Selous game reserve
Selous Game Reserve is an excellent ecological system and tourist destination found in the south eastern region of Tanzania, this protected area is UNESCO world heritage site covering an area of 50,000 square kilometers. Selous game reserve is made up of a dramatic scenic landscape which consists of flat plains, alluvial valleys, protruding inselbergs, granite outcrops and water bodies.
Selous game reserve is generally dominated by two vegetation types that is savanna wooded grasslands and miombo woodland, miombo woodland vegetation cover consists of tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannahs and scrublands. These vegetation cover are the great habitants for animals in the reserve.
Selous game reserve was designated as a protected area in 1896 during the German administration regime in Tanzania by the then German governor of Tanganyika Hermann Von Wissmann, in 1982 the reserve was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982.
Attractions in Selous Game Reserve
Selous game reserve consists of many tourist attractions which include
Magnificent physical features
Selous game reserve’s landscape is crossed by a couple of rivers, a lake and consists of a hot spring which are magnificent features, rivers draining through the reserve include river Rufiji and river Rhuha. River Rufiji is the most prominent river not only in Tanzania but also in Tanzania forming a network of channels, lakes and swamps, Rufiji River is approximately 600 kilometers running from its source in southern Tanzania to its mouth on the Indian Ocean from a Mafia channel. Both rivers Rufiji and Rhuha are great spots for thousands of animals which are always viewed at the banks of the river drinking water.
Hot spring in the park is in the names of Beho Beho hot springs, this hot spring is located near Lake Tagalala and creates a pool of hot water fuming with vapor on top of it which is a breathtaking sight to see in the reserve.
Lake Tagalala is a sporadic oxbow lake in the reserve situated in the northern end of reserve just a short distance north of the Rufiji River, Lake Tagalala is bordered of galleries of trees which habit a lot of animals found in the reserve such as elephants, lions and zebras most especially in the dry season. Lake Tagalala is an excellent birding site hosting many bird species along its banks and it offers boat rides adventures in Selous game reserve. Other lakes in the park include Mzizimia, Siwandu, Manze and Nzelekela.
Stiegler’s George is another breathtaking attraction in Selous game reserve with an in depth of 100 meters, the gorge derives its name from a German engineer Stiegler who spearheaded and led the first expedition. Stiegler was charged by an elephant and fell into the ravine thus the gorge being named after him in his memory.
Selous grave in Selous game reserve is a historical memorial feature where British explorer and conservationist Frederick Courteney was buried, Fredrick Courtney was the right- hand man to Cecil John Rhodes in the efforts of annexing Zimbabwe. On 4th January 1917 Selous was involved in a bush war on the banks of the Rufiji River fighting against German colonial Schutztruppen, as he was creeping forward in a combat he was shot dead by a German sniper. After his death he was buried in the lands of Selous game reserve under a tamarind tree and it is from his achievements that the park has named after him as an honor.
Wildlife (birds and animals)
Selous game reserve is an excellent ecological system hosting a huge population of wildlife which consists of animals and birds.
Birds. Selous game reserve hosts over 440 bird species which is a reason to why it is ranked among the best birding destinations in Tanzania, birds in the reserve thrive on the banks and shores of rivers and lakes found in the reserve. Birds species in Selous game reserve include pink-backed pelicans, African skimmers, giant king fishers, Black-winged stilt, Böhm’s bee-eater, Broad-billed roller, Brown-headed parrot, Brown-necked parrot, Dickinson’s kestrel, Northern carmine bee-eater, Palm-nut vulture, Pearl-spotted owlet, Pel’s fishing-owl, Racket-tailed roller, Rock pratincole, Thick-billed cuckoo, White-backed night heron, White-backed vulture, White-headed lapwing, Yellow-billed stork, carmine, white fronted bee-eater, fish eagle, palm nut vulture, ibises, palm swifts, white crowned, spur winged plovers, small waders, pied and malachite king fishers, trumpeter hornbill;, purple-crested turaco, Pel’s fishing owl, Malagasy Squacco heron, egrets, herons, racket-tailed roller, thick-billed Cuckoo, carmine bee-eater, Rock Pratincole and many more. Selous game reserve also receives migratory bird species in the period of November to April.
