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3 Days Safari In Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve Tanzana
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Selous Game Reserve

The Selous Game Reserve, located in southern Tanzania, covers 50,000 square kilometres of miombo woodlands, which include shrublands, savannas, tropical and subtropical grasslands. These woodlands are home to herbivore species such as Burchell’s zebras, Roosevelt’s sable antelope, impala, giraffe, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and waterbuck. Selous is also known for its large number of wild dog, lion and leopard.

Elephants have suffered a huge decline over the years (from 110,000 in the late 1970’s.) Despite elephant poaching, Selous still has around 15 000 elephants in the greater Selous/Mikumi area. The huge size of Selous, good water and a large concentration of wildlife has made it one of the most iconic safari destinations in the world. It’s also part of Tanzania’s southern safari circuit, which is less-visited than the more popular northern circuit, one of Tanzania’s best kept wildlife secrets.

The‌ ‌History‌ ‌of‌ Selous Game Reserve

  • 1896: The Governor of Tanganyika, Hermann von Wissmann, designated the land that now encompasses the Selous Game Reserve to be a protected area.
  • 1905: Eventually, the protected area was turned into a hunting reserve, named after the notable game hunter Frederick Selous.
  • 1976: Selous Game Reserve had a population of 110,000 elephants – the largest elephant population in the world. Unfortunately, over the years, the elephant population has declined.
  • 2005: The protected area was dubbed as the Lion Conservation Unit.
  • 2013: The elephant population dropped down to 13,000, which was a major drop of around 66% between 2009 to 2013. The population decline has been a result of heavy poaching activities, supported by corrupt officials.

Wildlife In Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve has a large and healthy population of African wild dogs. These predators are pack animals who are skilled and efficient hunters, who run their prey down and eventually start eating their exhausted prey whilst they are still alive.  The feared Nile crocodiles are also seen in the waters waiting for an unwitting prey to walk into its jaws. Buffalo, giraffes, impala, waterbuck and zebras are observed alongside the lakes or near the water holes, which are often frequented by hungry predators lying in wait.

An iconic bird-watching destination, Selous Game Reserve has around 440 bird species. They inhabit the islands, lagoons, river channels and sandbanks. Some of the most extraordinary and rare birds, such as African wattled lapwing, African spoonbill, common white-headed vulture, Pel’s fishing owl and the white-fronted bee-eater, have been spotted in the region. Other bird species frequently seen include African skimmer, brown-necked parrot, black-winged stilt, Dickinson’s kestrel, yellow-billed stork, racket-tailed roller and white-backed night heron.

Selous Game Reserve Premier Attractions

River Rufiji: The largest river in Tanzania, River Rufiji flows through the Selous Game Reserve. The river splits into a huge network of small lakes, swamps and water channels adding to the landscape diversity of Selous Game Reserve. During the dry season, the river teems with huge herds of antelopes and elephants and visitors can enjoy boat rides on the river.

Lake Tagala: Another well-known water-body, Lake Tagala is an oxbow lake. It is surrounded by dead trees that disappear in the wet season when the water levels are consistently high. A major portion of the lake dries out in the dry season and what’s left of the lake attracts the wildlife – both herbivores and predators alike. It’s also an excellent birding spot with a large number of bird species making their home in the shallows and on the shore of the lake.

Frederick Selous Grave: The conservationist and British explorer who gave the park its name died in World War I. Selous’s knowledge of southern Tanzania gave him the courage to pursue the German guerrilla army, but he was outnumbered and shot in the head along the banks of the Rufiji River. Following his death, he was buried in the Selous Reserve. His grave, found in the place called Beho, is marked by a tamarind tree that still stands to day.

When To Visit Selous Game Reserve

For wildlife viewing, the best time to visit the Selous Game Reserve is during the dry season, from June to October. With the dwindling vegetation around the water sources, it becomes easier to spot the wildlife gathering around them. In contrast, the wet season is an ideal time to visit Selous for bird watching. From November to April, several migratory species make their way towards Selous Game Reserve and several other regions in southern Tanzania.

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