stroll from the main house, The Fort, on top of the hill, each enjoying an eagle view

3 X RIVER SUITES (160 m²) -standing on raised platforms besides the river bank -each with its own additional60m² „look-out‟ viewing deck complete with private plunge pool

1 X LION’S RIVER SUITE(220m²) -sits on a wooden platform with a further 60m² tented seating area, which can house additional beds for families. Included is a personal dining area & plunge pool

1 X HIPPO POINT (3000 m²) -an exclusive private safari lodge experience, situated 2 km from The Fort, providing total seclusion and privacy. Two large individual suites, each of 160m², spaciously positioned on raised platforms with own sundeck and plunge pool either side of its own large private infinity pool. A private bar, lounge, and dining areas are provided, serviced by one’s own cook and butler. Activities conducted by a private guide, vehicle and boat.

FLY CAMPING-Sleep under the stars in this specially created fully transparent nomadic tent, complete with „Tree Shower‟ washing facilities. A private Hippo Point cook, guide and game scout discreetly provide service and protection

LOVE NEST-A “treetop” sleep-out deck, complete with a teak wood base under the roof of a huge evergreen tree. Clients will have a spectacular view onto the Great Ruaha River and are just above a busy Hippo path


SENSES TO AFRICA SPA-An enriching, outdoor natural „River Spa‟, romantically situated on the shores of the Great Ruaha River. The philosophy of the Spa is to enhance the experience of African nature and wildlife with its sights, sounds smell and taste through bodywork and balance the needs of body, soul, and mind.

BAR-The Retreat has three bars serving favourite drinks and snacks: at the Fort, the sunset bar with additional infinity pool and at the Hippo point.

DINING-Besides the restaurant at the Fort, there are several attractive areas in which to dine in. Dependent on weather conditions and guests‟ requests, bush dining is a regular feature at the retreat where freshly prepared food is cooked in situ over an open fire. Local and international cuisine, utilizing fresh produce from coastal regions, is brought in and prepared by The Retreat “skilled chefs, who are trained under Wolfgang Kuchler, a leading 18-point Gault Millau cook from Switzerland.

BOUTIQUE -The Retreat runs a small boutique with special African items and some pharmacy products.

  1. g) Selous Mbuyu Safari Camp-Luxury

Concealed in the middle of a thick forest and along the riverbanks of River Rufiji, the Selous Mbuyu Safari Camp offers the most wonderful vistas as down arises as well as a totally new adventure is going to start. Looking over River Rufiji. On arrival at this camp, you will receive a grand welcomed at the reception hall found next to the bar plus restaurant looking over the banks of River Rufiji.

Accommodation at Selous Mbuyu Safari Camp include;

Selous Mbuyu Camp is made up of sixteen large and splendid tented chalets. The large tents have been delicately positioned to offer utmost privacy and also nicely blend with the natural surroundings. Each of the tents has twin beds which may be converted into sufficient double beds, having inside bathrooms. These tents are completed with inside and outside fans, portable air-conditioning, a large cupboard, a chair, a deposit box, working desk as well as 2 reading chairs. The inside bathroom has flowing water as well as a water heater that supplies the showers with hot water. There is a private patio on each tent that rewards with breathtaking views that face the river.

Exceptionally each of the tents has a compact TV – Video combined with a widespread Video Library found at the Grand reception.  These Tents have free for charge bottled drinking water as well as laundry services available on the guest’s request.  For the guests’ safety, these tents have an Emergency torch as well as a whistle used to raise an alarm in case of any danger.

The luxury VIP Suite

This VIP suite which faces the stunning river has views of a resident mother elephant plus an infant elephant which are very rewarding to see. The tent accommodates as many as 6 people and also has a bar, sauna, outside shower, steam bath, lounge and two rooms having an inside bathroom. This is a wonderful way for the families together with friends to bond as well as enjoy each other’s company

Honeymoon Suite

We have a cosy honeymoon suite that is uniquely tailor-made. It has a private veranda that faces the river, a large four-poster bed, outside shower, Jacuzzi, complimentary Champaign provided all throughout the day, a minibar plus a lounge, this is a paradise of its own class of its own


Some of the Facilities and Activities at Selous Mbuyu Safari Camp

Among the activities and facilities to enjoy at this safari, Camp include a mini gym, walking trail, swimming, soothing video watching as well as cycling.