Animals. Selous game reserve hosts a big population of animals which are very much present and thrive in the short savannah vegetation and miombo woodland dotted throughout the park, the reserve hosts a largest population of elephants numbering to over 110,000 individuals and lions numbering over 4,000 individuals which is a big population found in no any other place in Africa. The reserve also hosts a high concentration of hippopotamuses, buffaloes, impalas and zebras, other animals found in the park include giraffes, greater kudus, waterbucks, spotted hyena, rhinos, and leopards bush bucks, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, eland, warthogs, reedbucks, puku antelope, African wild dogs, brindled gnu, Nyasaland gnu, sable antelopes and many more. These animals are always seen in big numbers at the banks of the rivers, on the shores of lakes and in the miombo woodland vegetation.
Activities in Selous game reserve
Selous game reserve is a great destination for bird watching, the reserve hosts over 44o bird species which thrive in most of the reserve’s plains most especially around the banks of river Rufiji and river Rhuha, lagoons, sandbanks, shores of Lake Tagalala and in the miombo woodlands which are the great habitants for the birds. bird watching in the reserve is a breathtaking experience where you get to view many bird species such as , Dickinson’s kestrel, Northern carmine bee-eater, Palm-nut vulture, Pearl-spotted owlet, Pel’s fishing-owl, Racket-tailed roller, Rock pratincole, Thick-billed cuckoo, White-backed night heron, White-backed vulture, White-headed lapwing, Yellow-billed stork, carmine, white fronted bee-eater, fish eagle, palm nut vulture, ibises, palm swifts, white crowned, spur winged plovers, small waders, pied and malachite king fishers, trumpeter hornbill;, purple-crested turaco, Pel’s fishing owl, Malagasy Squacco heron, egrets, herons, racket-tailed roller and many more.
Bird watching in Selous game reserve is good throughout the year and the reserve is open for visitor any time of the year but the best time for an excellent bird watching safari is in the period of November to April and June to October. In the period of November to April migratory bird species from Europe and other parts of the world are present in the park and it is a time for bleeding, the period of June to October is a dry season meaning the park trails used by visitors are less muddy and easy to navigate.
Game drives are the main highlight of Selous game reserve, game drives in the reserve are mostly carried out on the around Rufiji river which is a popular game drive area where you get to view a batch of animals like giraffes, hippo, crocodiles, elephants, African wild dog and many more. game drive in the park are offered in sessions such as morning game drive, afternoon game drive and full day game drive using your open car for amazing views of the park.
Game viewing in Selous game reserve is best done in the dry season as it is easier to view animals due to short grass cover and the animals are easy to find as the crowd the banks of rivers and the lakes for water, the dry season is experienced in months of June, July, august, September to October and it is characterized with dry routes and less or no rainfall.
Nature walks in Selous game reserve is an exciting retreat offering you encounters with the wildlife hosted in the park and the numerous magnificent attractive features, nature walk are always done under the supervision of a professional safari guide walking through the park on foot. This activity is done in groups giving tourists an opportunity to not only enjoy the nature but also bond with each other, the walks are usually for 2-3 hours taking you to prominent areas of the reserve such as Rufiji river, sandbanks and riverine forests where you get to spot animals like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, giraffes and many more and birds.
Selous game reserve is dotted with numerous waterbodies that is river Rufiji and Rhuha and numerous lakes that is Lake Tagalala, Mzizimia, Siwandu, Manze and Nzelekela. Boat ride is an exciting activity offering you a thrilling adventure and a tour to waters of the reserve, boat rides are offered in sessions that is
- Short boat safari offering from 7 am – 4 pm and 4pm – 6 pm.
- full day boat safari from 10 am – 6 pm
Cultural encounters in Selous game reserve takes you on a visit in Mloka village, this activity is done on a walk in the village where you visit primary schools, market and meet the locals. Meeting the locals unveils the local culture, customs and many beautiful exciting stories.
Accommodation in Selous Game Reserve
As one of the most thriving and entertaining tourist destinations in Tanzania, serous game reserve hosts some of the world’s finest and stylish camps offering accommodation to the visitors of the reserve. Accommodation facilities in the reserve are distinguished into three that is
Luxury establishments/ lodges: Beho Beho, siwandu camp, mivumo river luxury, Selous Serena camp, Roho ya Selous, the retreat tented lodge and Selous Mbuyu safari camp.
Mid-range establishments: Rufiji river camp, Selous impala camp, Selous river camp, Selous Ngalawa camp, African safari camp, Selous wilderness camp, Selous mbega camp, Selous kulinda camp, jimbiza lodge and sand rivers Selous.