Southern Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, Africa’s largest game reserve, derives its name from Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist.
The Selous Game Reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to its wildlife diversity and undisturbed environment. Encompassing an area of over 21,000 square miles, not counting additional buffer zones, Selous is about three times the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park and twice the size of Serengeti National Park. To maintain its pristine quality, the reserve permits no permanent human habitation or structures. Because of its location and its size, Selous is much quieter with fewer tourists per square mile than the parks in the northern parts of the country, and so it remains relatively wild and untouched.
Selous’s size makes it difficult to estimate the true extent of the wildlife within its borders. But its rivers and lakes sustain phenomenal wildlife concentrations, including Africa’s largest populations of elephant and wild dog. Along the Rufiji River and beyond, an astonishing number of animal and bird species can be found including waterbuck, reedbuck, bushbuck, crocodile, hippo, and black and white colobus monkeys. Sandbanks are crowded with huge crocodiles, exposed mud banks are shaded under red clouds of carmine bee-eaters, and swampy islands are visited by wandering elephants.