During this Safari adventure, there are 3 types of available Safaris such as:

Game drives in Open 4WD Safari (when you reach the rest point in between your safari, you will enjoy some refreshments plus Sandwiches)

Guided Safari Walks

A Swimming Pool

Boat Trip

The Fly Tent




2) Midrange Safari Lodges in Serous Game Reserve Tanzania

  1. a) Rufiji River Camp-Midrange

Rufiji River Camp enjoys enviable location high up on the banks of Rufiji River. Spectacular sunsets are chorused by hippos grunting and a plethora of bird songs.  Build by local craftsmen, the camp combines Makuti palm roofs and Selous sourced paving stones and farmed hardwoods to create a beautiful and comfortable accommodation from which to enjoy Selous Game Reserve.

Accommodation at Rufiji River Camp include;

Classic tents

The tents are all pitched underneath roofs with massive verandas giving views up and down the river. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom, with solar-heated water for showering. There are individual classic tents well-spaced along the river.


Rufiji River Camp has 3 suites, each with 2 large tents on a shared platform with a private plunge pool. Each tent has its own stylish bathroom. The suites are ideal for families or friends wanting some extra space and privacy or the extra touch for the special anniversary or honeymoon.

Facilities and Services at Rufiji River Camp comprise;

Restaurant and Bar; with focus on the River views and wildlife, the restaurant and the bar are built to reflect this. Al fresco dining lit by starlight, private diners along the river bank or that end of the evening coffee sipped from the depth of the sofa in the upper-level coffee lounge.

Swimming Pool


  1. b) Selous Impala Camp-Midrange

Selous Impala Camp is situated on a wooded stretch of the stunning Rufiji River within the Selous Game Reserve Tanzania. Simply through stylishly designed, it offers varied safaris both on land and water. Impala has a very good ‘back of house’ infrastructure, which you are welcome to visit – allow 30 minutes for a guided tour, which includes the water treatment system and their impressive laundry and solar system.

Accommodation at Selous Impala Camp comprises;

6 luxury en-suite tents on platforms, with veranda river view. Raised high up on decking, each of the six Meru-style tents has a veranda with two comfortable chairs and a table from where you can enjoy a lovely view of the Rufiji River and land beyond. In addition, there are two family units each comprising of two en-suite tents sharing a single platform.

24/7 solar-generated electricity including lighting, ceiling fans, USB charging point for batteries/phones and a combination safe in each tent.

Please bring USB cables suitable for your devices.

Charging sockets are available in the office for non-USB devices such as camera battery chargers, laptops, etc. Enquire at the front desk.

Power to the tents is through our solar system which includes a battery bank. The system cannot, therefore, handle high consumption devices such as hair dryers.


Walk a short way through the acacia woodland, to your privately located tent on the river. Raised on decking, each tent has a veranda with two comfortable chairs and a table from where you can enjoy a lovely view of the Rufiji River and land beyond.

Selous Impala Camp’s tents are spacious with wooden floors, large and very comfortable beds with styled bedspreads and a writing desk. Much use is made of colorful, local fabrics to create a comfortable feel. Each tent is equipped with led lighting, ceiling fans, USB charging point for batteries/phones and a combination safe.

Fly Camping

Available from June to November. The fly camp is prepared, before guests leave Selous Impala Camp, by the fly camp team in a pre-chosen location. The team is led by the fly-camp guide and accompanied by your own guide, the fly camp team which consists of two assistants including one of our excellent chefs who can provide delicious meals in what we would call basic circumstances!

Depending on the season, different campsites are chosen. Sometimes it is, therefore, possible to arrive at the fly camp by boat, or by walking in from a not too distant drop-off point.

