When is the best time to visit the Selous Game Reserve?
For animal viewing:
The best time to visit the Selous Game Reserve and when wildlife is much easier to spot, is during the dry season (June to October). The the animals gather at water points and the vegetation is less dense. This is however peak tourist period and it can get quite busy around the Rufiji River. Most lodges close for March to May during the long rain season.
For bird watching:
The best time to visit the Selous for birding is the wet season (March to May). During this time there are a large number of species of migratory birds that make the Selous their temporary home.
Why should I visit Selous Game Reserve?
Wild Dog, the Rufiji River and walking safaris
Which of the Big 5 can I see in The Selous Game Reserve?
5 of the Big 5 are to been seen in the Selous. Leopard sightings are rare and Elephants sightings are not guaranteed.
Cheetah and Black Rhino while present, are seldom seen. Wild Dogs are present and can be seen when denning in areas where safari lodges operate.
Special animals/behaviour in the Selous Game Reserve
The Selous is home to two thirds of the world’s Wild Dog. It is also home rarer species such as the Sable and Puku.
Walking Safari’s and luxury sleep-outs are some the exciting options available.
What is the weather like in the Selous?
The Selous has only two seasons, namely the dry season, June to October, and a wet season, November to March. The Selous is generally hot and humid with temperatures remaining relatively constant throughout. Day time temperatures range between 25 and 31° C and night time temperatures between 18 & 21°C. October to March are the warmer months and April to September are cooler.
About the Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Africa, offering an off-the-beaten track experience that is definite Bucket list stuff. It is the largest game reserve and the second largest conservation area in Africa. Coming in at 50 000 km², it is almost 2 times the size of the Serengeti National Park.
The reserve has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps.
The Selous was named after Frederick Selous who lived and hunted in this area in the 1900’s. After his death, the British incorporated some of the existing game reserves to form the Selous. In an effort to curb a sleeping sickness epidemic, the remaining tribes in the area were moved out of the area and the Selous grew to its present size.
Carving out the Selous
The main feature of the Selous Game Reserve is the Rufiji River. Hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes and channels carved out of the landscape by the Rufiji and Great Ruaha rivers have resulted in a diverse and varied landscape. The network of normally dry rivers of sand become raging torrents during the rains; these sand rivers are one of the most unique features of the Selous landscape. Large parts of the wooded grasslands of the northern Selous are seasonally flooded by the rising water of the Rufiji River, creating a very dynamic ecosystem. The rivers and lakes are surrounded by woodlands, grassy plains and rocky outcrops.
During the dry season from June to October, when the animals congregate along the river, the concentration of animals is astonishing. Game drives and game boat cruises along the river is very rewarding. Lake Tagalala is one of the larger oxbow lakes on the northern side of the Rufiji River flood plain, the others being Lakes Manze, Nzerakera and Siwandu . The lakes are home to a wide array of game, from hippo and crocodiles to the antelope and predators. The antelope species include waterbuck, reedbuck, bushbuck and the magnificent sable and greater kudu, to name but a few.
Special animals of the Selous
The Selous is home to about one-third of all the wild dogs in the world. The Wild Dog has been hunted and shot, especially where man meets nature, and has thus become endangered. Here in the Selous, which is protected, and with ample area to roam in, these painted dogs have a chance to thrive.
The Selous is where Tanzania’s greatest population of elephants wander in an area bigger than Switzerland! The Selous (pronounced “Seloo”) was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. In the dry season about 65000 elephant migrate between the Selous and the Niassa Game Reserve in Mozambique. About 55 000 of these elephant call the Selous their home. The Niassa/Selous eco system is one of the largest in Africa.