Mention the Serengeti, mention Ngorongoro Crater, mention Masai Mara and most people will recognise these names from things like “Big Cat Diaries” and many other wildlife programmes and articles.
Mention The Selous Game Reserve and most people will say “where?”
It is for just this reason we consider The Selous to be the hidden gem of East Africa – relatively unfound, so fewer camps/lodges, hence fewer vehicles/people – yet abundant with wildlife and birds.
The most vehicles we have encountered on our many game drives in The Selous is 3 – compared to, on one occasion in the Ngorongoro Crater, we were one of 19 vehicles viewing a lion kill of a zebra; in the Masai Mara there was a virtual traffic jam as word got around there was a leopard in the vicinity.
So, apart from the fact it is relatively uninhabited with visitors, why do we think it provides, probably, the most rewarding safari experience in East Africa?
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest game reserve in Africa, 4 times larger than the Serengeti, giving a wonderful safari experience to the experienced safari goer as well as people taking a safari for the first time.
- The Rufiji River, which runs through the park, means it has a wider variety of game and birds than most parks in northern Tanzania and Kenya.
- Visitors have a wide range of activities including drive safaris, river safaris and guided walks. In other parks/reserves one tends to be vehicle bound.
- There are 440 known species of birds, the largest population of wild dogs in the world and an amazing concentration of all game, particularly between July and October – but rewarding right through to March. We have seen lion on each of our visits to the Selous, as well as many herds of buffalo and giraffe (my favourite animal, so regal) eland, hyena, sable, hippo, crocodile, kudu, baboon, wildebeest, zebra, impala, hartebeest, colobus and vervet monkeys. Every one we meet on safari in Selous have sighted leopard – we have yet to see one – just one good reason to keep going back.
Add to these, and many other things, it is easily accessible from both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar with a relatively short plane journey.
We book at camps located inside the Reserve which have good locations either on the banks of the River, or on the banks of a lake. There are lesser priced camps outside of the Reserve, but they tend to involve quite a long drive to get to the main concentrations of animals. The camps where we make most bookings are Selous Impala Camp, Rufiji River Camp and Lake Manze Tented Camp.
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. It was named after Englishman Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist, who died at Beho Beho in this territory in 1917 while fighting against the Germans during World War I. Scottish explorer and cartographer Keith Johnston also died at Beho Beho in 1879 while leading a RSGS expedition to the Great Lakes of Africa with Joseph Thomson. The Selous was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature.
The reserve covers a total area of 54,600 km2 (21,100 sq mi) and has additional buffer zones. Within the reserve no permanent human habitation or permanent structures are permitted. All (human) entry and exit is carefully controlled by the Wildlife Division of the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. Some of the typical animals of the savanna (for example elephants, hippopotami, African Wild Dog, cape buffalo and crocodiles) can be found in this park in larger numbers than in any other African game reserve or national park.
At the end of the day, take a seat and have a drink.
SUGGESTIONS FOR A SHORT SAFARI IN THE SELOUS AND TIME ON ZANZIBAR
Price from £1,435.00 per person (excludes international flights)
- Early morning arrival in Dar es Selaam with Qatar Airways, met for transfer to the Domestic Terminal – 3 minutes. 10.45 Depart Dar es Salaam. 11.30 Arrive Selous Game Reserve – Mtemere Airstrip.
- On arrival at the Selous you will be met by a representative from Rufiji River Camp for the short transfer to the Camp.
- Rufiji River Camp for 3 x days/nights – En-suite tent. Your safari will be on a full board basis (excludes drinks) and includes Reserve and Conservation Fees. You will have a choice of excursions chosen from games drives, river safaris and guided walks. There is normally one excursion in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening. Full day game drives with picnic lunch are also available. Excursions are on a shared basis.
- After 3 x days/nights transfer to the Airstrip for mid morning flight to Zanzibar. Met on arrival by our agent with exclusive us of a vehicle, driver and English speaking guide. Transfer to Flame Tree Cottages in the fishing village of Nungwi at the north of the island – approx 1 hour.
- Flame Tree Cottages for 5 x days/nights. Double Room on a bed & breakfast basis. Flame Tree Cottages, set in tropical gardens, fronts on to the ocean. Located in this interesting fishing village, there are things to see/do in addition to relaxation. There are a choice of restaurants and bars for meals.
- After 5 x days/nights, transfer by our agent to Stone Town.
- Mizingani Seafront Hotel for 2 x nights. Presidential Suite on a bed & breakfast basis. Located in the heart of historical Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you have a chance to see the “real” Zanzibar.
- On your last day our agent transfers you to the Airport for your return flight.
The price from £1,435.00 per person includes the safari with excursions, Reserve Fees, internal flights to Selous and back to Zanzibar, all accommodation as described and all transfers by our agent on Zanzibar. The price is based on travel mid January – end March and November to mid December.