The distance from the camp to the fly camp may not allow us to walk to the camp from Impala main camp.

Facilities and services at Selous Impala Camp comprises;

Lounge and dining area: Selous Impala’s breezy lounge and dining area sit on a spacious wooden decking with spectacular views across the river, making it a wonderful place to watch the game come down to the water to drink. There are plenty of lounge chairs, all made of solid carved wood with woven seats and backs of natural fibre. Touches of African art dotted around give the central area a homely feel. Here’s a place to stretch out, put your feet up, and leaf through some of Impala’s wildlife and bird books, or just enjoy the view.

Bar: Across a short walkway, is the bar area, high chairs are set against a small bar made from an old ngalawa (dug-out canoe) and a few comfortable sofas with beautiful rustic-coloured cushions line the edge.

Campfire: Extending further still from the bar area you can enjoy an evening drink around the campfire whilst relaxing on canvas directors’ chairs.

  1. c) Selous River Camp-Midrange

Selous River Camp is located on the very edge of Africa’s largest protected wilderness area. The camp is set overlooking the spectacular Rufiji river, within woodland commonly visited by (among other wildlife) three different species of monkey, herds of elephant and a huge variety of birdlife.

The atmosphere is intimate and friendly and the service personal and professional. Selous River Camp also offers safari activities – from exploring the reserve on game drives in open-sided 4×4 safari vehicles to boat cruises up the Rufiji river and walking safaris.

Accommodation at Selous River Camp comprises;

There is a choice of accommodation – 9 “mud hut” style chalets, spread along the river bank with en-suite bathrooms, solar-power electricity, and fans or further back in the forest, 4 basic tents for budget travellers with separate bathrooms and solar-power lighting. The bathrooms have hot running water, showers and flushing toilets.

Mudhut Accommodation

Spend the night in a traditionally built Mudhut – they may be made from the mud… but these are luxury mudhuts!  Crafted using traditional Tanzanian methods from earth, sticks and sisal rope, and thatched with palm leaves, the Mudhuts blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings

A river-facing verandah opens into a comfortable and airy interior. The inside of the Mudhut is fully decorated and furnished with unique rustic furniture – handmade in our camp workshop from tree branches – including a four-poster double bed, draped romantically with fine mosquito netting. Bed linen and curtains are tailormade from brightly-coloured African kitenge fabrics, and handwoven palm mat carpets the floor.

The en-suite bathroom features a hot water shower, a European flush toilet, and handmade terracotta washbasin. Water is heated a short distance from your hut by a traditional wood-burning stove. Towels, washcloths, and soaps are all provided.

Softly lit in the evenings, each hut has a solar power system providing lighting and a fan to keep you cool during warmer nights.

No two Mudhuts are the same – each is unique with its own character and design. All Mudhuts are located high along the river bank and have views of the Rufiji River and its many crocodiles and hippos. Some rooms are large enough to add additional beds to create twins, triples, or rooms for four. A larger, two-bedroom Family Mudhut is also available.

Rest Camp Tents

Our large tents are located a short distance away from the river in our woodland campsite. All tents have twin beds and the bathroom is separate and shared.

Facilities and services at Selous River Camp comprises;

  • WiFi in discreet public areas.
  • Swimming Pool overlooking the river.
  • Well-stocked Riverbank Bar, Dining Area, and Open-air Firepit.
  1. d) Selous Ngalawa Camp-Midrange

The Selous Ngalawa Camp is a newly opened camp, bordering Africa’s largest protected area the untamed Selous Game Reserve. The Selous Ngalawa Camp situated in its own forest reserve is the original camp set up along the mighty Rufiji River near the Mtemere Gate, the Eastern gate to the Selous Game Reserve. It offers Boat Safaris on the Rufiji River, Walking Safaris and Game Drives as well as cultural village trips to the Mloka village. Fishing excursions on the Rufiji River can also be arranged.

