When you think of heading off on a safari in Tanzania you probably think of those parks in the northern circuit like Serengeti. However, those parks are much smaller than Selous and typically packed with a lot more tourists. Now obviously they are popular for a reason but if you’d like to enjoy a quieter, almost private safari then heading to Selous Game Reserve could be a good idea.
Selous Game Reserve is in the south of Tanzania and is bigger than the size of the country of Switzerland. It has both wetlands and savannah woodlands making it a diverse place for nature and you’ll still have chance to see all of those animals that you dream of meeting on safari. Of course the time of year you go will make a difference to your visit but that’s the same on any safari.
Why a Safari in Selous Game Reserve is a good choice.
Selous can easily be reach from Dar airport in just under an hour with any of the charter flight companies, we used coastal for our flight and they also provided our flight transfer from Zanzibar to Dar. The closeness of Selous to Dar makes it the perfect place to head for a short safari if you want to combine it with a trip to Zanzibar. Flying into Selous will give you amazing views of the water and dry land even offering a chance to spot some wildlife before actually landing. Once you touch down in Selous your game drive begins the minute you step off the plane, by this I mean the airstrip has to be cleared of animals before landing you’re that in the heart of the reserve.
Selous is home to a huge variety of animals and birds but there are some you are more likely to see than others especially depending on the time of year. Due to it’s huge amount of water there is also a much bigger chance of seeing a huge range of birds as well as the obvious of hippos and crocodiles.
We were visiting in December and saw the following animals regularly:
And so many birds
Animals we saw infrequently:
Animals we didn’t spot:
Lion (they had last been spotted in an area that had been cut off because of rain)
Zebra (they don’t like the rain)
Leopard (but these guys are very rare)
Other things to know about Selous
While on a game drive in Selous you have the chance to drive around the dry woodland areas but every now and then you catch sight of the lake with a hippo poking out and it reminds you how diverse this land is. This experience of both in my eyes made Selous a better safari experience to parks and reserves that don’t offer both.
Another great thing about Selous Game Reserve compared to national parks is that you can drive off the beaten track. This means being able to get much closer to the animals when you spot them, being able to search in areas away from the main track and follow ‘leads’ such as a flock of vultures looking down over something.
Animals are easier to find in the dry months (June-October) because water isn’t readily available and they have to travel more to find water sources meaning more chance of spotting animals because they can’t keep hidden for long.
The wet season runs from November to May, although some years it may be late arriving. When we visited in late December most roads had been passable until that week when they’d had very heavy rains. During March and April Selous becomes so water logged that most camps are shut as most roads are impassable.
There are a wide range of accommodation options in Selous depending on your budget. We stayed at Lake Manze Camp while we were on safari in Selous Game Reserve and I would highly recommend. I’ll be talking more about it in a future post.
Have you been on a Safari? How did it compare to Selous?