One of the largest parks in Africa, Selous Game Reserve offers relatively small animal viewing since most of the park is set aside for hunting. However, amazing boat safaris and predator sightings can be found on the Rufiji River.
The part of Selous that is located north of the Rufiji River is open to the public and can be described as scenic. There is the main wildlife circuit that follows five connected lakes which are fed by the Rufiji River. The Rufiji boasts swampy islets and palm-fringed channels. It is also one of the great rivers in all of Africa.
In general, wildlife viewing in Selous is very good. You will find that the string of lakes along the main circuit is an ideal spot to spot a large group of giraffes, as well as other ungulates including zebras, impalas, waterbucks, and buffalos. Watch out for the hungry lions that can be seen close to the waterholes.
Several antelope species can be found here in Selous including puku and majestic sable. Black rhino can only be spotted in some remote areas. wild dogs can be spotted in the park.
Best Time to Visit
The best time for wildlife viewing in Selous is from later June to October. This is the Dry season and it’s easier to spot animals as they gather around water sources. Vegetation is also thinner during this time of year. The Wet season runs from October to May and during this period the scenery is lush and green. Keep in mind that afternoons can be extremely hot in Wet season and many of the lodges are closed from March to May.
June to October –Dry Season
- It’s easier to spot animals since they gather around rivers and waterholes. There is also less vegetation.
- There is little rain and it’s usually sunny.
- It’s less risky to get malaria as there are not that many mosquitoes around.
- It’s not extremely hot and the humidity is lower.
- Drought and dust are quite common.
- Some areas of the park can get overcrowded with tourists.
October to May –Wet Season
- Expect to find beautiful and green scenery.
- There are fewer visitors from March to May and the prices for tourist attractions are lower.
- It’s the best time for bird-watching as migratory birds are present.
- It is more difficult to travel, due to muddy roads.
- Wildlife viewing is better during the middle and the end of the Dry Season.
- There are lodges that are closed from April to May.
- Humidity and heat are known to be overwhelming.
A number of safaris to Selous are fly-in packages from Dar es Salaam. Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) is the main entry point to the country. It is located just outside Dar as Salaam. Your tour operator is usually in charge of picking you up and organizing further arrangements.
Tourists usually visit Selous as part of their beach holiday on Zanzibar Island or as an extension of their visit to the beaches around Dar es Salaam. There are scheduled flights from these departure points to both Ruaha and Selous. Visitors can also fly from Arusha Town, which is the base for the northern safari circuit. Scheduled flights between Selous GR and Serengeti have just been recently introduced by the Coastal Aviation. This is an ideal route for travelers who don’t want to stop in Arusha, as it connects the northern and the southern circuits.
You can also drive from Dar es Salaam to Selous on a road safari. However, the road is quite bumpy and the ride usually takes a full day. In some cases, to break up the trip visitors stop at Mikumi National Park.
Airlines & Ticket Prices
For airlines and ticket prices please check Skyscanner. For multiple destination flights visit Expedia to find out about flights to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR).
Charter flights are usually booked by a tour operator as part of the safari tour package. There are also scheduled flights to Selous which can be booked with a domestic carrier.