Accommodation at Selous Ngalawa Camp include;

SELOUS GAME RESERVE is set up with five safari tents with bath and toilets in a tent, that is all set up along the mighty Rufiji River.  A green ceiling of tree branches and leaves, providing almost always shade throughout the day, covers the camp area. These trees are sometimes visited by a variety of monkeys, including the Angolan Black & White Colobus monkey.

The Restaurant is situated not far from your room facing the Rufiji River. The kitchen / our cook provides a variety of different cuisines or so-called “Bush Recipes”

The accommodation at Selous Ngalawa Camp is in safari tents, built on uplifted platforms, with two beds in every tent, with en- suite bathrooms, and a veranda. All of our tents have a magnificent view over the Rufiji River

Ngalawa Camp is a self-contained annex to nearby the Mtemere main gate and Mtemere Airstrip and is situated along the Rufiji River. which has stunning views over the Rufiji River. This Tanzania bush camp in Selous is exclusive, taken on a private basis only and has tents and thatch rooms with en suite facilities and a private bathroom and toilets. Accommodation at this Ngalawa Camp in Selous Game Reserve is in, open-fronted tents that boast unfiltered views of the surrounding natural environment

Facilities and services at Selous Ngalawa Camp include;

Food & Beverages

Selous Ngalawa Camp we provide varieties of meals if you book all-inclusive with us, for those coming with tour operators can have a kitchen and cook their own meals.

For direct clients booking and inquiring full services from Ngalawa Camp, you should expect.

Expect good simple fare, although there’s not a huge variety. Breakfast is a buffet consisting of hot cinnamon rolls, eggs and toast, served with coffee or tea, and juices.

Lunch is a buffet or a simple packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit, and cakes if you’re going out on a full day drive.

Dinners are a 3-course affair – often taken out on the terrace under the star’s weather permitting. Starters are served at your table, think tempura vegetables or an onion soup with warm bread rolls.

The main coursed is a buffet of various meats, pastas, curries, and vegetarian dishes. Dessert was a sponge cake with chocolate sauce, a little bit bland, but we were told it’s hard to get a lot of ingredients so far out in the bush. If you’re lucky, the Bushmen may entertain you while you eat and during a walking safari, with singing and dancing.

  1. e) Africa Safari Camp-Midrange

Set in magical Southern Tanzania, the Africa Safari Camp is a paradisiacal retreat, located at the entrance of the Selous Game Reserve. The Rufiji River is within walking distance, with all its wonderful African wildlife and spectacular scenery. Staying at our camp is a memorable experience, filled with adventure and excitement by day, and relaxation, ambience, and romance by night.

The camp guarantees every guest first-class amenities, facilities, and service. A genuinely warm African welcome awaits you, with local staff and an amazing variety of fresh and delicious cuisine. Our restaurant offers a full board service and all meals are freshly made from local ingredients by our excellent staff.  For the safaris, we provide freshly packed lunches so you can enjoy your lunch in the bush – very special! In the middle of the camp, there is a special lake that attracts plenty of Elephants, Monkeys, Leopards and other game for a drink and a rest.

Accommodation at Africa Safari Camp include;

Africa Safari Selous’s 21 rooms provide balconies and minibars. Guests can expect to find free WiFi. Stretch out in the soaking tub. Bungalows, banda bungalows, luxury safari tents, and a campsite. All the bungalows and safari tents are equipped with hot water forest showers, European toilets and bathrooms, ceiling fans and charging points for mobile phones and cameras. Our campsite offers full toilet and shower facilities.

We have our own water supply and use solar electricity.  For the hot water, we have firewood hot water boilers and generators for backup.

Dining in addition to a meal at the onsite restaurant, you can also enjoy a drink at the bar/lounge.

Dry cleaning/laundry services

  1. f) Selous Wilderness Camp-Midrange

Tucked safely away from the mainstream safari route the Selous Wilderness Camp, located on the southern shores of the Rufiji River, offers attentive, yet unpretentious personalized service, exquisite dining and fantastic tents with amazing views of the Rufiji River and its wildlife.

