Rift Safari
Travelling along the Rift Valley:  Selous Game Reserve
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Mappa del Selous e StruttureMotorboat safari on Rufiji River

With its 55.000 square km surface, Selous is the largest african wildlife reserve without taking into consideration that it is part of the broader ecosystem connecting Selous to Nyassa Reserve in Mozambique for a total of 150.000 square km. Water is the dominant element distinguishing Selous from all other Tanzania national parks delivering gentleness and fluidity to a primordial habitat and creating a variety of landscape situations. It hosts the largest population of mammals of all Africa and estimates speak of 135.000 buffaloes, 5000 sable antelope, 60.000 elephants, 40.000 hippos, 3500 lions, 1300 wild dogs ... about 440 species of birds ...

SELOUS IS DIVIDED INTO TWO SECTORS: Selous north and Selous south.
Gameviewing and photographic safari are carried out in the northern sector [approx. 20% of the reserve] while the remaining 80% is reserved to trophy hunting.
Among animals regularly sighted are hartebeest, impala, eland, reedbuck, waterbuck, duiker and suni antelope, warthog, elephants [although not in large numbers as it might happen in Tarangire during dry season since they tend to migrate to Nyassa Reserve in Mozambique], hippos and crocodiles, buffaloes and zebras, lions [even if rarely seen in action during the day as it might happen in the northern highlands due to high temperatures that make them particularly active only at night], leopards [which population well exceeds that one of lions], hunting dogs and hyenas.
On the other hand among animals
that are very rarely sighted are greater Kudu, sable antelope [even if Selous is one of the strongholds of sable they inhabit the south and northwest sector of the reserve and do not occur at all around lakes and the Rufiji], wild pigs, rhinos [reduced to a few individuals by the fierce poaching of the eighties, they hide in the dense thickets], cheetahs and jackals [probably because the miombo woodland are not very suitable to them].

is crossed by the Great Rufiji River fed by the waters of the great Ruaha. Beyond traditional 4x4 safari the reserve boasts a strong motorboat safari tradition and there's no doubt that these ones are the best available in all East Africa. Sightings of crocs and hippos are regular, many species of birds are found along the banks of rivers and lakes shores and it is not uncommon at all to find groups of elephants in the water. Occasionally you may spot as well lions and leopards along the banks. Unexpected guest of the Rufiji River is the Zambesi shark who can enter the Rufiji delta ascending the river up to 200 kilometers and who is able to live in fresh water for extended periods.

Walking safari are also part of Selous tradition.
Almost all camps
arrange short walking at sunrise just out of the camp which aim is certainly not to approach wildlife but rather to learn to recognize footprints, to pause to watch birds, plants and flowers. However some camps also arrange longer walking safari up to two days in the reserve [fly-camp] with overnight in light-weight satellite camps, certainly a more adventurous way to experience Selous. Walking safari are always subject to park authorities permission and not allowed to young below 16.

activity is also permitted in the Rufiji River.

The relative proximity to the islands [1 hours flight] makes it particularly attractive for those ones wishing to add a few days safari [3 or even 2 nights ]to a beach holiday [an appropriate experience of the norther parks requires in fact minimum 5 or 6 nights safari]; the possibility to undertake the best motorboat safari of all East Africa; the opportunity of walking safari and fly camping;

High temperatures and high humidity [80% - 90%] typical of the coastal tropical climate ; bashful and skittish wildlife due to hunting activity and poaching as well.

Selous from June to October:
These are conventionally considered the best months to visit the reserve
even if it is not possible to literally talk of dry season for Selous as it happens for other parks of Tanzania. Selous weather is in fact very closed to the one of the coast with possible rains roughly twice a week.
Anyway even if less pronounced migration from dry hinterland toward permanent water sources does take place; high grass gives way to burnt savannahs making sightings much easier; relatively lower temperatures allows animals a more active life style [though it could never match the same levels of the northern highlands]. These are also the best month for walking safari.

Selous from November to May:
Since dry season here tends anyway to be humid with some scattered rainfalls the arrival of light November rains does not influence so much game movements away from permanent water sources at least until the end of January and game viewing from November to January should remain on levels only slightly lower than previous months ones. This makes Selous particularly attractive on Christmas for those travellers wishing to add just 2 or 3 nights to their beach holiday.
From February however rains start to occur with greater intensity and the landscape should definitely turn green. The number of sightings compared to previous months decreases but it is qualitatively compensated since animals start to have their young. If lucky you might be able to witness a birth.

In April rains reach their peak and gradually start to decrease in May. During these two months the whole area tends to flood, game driving might not be possible, all camps are closed and flights are also suspended. These are good months for a safari in he northern circuit and particularly for the Serengeti and Ngorongoro short grass plains.


NOTA: as for the rest of the world in Tanzania the climate is changing. The charts above should be taken as a reference guide therefore with no absolute value.

Rufiji River Camp Impala Lodge Selous Camp Selous Safari Camp Lake Manze Tented Camp Beho Beho Sand River Selous Kiba point Mivumu River Lodge Selous Riverside Camp Selous Retreat Amara Selous