Tanzania is a case of success regarding Nature conservation and endangerous species protection. The country soon understood that they have been presented with some of the greatest natural wonders to be found on Earth. And quickly they learned how to conserve them and take good care of them.
In fact, many conservation works have been done here, specially those related with fighting Elephant Hunting and saving one of the most endangerous species in the world, the Black Rhino. Jane Goodall also become famous for her pioneer work with the Chimpanzees at Gombe Stream National Park.
Blessed by nature with 14 national parks (there are even more, but these ones are the most famous) one can found everything in Tanzania. Tanzania is what comes to your mind when you think of Africa. There are parks that are as large as many european countries like the Serengeti National park and Selous Game Reserve. There are parks, like Katavi National Park or Ruaha National Park that are so untouched by humans they reassemble the descriptions of Africa by white hunters and missionaires who came here centuries ago. Parks where you can have a million of acres just for yourself and see more lions than people. There are parks like Gombe Stream National Park or Mahale Mountains National Park where you will be able to see large groups of Chimpanzees and Gorillas. There are parks like Saadani National park where you can join pristine beaches and the wild bush. Other parks, such as Ngorongoro Conservation Area with its Ngorongoro Crater have a beauty that is so stunning, so breathtaking that it is impossible to put into words. And what about Kilimanjaro National Park? Where you can see giraffes with the world's tallest free standing mountain, the roof of Africa, in the background?
Well, there are really parks for every taste and interest and we haven't even spoke about Zanzibar, with world class beaches of white sand and turquoise warm water. Tanzania is definitely one of the top destinations of the world.
In the following map, you can see the 14 national parks. To learn more about each one and see what we recommend, move your mouse over the map and click in one park.
Selous Game Reserve
Welcome to the largest game reserve in Africa. This reserve has more than 45.000 square kilometers, making it larger than many European countries like Denmark, Estonia or the Netherlands.
This park offers one of Africa's remotest and wildest destinations with very few lodges.
The vegetation consists mostly of miombo woodland and is divided into two parts by the river Rufiji, which runs through the reserve from west to east.
Selous is one of Africa's primary safari destinations both because of the wildlife concentration but also because of some very interesting facts: First of all, it offers an opportunity to see very rare animals like the black rhino (extinct in most parks), in very healthy numbers. Another thing is that the lions in this park are different than the others (darker coats and less hirsute manes) and rely on an unusual opportunistic diurnal hunting strategy making Selous the best place in the world for witnessing a lion kill. Besides, the boat rides are fantastic to view the gigantic crocodiles, the huge hippos. It's also one of the few parks in Tanzania where walking safaris are possible and, indeed, very rewarding.
Wildlife is very abundant and the areas by the river and small lakes provide the best viewing opportunities during the dry season. With thousands of elephants, buffalos, giraffes, zebras and other antelopes, safaris are always full of excitement.
Large predators would be the lion, leopard, wild dog and the spotted hyena while other mammals would include the elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, sable, roan, impala, bushbuck, waterbuck, wildebeest, greater kudu, puku, hartebeest and eland. The rivers are also crowded with hippos and crocodiles.
Of course, there is also an abundant birdlife including yellow-billed storks, white-crowned and spur-winged plovers, various small waders, pled and malachite kingfishers, African skimmers, fish eagles, palm-nut vultures, carmine and white-throated bee-eaters, trumpeter hornbills, purple-crested turacos and malgasy squacco herons.
When to go
This park is inaccessible during the rainy season so the best time to visit it would be between June and February.
What to do
4x4 game safaris, boat rides along the Rufiji river, walking safaris and fly camping.
What we suggest
Selous is definitely one of the greatest parks of Africa and the big decision will be to visit the Serengeti and other Northern circuit parks or Selous and other southern circuit parks. It's a very tough decision. The best would be if you have time to visit both of the parks. The advantages of Selous over the Serengeti is that it is wilder and less crowded while offering great wildlife opportunities. If you are doing a Southern itinerary, this park is an absolutely must.