Situated on the banks of the mighty Rufiji River, the Camp provides guests with tranquil lounging and dining areas, nine authentic safari tents and two family bandas offer spacious and unexpected refined accommodation. Designed to mirror the natural surroundings of the Rufiji River.

  1. g) Selous Mbega Camp-Midrange

The Selous Mbega Camp experience, bordering Africa’s largest protected area the untamed Selous Game Reserve (the photographic area, also to be named “Nyerere National Park” in the future).

The Selous Mbega Camp situated in its own forest reserve, built-in 2000, is the original camp set up along the mighty Rufiji River near the Mtemere Gate, the Eastern gate to the Selous Game Reserve. It is our headquarters for operations in the Selous and offers Boat Safaris on the Rufiji River, Walking Safaris and Game Drives as well as cultural village trips to the Mloka village. Fishing excursions on the Rufiji River can also be arranged.

The Camp

The SELOUS MBEGA CAMP is set up with five safari tents as well as a stone house with two rooms and an apartment, that is all set up along the mighty Rufiji River. There are also three more safari tents in the forest, bringing it to a total of 11 rooms. Just 500 meters away from the border of the Selous Game Reserve, in its own private 60 ha riverine forest reserve.

A green ceiling of tree branches and leaves, providing almost always shade throughout the day, covers the camp area. These trees are sometimes visited by a variety of monkeys, including the Angolan Black & White Colobus monkey, known in Kiswahili as Mbega mweupe, or Mbega, to which the camp owes its name.

The Restaurant and Bar are situated under a palm leave thatched roof around a Mahogany tree, facing the Rufiji River.

The kitchen provides a variety of different cuisines or so-called “Bush Recipes”

The camp also has:

A “Dungu” (view tower) looks at set up waterhole at the rear of the camp, with animal or bird activity during the day and at night.

The accommodation at Selous Mbega Camp is in large safari tents, built on wooden platforms, mosquito & insect-proof, with en- suite bathrooms, and a verandah. Five of our tents have a magnificent view over the Rufiji River.

  1. h) Selous Kulinda Camp-Midrange

Selous Tented Camp is set in an area of pristine wilderness, situated in the forest on the shores of the Rufiji River, outside the Reserve, within 9 km to Mtemere, the Selous Reserve main entrance gate Selous Tented Camp offers a unique accommodation for travellers wishing to get closer to the unspoiled wilderness of Untouched Africa and enjoy wildlife and scenery undisturbed.


The 9 Standard and 5 Deluxe Tents pitched along the banks of the Rufiji River give a stunning and panoramic view of the perennial river heavily infested with hippos and crocodiles.

All the tents are on an elevation and well-spaced out, camouflaged with thick bush to provide a haven of utmost privacy to the residents.

An important feature of the camp is space. The enormous room with en-suite bath is aesthetically and thoughtfully equipped with all desired comforts and luxury and beckons you to indulge. There is quality combined with an essence of safari style, thus ensuring gratification to the hilt.


  • Free parking
  • Free internet
  • Bar / lounge
  • Restaurant
  1. i) Jimbiza Lodge-Midrange

Jimbiza Camp is in the buffer zone of Selous game reserve right on the banks of the Rufiji River, 4 kilometres from Mtemere gate This Camp has its own quality, lovely environment, has 14 self-contained rooms which are located on the banks of the Rufiji River which is one of the largest water systems in East Africa.

All rooms are comfortable, clean and spacious. There are three different types of rooms that are all good in their own way.


Jimbiza Camp is in the buffer zone of Selous game reserve right on the banks of the Rufiji River, 4 kilometres from Mtemere gate This Camp has its own quality, lovely environment, has 14 self-contained rooms which are located on the banks of the Rufiji River which is one of the largest water systems in East Africa.

All rooms are comfortable, clean and spacious. There are three different types of rooms that are all good in their own way.

Riverside Bandas; Stylish design, smaller but also a more secure feeling netting ceilings still keep you close to nature. Nice view of the river.

