Size: 54,600 sq km (21,100 sq miles)

Selous Game Reserve, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in southern Tanzania and is Africa’s largest game reserve, covering more than 5% of Tanzania’s total land area and is three times larger than the Serengeti and larger than many countries. Established in 1922, the reserve was named after Captain Frederick Courtney Selous, a naturalist, explorer and hunter, who died there in action in 1917. In spite of the fact that for many years it was an important hunting area, Selous still contains the greatest concentration of big game left on earth.

Three-quarters of the Reserve is woodland of various types, short grassy plains, with seasonally flooded pans. Impressive riverine forests and dense impenetrable thickets are important habitats within the Selous. The wide, meandering Rufiji River with its associated wetlands, lakes and swamps, is one of the most outstanding ecological systems in the whole of eastern Africa.

In addition to traditional game drives, boat and walking safaris are also available.


The Selous Game Reserve supports enormous numbers of game with large populations of buffalos, elephants, wildebeest, wild dogs, hippos, crocodiles, and black rhinos.

During the dry season from June to October, the concentration of animals along the river is astonishing. Linked to the Rufiji is Lake Tagalala where waterbuck, reedbuck and bushbuck gather at the water's edge. Magnificent sickle-horned sable and curly-horned greater kudu tend to keep to the longer grass and wooded shrubby areas.

Although the Selous is best known for its spectacular large mammals, it is equally celebrated for its abundant and varied birds. The most conspicuous birdlife is to be found around the constantly changing pattern of sandbanks, oxbow lakes, lagoons and channels along the Rufigi River.