Riverside tents; These are large and spacious giving you the feeling of being close to nature. They all have views directly onto the river.

Treetop tents; These are smaller than the riverside tents but are more secluded in the middle of the bush high up on a platform. Definitely for those who want more privacy.


  • Spacious Restaurant
  • Swimming Pool
  • Lounge
  1. j) Sand Rivers Selous-Midrange

Sand Rivers is located on a rock-strewn peninsula with amazing views over River Rufiji in southern Tanzania’s well-known Selous Game Reserve. It presents an exceptional blend of traditional safari elegance merged with the roughness of a true bush adventure since it overlooks this river swarmed with hippos plus crocodiles.

The spacious cottages which are Open in front offer amazing views over the river that is congested with numerous crocodiles plus hippopotami. The professional pampering services of the staff here which are actually the very best in this area is another thing not worth missing during your adventure.

Rooms at Sand Rivers Selous

There are 5 cottages opened at the front, one honeymoon suite in addition to two other suites and each of these has its own private inside bathroom.

All the cottages are built on stilts having an uneven suspended thatch. They are each opened on one’s side to face the flowing by the river not far away from the facility.  So in the comfort of your room, you will be able to see the gorgeous river banks.

For more adventurous guests, you can try out the thrilling fly camping. Although these are basic camps, they offer food, ice-cold drinks, comfy bedrolls as well as bucket showers and toilets that are found at the back end of the camp.

Facilities and services at Sand Rivers Selous include;

Dining: there is a common large dining table that was carved out of a big huge tree which is a meeting place where the guests get an opportunity to interact with each other during dinner and lunch. The breakfast offered at Sand Rivers may be enjoyed as a picnic out in the wild for those having early morning game drives or back at the lodge in the dining area.

A large Swimming Pool

Private Balcony

A private Shower to each suite

Well stocked bar

How to get to Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

By road

It is also possible to visit Selous on a road safari from Dar es Salaam, but it is a long, bumpy trip that consumes at least half a day in either direction, and there are few advantages to driving unless you also want to visit Kilwa and the south coast.

If you do drive, the most direct route is the 240km (149 miles) easterly road via Kibiti and Mloka to Mtemere Gate, which typically takes about 6 hours. However, if you are combining a Selous safari with other southern reserves such as Mikumi or Ruaha National Park, then the best road for making these connections runs for 140km (87 miles) between the Morogoro town to Matembwe Gate via Mkuyuni and Kisaki.

As one goes through heading out of the Morogoro town, you will have the chance to see the way how people live and work within the rural villages in Tanzania. In these areas, the urban famous culture has not yet washed away their upheld way of life living alone a few stores that may be retailing soft drinks that are packaged by international brand names. A market day would give you such a unique experience as you move towards the Selous driving from the hilly pathways of the mountainous region.

Railroad system

The adventure never stops; the other way to get to Selous could be through the TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway) railroad system. It starts from Dar es Salaam, diminishing off bush routes adventures guests at the rail stop in Matambwe. Throughout this journey, you enjoy the beauty of the bushland. The journey takes you four to five hours in a panoramic tour of Tanzania rural landscape. It is usually the most worthwhile way to get to the Selous Game Reserve.

By Air

This is an alternative three for one to get to the Selous Game Reserve. There are a number of departure flights from Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Zanzibar and landing a different accommodation or even public access airstrips. Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) can is used as the entry point for the country. As a safari development to a beach holiday on Zanzibar Island or one of the other beached around Dar es Salaam. There are usually scheduled departure flights to welcome this to both Selous and Ruaha. Even if it is the most expensive; an air safari is the quickest way to Selous Game Reserve.

It is served by light aircraft flights from Dar and Ruaha daily – a flight takes about 45 minutes from Dar and about 90 minutes from Ruaha. Normally these charter flights are reserved by your safari/tour operator all as part of your safari package. You may make reservations for your Domestic flights with any of the domestic carrier such as Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Regional Air, ZanAir, Safari Air Link, or Coastal Aviation


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